I admit to a personal flaw of needing to be busy and feel productive. All the time. In retirement, I expected that this compulsion would wane as I became adjusted to bounty of time (How I spend my Days). In fact, I fear it may have worsened. I now have many different roles and hobbies that each require attention. Childcare for Lo, Power of Attorney for Mom, passionate cook, dedicated exerciser, compulsive reader, occasional blogger, reluctant gardener, erratic housewife. Add in some social life, and some culture – and I would say that this life is very full indeed.
So then, why did I recently volunteer to return to work? I wasn’t even asked to return, I offered. Brian, in his role as the Chief Financial Officer, assures me that the extra income is not required. I have attempted to analyze my motive from many perspectives. In my worst analysis, I land on my need for recognition and to be reminded that I still possess those qualities that made me successful in my career.
In my best view, it is a chance to learn something new and be a part of something interesting. In the end, however, I come back to my compulsion to be doing something. At all times.
Don’t get me wrong, I spend plenty of time staring into space, playing games on the ipad, making having a cup of tea into a scheduled activity, and chastising myself for not doing the things that “should” be done but I don’t feel like doing. Painting the side steps? That’s been on the list for 2 years. This idleness and guilt about being idle is worse in the afternoon – having buzzed about all morning, by early afternoon I am out of both energy and promising activity. By mid afternoon, I am prepping dinner. I felt the truth of her comment when my daughter once asked, “how come every time I talk to you, you are chopping vegetables?” It would be easy to be serving dinner before 5:00 – I now understand the senior citizen early bird special.
My solution – get a job! I had fantasized about an ideal position where I could make my own hours – as few as 5 per week, maybe topping out at 15. Afternoons only so I could maintain my beloved “slow mornings” of coffee, news, workouts and errands. Work where I could contribute to a important project, spend time with former work buddies, but not have any management responsibilities. Work that would end in a few months, leaving me free to return to full retirement. With a pay scale that makes it worth getting dressed up and putting on makeup.
So, it may be too soon to tell, but I think I landed my dream job. I did have to endure an interview, a TB test, a background check, a passport verification and an employee physical that stopped just short of stirrups. I am reporting to a friend who used to report to me and took over my job when I retired, which may seem sort of weird, but is feeling okay.
I like not knowing what I am doing and having to learn everything. I like logging in and checking my work email. I like the feeling of accomplishment when I complete a task. And I especially like filling my time in a productive manner. Is this a compulsion? Perhaps. Are there worse traits? I have a few. Should I just let go of the whole idea of painting the steps? You be the judge.