Six Month Checkup
By John R. Greenwood
| Owl Pen Books|
It went by like a freight train. Unbelievably, it’s been six months since Elvis left the building. My prox card remains untouched in the small basket where I toss my car keys. No more working weekends and holidays. If my phone rings now its the trash company letting me know they’re running a day late. My impact on the world has shrunk considerably and so has the weight that perched upon my shoulders for so many years. It’s a feeling of relief that peaks every morning as I sip my coffee. The ability to maintain an early morning workout schedule adds as much mental benefit as it does physical. A full night's sleep is now a normal event, not a rare occurrence. No more 2:00am phone calls from sick or injured drivers to wrestle with. I’m not complaining, I had a rewarding career filled with honest, hardworking people who relished the journey just like me. I’m simply sharing my thoughts from the inside out.
It has not been a feet-on-the-coffee-table retirement though. I have accomplished more around my house in the last six months than I did in the last six years. From large projects like painting the house to small nagging ones like replacing a shut-off valve on an outdoor faucet, I’ve been busier and happier than ever. Although my dreams of spending hours pecking away at the keyboard have dwindled, my contributions to the Simply Saratoga Magazine have continued on a regular basis. I remain forever grateful for their generosity in publishing my work.
The contacts and connections that I’ve made over the last six months is a long list. I’ve joined multiple organizations and made many new friends. Research into the company that made my retirement possible has been a large part of the last six months. I discovered photos of myself from the 1960s I never knew existed; documentation of the life-long relationship with the company that I worked for. The question of travel is always the first sentence you hear when mentioning your recent retirement. I respond the same every time. “Not yet,” is my go-to reply. I’m quite content exploring the nooks and crannies within earshot of my home. The area where I live is blanketed with parks, museums, bookstores, wildlife preserves, rivers, and lakes. I can spend a day or an hour enjoying nature in every form and never move the needle on my gas gauge or pull a dollar from my wallet. This is the reason I worked long hours and holidays. It’s cashing in without breaking a sweat and it feels great.
The downside of my retirement has been the news and the politics that have infiltrated it. It’s hard to escape. It has affected the way I look at the world. My positivity is tested daily. Watching the divide within my country has burdened me, unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. Having spent my life as a fairly non-partisan person, I find myself in constant turmoil. To see the anger and disdain for people who look and sound different from what we see in the mirror leaves me shaking my head in disbelief. This is not the world I imagined for my grandchildren. I yearn for the days when acceptance for people with opposing views returns, and children and education take priority over individual gain.
I’m going to do my best to shake 2020 like a dog toy and give it all I have. I have writing and remodeling projects lined up like pickets on a fence. I have a couple belt sizes to re-lose again this spring—my exercise routine not robust enough to overcome my latest snack routine. I will end this first post of the New Year with photographs documenting the last six months. With any luck and fewer promises, I can knock off a few more blog posts than I did in 2019.
Happy New Year!