I'm still thinking on how my life has changed since retirement--the question put forth by Time Goes By last week. Once again, the whole idea has tossed me back to my childhood, when I more or less hated school for years. Many. Years. I didn't begin to like school AT ALL until my first year in college. I thought, "Where have they been hiding THIS??"
Anyway, why am I thinking about skool dayz? Well, one of the things you're supposed to do when you retire is keep your mind busy, and lots of retirees take classes. No problem. My mind is plenty busy--most of the time occupied with negative, discouraged, pissed-off thoughts about Republicans (not to mention my own Plains States' Congresspeople--Grassley and the so-called Blue Dogs Nelson, Baucus, and *gag* Conrad) and the outrageous crap they're pulling now.
I also think a lot about what I'm going to EAT next--or rather, what I want to cook. The current movie "Julie & Julia" has driven me to the bookstore and my laptop to look up recipes. And it's brought me a whole new favorite BREAKFAST FOOD: toast fried in oil & butter with chopped fresh tomatoes and basil chiffonade on top. OMG that's good! Not only does this keep my furnace stoked until mid-afternoon, but it makes me HAPPY for that long, too. Granted, in the movie this was one of Julie's creations that she seemed to come up with apart from Julia, but who cares?
Anyway anyway, school had its moments--I LOVED second grade, even though I made a hash of my first BIG assignment. The teacher asked me to do a book report on "Doctor Dolittle," so I got up early and MEMORIZED the book. About halfway into the second page or so, my classmates started groaning and complaining, so the teacher said "We just wanted a summary, M.E." "But there's lots more," I said, and started to continue. The teacher, Miss Elofson, held up her hands. "That's fine, M.E., you can stop now." "Yeah, gee...." said the other kids.
Work was kind of the same as skool: Long hours, bossy people, no room for creativity at all. I was very happy to retire. My sleep cycle recovered, I could wear what I doggone pleased, and I didn't HAVE TO do anything but what I wanted.
Everyone says this is all wrong, of course. You're supposed to DO THINGS. Significant, socially redeeming things. The questions started: "How is retirement? Are you going to travel? How are you spending your time? Any volunteering?" Etc. Etc. To me, the time to travel is when you've got a job and can pay for it! It's good to get away when there's lots you need to get away from. And I volunteered A LOT when I was younger and had a car and the stamina to do all of that.
Last week, I got an email from the University of Pennsylvania's (note to Ben: the University of Pencilvainya!!) College of Liberal and Professional Studies. They are offering a noncredit online course this fall called Foundations of Positive Psychology. It's about HAPPINESS and stuff like that. That sounds like something I could a) benefit from and b) possibly enjoy. So I signed up. I will have lectures and assignments to fill my thoughts in place of the sound track from Faux News Hell i've got going now.
I'm feeling pretty proud of myself, actually. I'm actually going to be DOING SOMETHING the AARP and that ilk recommend. It may cut into my bike riding and naps, but it'll fit perfectly with my visits to the WIFI watering holes. And get this...many of the assignments will be to BLOG something to share with the faculty, admin., and other students! Is this gonna be a piece of cake (mmm...yellow cake with chocolate icing and orange filling) or what?