A is for Ambivalent

So, here it is April 1. Last year, I found out about the Blogging from A to Z challenge a few days into the month. I liked the idea and began participating. I made it through R before I ran out of motivation. I told myself that this year I’d do the whole thing.

And so, in what feels a bit like an ironic April fools joke, I’m beginning. I just retired. I saw my last clients on March 30. And now I’m committing to writing daily. Nuts, just nuts. Hence the choice of ambivalence as today’s topic. I’m happy to have more time to write, and I am questioning my sanity a bit.

I’m not ambivalent about retiring. Coming into retirement, I realized that what I was most looking forward to is a lack of scheduling. Since starting kindergarten way back in 1960, there’s been a “next” of work or school on the schedule. I’m not worrying about preschool, as I have little recollection of those days. Not having a schedule feels luxurious. I’ve still got plenty of stuff to do, some of which I like and some of which fits into the chores category, but to a greater degree than previously experienced, I can do stuff in the order I choose. I don’t have exams, patients or clients awaiting on a previously agreed to date and time that now feels better spent doing something else.

Ambivalence shows in other ways. Scheduling anything, including writing. Yes, I’ve been wanting more time and space to write, but I’m now acknowledging that what I want most is the time and space for whatever. And now I’ve signed up. Well, so what, I can quit if I feel like it. Having permission to leave increases the likelihood of staying. I’m aware of a shifting sense of obligation. Moving more towards self care and respect for my own needs and circumstances; less skewed towards other’s desires. Fine if they can both be met, but now I’m balancing the equation in my direction.

Scheduling meetings with friends, for walks, coffee, hikes, talks. Yes, I’d like to see you, and hmmm, not so sure about scheduling. Yard work, getting the garden up and going for the season. Anything that feels like “work” or ought to is a challenge, even as I love having fresh from the garden produce when it’s available.

I don’t know how all this will work out. I’ll give it time and space.

Do I have a topic for this month’s writing? Yes, I decided to split it between two big deals in my life. Retirement, which you’ve been reading about and Wildfire, which has also been a big deal recently. My area lost more than a thousand homes and a few businesses in the Dec 30th Marshall Fire. We were fortunate that while evacuated for 3 days, our house is standing and undamaged, while a few blocks aways many homes have been completely destroyed. Cleanup is underway. Rebuilding will take a while. If I go towards downtown from my home, I don’t encounter a burned area. Any other direction, there it is. It’s a big deal for all of us. Stay tuned.

And in true demonstration of ambivalence, I’m posting what I wrote primarily on March 31 on April 3. A little passive aggressive on my part. It could be an interesting month.

9 thoughts on “A is for Ambivalent

  1. I discovered at some point soon after I retired that scheduling things I really wanted to do was a lot different from being scheduled by necessity and obligation. But it took a while. For the first five months I was in a kind of shock, but I had also moved away from somewhere I’d lived for 30 years into a place where I didn’t know anyone so that was a little weird. The dogs helped since they have imperatives I couldn’t ignore. But it was weird and I still refuse obligations and duties — I won’t even join a club. πŸ˜€ As you say, all that for so long? No. External structure? Not having it. Congratulations on making the leap!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. God no. πŸ˜€ “Martha, do you want to join the Food Bank? there are a lot of poor people in the San Luis Valley.” I remember how I felt answering that. I really truly thought, “Too bad. I don’t care.” And I didn’t. I couldn’t see me there with a bunch of other retirees with holy expressions on their faces handing canned goods to the poor. No. I think I have lifetime compassion fatigue from all that teaching. πŸ˜€

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Congratulations on retiring! It does feel very strange to be free from a structured schedule.. A year or so into mine, and still feeling strange about Covid, I get a bit anxious having things on the books, but I always enjoy myself!

    I’m so glad you will be writing more. I look forward to reading your A to Z and to some more walks and hikes too!

    Liked by 1 person

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