Retirement is working out pretty well. I have a part-time job I love. I am writing for this blog every week, a regular discipline that keeps me motivated. Carol and I just completed an eight week writing class at the Lighthouse, a Denver writer’s collective. I have even started a short story. I am using my history degree in my work and my writing, something I never did in thirty years of water treatment or eight years as a counselor.
I am more engaged now than when I was working full time. Most of those full time work years involved rotating twelve hour shifts. The longer I am away from those shifts the more I realize the toll they took. Shiftwork affected my health, my daily energy, my relationship with Carol, and my creativity. I believe the most profound effect of the constant change of my work hours was on my mood. I have always had mood swings to some degree, what is called a co-morbid condition with my Attention Deficit Disorder, but in retrospect they were worse with the shiftwork. My ADD therapist was right, but the golden chains of a job that paid well kept me at work too long.
Now, however, I am enjoying life more than in years. The problem is that sometimes I think I am too busy. I haven’t been off to the mountains or the desert since the weather warmed up. Part of the problem is that May is Westward Ho! Month at Four Mile Historic Park and we are busy with lots of big yellow busses full of school children every weekday, with birthday parties on the weekends. June will slow things down and I will be able to get away more. I did ramble around the high plains of Colorado’s Elbert County over the weekend. There is a restorative quality in those broad vistas with few signs of civilization. Longer trips are in the planning stage, and Carol and I plan to visit New York in the fall.
The writing. All my life I have wanted to write. I knew I had a bit of talent, but just could not gather myself enough to produce anything. Those years of not writing were not wasted, as I never stop reading. When I read, I read to learn or be entertained, but I always read critically. Bad writing drives me nuts. (Wait, maybe that explains something, I read lots of bad writing. Dan Brown is an example.) Analyzing writing for content as well as for writing skill has made me a better writer.
I enjoy expository writing, telling stories about real world things like aging parent care. I am now discovering that I have some fiction in me. I am currently writing a short story about cattle rustling in Western Colorado in the late 1900’s. It involves contentious brothers, outlaws, Mormons, wild canyon country, and finding a way of life. When I finish it, you will be able to access it here.
Yes, retirement is working out. In fact, it is even exciting. Isn’t that what life should be about?