14 January 2013

I Shouldn't Be Enjoying This so Much

In June 2009, I finally conceded that MS had kicked my butt, and retired from my day job. I’d heard the stories about people who, when suddenly confronted with so much unstructured time, acquired bad habits. Chewing slippers, recreational barking, peeing in the house, and similar. Having known for several months that the inevitable was not far off, but determined not to succumb to such vices, I’d been preparing a list of things I could do after I retired. Some were things I needed to get done, but had just never managed to finish. Others were things I enjoyed doing, but that my day job didn’t seem to leave time for. All were things I could do from my power chair, no hands required, with no (or minimal) assistance. The list was longer than you’d think, although I can’t tell you what was on it. I didn’t ever refer to it much. I just went looking for it, just now, just for grins, but couldn’t find it (although I got sidetracked, and then got sidetracked from the sidetrack, and so just spent several hours doing things that were totally unrelated to whatever it was I set out to do. This happens a lot.). In the 3 1/2 years since I retired, I’m pretty sure I haven’t checked anything off of that list.

The shameful truth is that I rather enjoy having absolutely nothing to do. Total indolence really suits me.

My mother always said, “You expect to be waited on hand and foot.” Now I am, literally, waited on hand and foot, and although I hate it, I’m afraid I don’t hate it is much as I ought to. I suspect this makes me a bad person, but I’m not sure what I can do about it.

A whole day with no commitments, nothing I have to do, far from inducing apprehension or anxiety, is something I look forward to. A good thing, because most days are like that.

What do I do all day? Good question. I’m not sure. A little of this, a little of that. Whatever I start, it doesn’t take long before I get sidetracked, and then get sidetracked from the sidetrack. Then I look up, and it’s getting dark. Yeah, I know it’s January, and this is Seattle, so that could be right after lunch. But still. What can I say? I’m easily entertained.

Looking at my almost entirely empty calendar, I see nothing until… let's see… Friday.



  1. Unstructured days drive me crazy. I do enjoy being "retired", but I always have to be doing something.

  2. Beautiful, and thank you - it's so good to know I have a kindred spirit. I was off work for a couple of months before I got incredibly lucky & was offered a job I can do at home, at my computer - but I was just like you, thought I'd get lots done when I was home all day - & actually enjoyed all of the 'nothing' - & even though I only work 3 hours a day, I yearn for those nothing days! Even feel guilty about feeling that way ... anyway, I know exactly what you mean - now go ahead and enjoy the nothing I say! enjoy some for me too! ... only if that's not going to give you too much to do of course!! :)

  3. I concur. I like having nothing that needs doing, especially during the dark and cold days of Winter.

  4. If I didn't visit my mother every day, I'd be the same way. However, I do like having things to do -- no matter how trivial they may be.

  5. In many ways I do like the idea of having no where I have to be, nothing I must do, and no deadlines to be met.

    In reality, I end up spending a lot of time thinking of things to entertain myself and pass the time of day.

  6. I'm surprised how much I enjoy being retired. I think back on my days of 50+ hour workweeks combined with caregiving and wonder how I ever did it. Makes me tired just thinking about it. I like our current pace.