July 31, 2019

60 Days In

60 Days In
By John R. Greenwood

"Look Closely"

Wow, that went fast! 

It’s been 60 days since I used my prox-card, 60 days of waking up without a job, 60 days of re-working my non-work brain. 

What can you accomplish in 60 (free) days? 

  • Mow the lawn on Tuesday morning before noon.
  • Paint that rusty old plant stand you promised your wife you’d paint during the last Bush Administration.
  • Go to the actual library to get a new library card— when you can find an actual parking spot. 
  • Ride the new bicycle you retirement-gifted yourself—whenever you feel like it. 
  • Spend the day exploring the Town of Greenfield with Town Historian, Ron Feulner—and learning things you never knew.
  • Go to the market with your wife—on a Thursday morning
  • Take your 6-year-old grandson to swimming lessons—in the middle of the day
  • Stay up past 9pm— or even later! 
  • Volunteer to man a non-profit's booth at the Saratoga County Fair for three hours—on a Friday afternoon. 
  • Work on an indoor remodeling project(s) you’ve put off since the first Bush Administration.
  • Go to breakfast with your wife—on a Wednesday 
  • Go to lunch with your wife—on a Monday
  • Eat dinner at dinner time—or not

The list was simple and relatively short. The first 60 days were more of a settling in process; re-organizing our habits and routines; prioritizing our priorities; redefining our lives and goals. Realizing just how much of your work had soaked into your body. Not on purpose, but slowly by osmosis. Its like shedding a heavy wool coat while standing in front of a roaring fire—comfort is more comfortable without the extra weight. I’d dreamt about having hours and hours of free time to sit and contemplate my words on to sheets of paper. First I have to uncluttered my desk. The years of, “I’ll get to it later,” had overflowed its banks. Restoration would take time. At least I had more choices now. 

As I write this I’m sitting at a metal picnic table in front of the business I dedicated the majority of my working life to. In the last 60 days, the customers haven’t changed, the employees haven’t changed. But, I’ve changed. Now I have more time to reflect and digest my life. I can sit next to a busy convenience store parking lot and dissect my life, appreciate it in chunks, savor it in nibbles. It went from a spring run-off North Hudson torrent to a meandering summer Battenkill in just a few short weeks. I feel calmer, happier. It’s not about having little to do, its about having lots to do—but from a higher vantage point. 

Today’s goal is to get this posted on my blog. I foolishly thought that I might be able to post once or even twice a day after I kicked work to the curb— how naive. I keep forcing myself to enjoy the moment—the feeling of untethered freedom. My wife and I have worked hard for this moment. Adding pressure to it isn’t necessary or healthy. Take that walk now, the lawn will wait another day for a haircut. 
In a few hours, I will be headed to the Greenfield Town Historian’s Office to work on my last Stewart’s project. It will encapsulate much of my life from beginning to the present. I have to keep reminding myself to enjoy the project and not let the importance of it overtake the process. It’s a constant conversation I must have. 

Time’s a-wastin' — just a phrase…