For years I have arrived home at the end of the day and hated having to think about what to make for dinner. I am tired, exhausted from hours of meetings and projects I can never seem to see the end of. The last thing I want to think about is dinner. I convinced myself I disliked cooking.
There have been seasons of eating popcorn for dinner when I lived alone, and seasons of take-out and ordering in. There have been many times when I make a big pot of soup, stew, or chili that eat for many days my husband pleads for a respite from eating the same thing night after night.
But something is changing.
This year I resolved to unplug from work completely on the days I am not there. I’ve taken extra time off this summer and have been consciously focusing on slowing down and getting back to the basics.
And I’ve realized that I actually enjoy being in the kitchen. I am inhabiting my home and my kitchen like I have not done since I was a young stay-at-home mother. I spend hours preparing healthy food with ingredients from my garden. We are eating healthier and I derive immense satisfaction from preparing and serving food with ingredients I grow and tend. I feel like myself in the kitchen in a way I never do at work when I am in meetings at work listening to someone go on and on sounding like Charlie Brown’s teacher. (Waa waa waa waa.)
Perhaps part of the reason we are sometimes reluctant to slow down and step off of the treadmill of work and busyness is that we are afraid we will find we enjoy it. We might even enjoy it to the point where we begin to make plans to step permanently step off of the treadmill to enjoy a slower, more mindful and purpose-filled life.
That’s the path I have decided to take. I am not impusive and stupid enough to just quit my job tomorrow but I have a plan and my husband and I are on a journey toward stepping off off the treadmill to a different life. Lord willing, I will be fifty five when we plan on retiring. If I continue to work past that age I would eventually have more retirement income from my company pension. But at what cost?
Fewer years spent with my grandchildren? Fewer years enjoying time with my husband? Fewer years inhabiting my home, learning more about organic gardening and preparing fresh meals? Fewer years to devote to my next career of writing?
I will take that reduced pension, thank you very much, and in the meantime I will use every vacation day I am entitled to. My heart is turning inward, toward home and family, and away from those things that are fleeting and temporary.
It feels good. It feels right.
Woohoo! I promise, you won’t regret it!
Sounds like a great decision to me!
It sounds as if your life journey has led you to a freeing decision. Toward the end of your posting, you said, “My heart is turning inward, toward home and family, and away from those things that are fleeting and temporary.” For me, at age 75, that realization that so much of life is “fleeting and temporary,” led me first to free-lancing so I’d be at home all day and finally to a retirement in which I enjoy writing, baking bread, reading, and cherishing those whom I love–cats included!
GMR retired really early, and I encouraged him to even though it meant less money in retirement. His job was so high-stress and the political aspects of it were becoming so awful, I urged him to think of retiring. He’d put in 30+ years but was in his late 50s. He did end up retiring and a couple years later we moved here, to my Appalachian roots (he’s a South Louisiana ‘boy’). He didn’t regret his decision.
The part you wrote, below, spoke to me – I think of the time I spent with my Lil Boop in Oregon and how easy it would be to “retire” from being a novelist -but then I can’t imagine never writing another book; however, I can slow it down some and I should (there’s that word: should!). Beautiful post!
“Perhaps part of the reason we are sometimes reluctant to slow down and step off of the treadmill of work and busyness is that we are afraid we will find we enjoy it. We might even enjoy it to the point where we begin to make plans to step permanently step off of the treadmill to enjoy a slower, more mindful and purpose-filled life.”
I’ve been retired for three years now, and at 68 going on 69, I’m happier than I’ve ever been. It’s true that it sometimes seems impossible I managed to squeeze a full-time job into my busy life. So glad to hear that you are learning to enjoy being in the kitchen and your garden’s bounty!
My husband is a year older than I. We both retired at 65. Five months into his retirement – and my last year teaching- he had an emergency quadruple bypass. I finished the school year and scheduled a much needed knee replacement. Six days before that surgery, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Now 2 years later, we follow a strict no salt, low fat diet (no red meat). We exercise daily. After cancer treatment, I did get the new knee and it made such difference. I miss the kids but not the grind. The freedom of doing what ever we choose – or not- is wonderful. Don’t wait too late – the money isn’t everything. Mary in Missouri
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Congratulations Linda on starting the process of preparation for this next transition. I’m on week #2 of my retirement and I’m loving it! I highly recommend it. Wishing you the best as you move toward your dreams.