Tuesday, December 02, 2014

The Visible Woman...Unmasked

These lucha libre masks in neon are on display at the Roadhouse Relics art gallery on South First.

Yesterday's writing prompt at Holidailies was "Introduce Yourself" but I didn't follow that prompt. But I guess some introductions are in order. The portal can bring strangers to your virtual door.

The short version: I'm old. I've been retired for 12 years. I thought I'd do more. I'm very lucky.

I retired in 2002. Early retirement by most standards. I worked in various computer businesses (and businesses using computers) for 32 years. I fell into that work looking for, well, work. Money for work. When I graduated from college I had no money. I didn't have enough for an apartment deposit. Fortunately I was able to live with my parents for a while after I got a job with an oil company training to do computer programming. I changed jobs a lot but kept taking jobs in computing because I didn't win the lottery or anything and I had to support myself. I took a job in Austin late in 1975. I met a man and we married. We didn't have much money together either but we had a good time and he started his own advertising business.  Eventually we acquired a good-sized house and paid it off and saved some money. We are both retired now and I feel very lucky that we got from having nothing to having enough money to retire. We set goals but, yes, we were VERY lucky.

I did think I'd do more. Both during my career and after retirement. We sold our big house which was expensive and time-consuming to maintain and downsized to a 1200 sq. foot apartment in downtown Austin, Texas. We've lived here for six and a half years. It seems like it's both been a short time and a very long time. We got rid of lots of stuff when we moved. We moved a lot of books, though, and we still buy too many.

I had the idea that when I retired I would write, solve the world's problems, be very organized and do lots of traveling for pleasure. I've been lucky to be retired and I have a good time and travel a little. It's not as easy to travel as having the time off I find.

Write? I made some business cards when I retired that said: "Pretending to Write but Really Just Blogging." I later used a red pen to revise that to "Pretending to Blog but Really Just Tweeting."

Solving the world's problems? When I worked, I donated to causes. I thought maybe I'd be more hands on with volunteering when retired but actually I'm lazy and a little shy and so it's still financial support that I give to my causes.

Yes. I thought I'd do more. It used to seem like there would always be time. What's changed in the last year or so is that the time doesn't seem to stretch to the horizon and beyond. The time for my little life seems quite finite. On good days this seems fine, encouraging even. On bad ones a bit of a loss.

The things I do accomplish most days, weeks, months? Mild exercise (long walks and doubles tennis mostly). Keeping track of our investments and bills. Maintaining a daily blog of photos from Austin. Doing the minimal housework and arranging maintenance for our little apartment. Watching movies, TV and visiting with friends, going to plays and ballets and attending social events, many fundraisers. We don't cook much. We eat out a fair amount. In all these things but tennis I'm ably assisted by my long-suffering husband. It fills up the days. Completely most of the time. But I thought I'd do more.


Bev Sykes said...

I identify with a lot of this! I love your business cards (tho I don't tweet). I also donate to causes and am shy so don't participate as much as I should. I keep thinking that the young folks will take care of the participation. Do they? I dunno.

KarenD said...

Very interesting to hear your perspective on retirement, as I've been contemplating the subject in light of knowing my husband is planning to leave his job in 2015 after 30 years with one employer. d I have this idea I will volunteer at the animal shelter when I too retire, and be super organized, and cook more, and so on. Right after we downsize from our three bedroom full basement house to a smaller condo with neither basement nor attic. We shall see.