Taking A Break Or Broken?

Those of you who read my post last week know I have been struggling lately with time and energy management. In exploring new opportunities, I find myself unable to juggle all the activities and routines I would like to embrace. I know the idea is that, as I find healthy habits and mechanisms, I should be letting go of less healthy choices. I get that and I have been trying to do a better job of making the healthier choices. The problem comes about when I am trying to choose between two healthy activities.

I had been doing very well throughout the holiday season. I felt happy and I was being gentle with myself. I had momentum and vitality. I delighted in the new experiences I tried. I kept up with the healthy activities that I have built into my life since retirement. I was writing blog pieces regularly and smoothly. I was walking my six to seven miles a day. I was keeping up with my Bible reading, prayer, and devotional activities. I spent my evenings bonding with Max over conversation and old videos. I maintained or improved my relationships. In addition, I took advantage of opportunities to engage with a wider range of people. I made a more energetic start on writing my next book. I was keeping a regular meditation schedule. I added another Scripture study. I was keeping all the balls in the air and enjoying the swishing noise they made as they circled above my head.

Then, something happened right around New Year’s Eve. I do not know if it was the post-holiday letdown or if it was something more significant. I had some sad news about someone important to me at that time. In fact, that person is someone who has particularly encouraged my new outlook. Maybe I am just spoiled and whiny. I do not know. Whatever the reason, I crashed over the New Year’s weekend. I have tried pretending I did not. I have tried talking myself back onto the happy wagon. I have tried spinning the wheels and trying to jump back on the bike. Nothing has worked.

Those balls that had been pleasantly whooshing above my head came hurling down onto my cranium, creating a kind of emotional concussion. I am confused. The rhythm of my new life broke down and all my momentum was gone. I was getting behind on my Scripture study. I was walking around my bedroom in the middle of the night, trying to get my six miles done. I was taking shortcuts in communication. I was getting annoyed with Max for trying to convince me to learn enough deep information about Christian apologetics to advance arguments in Sunday School. I felt like I was getting nothing accomplished.

It is bad enough that I felt scattered and like I was not accomplishing anything. What came next was worse. It was a feeling that my brain, energy, and motivation were drying up. Ideas and thoughts that had been so free flowing only a few days before seem to squeeze out of my mind with all the fluidity of the last bit of toothpaste in the tube. I had several of my “not fit for human consumption” days. I tried to ignore the feeling and continue with planned activity, hoping it would help. Unfortunately, it did not help, and I just feel empty. If I feel anything, I just feel guilty for not being better able to engage.

I am going to try to cut myself some slack here. It certainly has not helped to beat myself up. Maybe a gentler approach will help. I am going to take a few deep breaths. Hopefully, I am not broken; I just need a break.

What do you do when you hit the doldrums? Please share your perspective by leaving a comment. In the alternative, you can email me at terriretirement@gmail.com.

Have an unbroken day!

Terri/Dorry 🙂

The Sky Is Falling

Well, it finally happened. After almost six years of writing the blog, I woke up one Wednesday with nothing ready to post. Oh, I have had Wednesdays before when I did not post. The difference was that I planned to not post on those prior blogless Wednesdays. I had deliberately decided to take a break here or there. I COULD have posted on those other Wednesdays, but I intentionally chose not to do so. This past Wednesday, I intended to post new content, but did not have anything written. I had a few bits and pieces of posts that I thought I would have perfected by Terri Time, but I failed.

Upon waking last Wednesday, I immediately checked my pulse and I still had one. Outside my door, there was every indication that the earth was still turning on its axis and revolving around the sun. No one contacted me to let me know they were missing any body parts or vital portions of their psyches because there was no Terri LaBonte post. There was absolutely no blood on the floor. In other words, nothing happened because I failed to complete a new blog post.

At first, I felt anxious about not having a new post. It was the problem that I had been trying to avoid for the last six years. It was the reason I did not even launch the blog until I had twenty posts already written in reserve. Last year at this time, I even broached the subject that I might not post every week to give myself time to work on my next book, ­Puppies, Guppies, and Letting Go. Even though you all supported my decision, I have still been faithful with new content. I published forty-eight new posts in 2021. I never went more than a week in a row without posting. I did not really cut myself much slack. Last Wednesday, though, I felt very unsettled and ungrounded because not only DIDN’T I post new content, I had no new content to post. I have a renewal date coming up in a couple of weeks, so I began to question if I should continue to pay the fees to maintain the blog. After all, if I am out of ideas and am stunted of new content, would it not make sense to just stop? On the other hand, if I am just a bit scattered just now, do I genuinely want to give up the blog, which I love?

This musing led to me to ask myself why I did not have anything new written for the blog last week.

I discovered the answer quickly. I have been on a quest to try new things and challenge myself with new ways of being in the world. As a result, I have been adding numerous activities to my repertoire. I have engaged with people more often. I pulled myself out of first gear on the book. I began meditating. I allowed myself to act spontaneously- going on a solo trip to Disney World, going to the gingerbread jamboree, trying a Bible study class at church one evening a week, entertaining friends- instead of “keeping to my schedule.” All these experiences have been good for me, and I enjoyed them. The problem is that time is a finite commodity and there are other things that are good for me that are falling by the wayside.

Working on new blog posts is one of those activities. My “normal” routine also involves walking 6-7 miles a day. That takes a lot of time. I also prioritize spending time with Max. I keep up with several friends in California and Hawaii. All these activities are critical to my well-being. As a result, I am adding more healthy dimensions to my life, but I am not dispensing with any activities. I am excited to see how these changes will enrich my life, but I must admit to a certain sense of hysteria as time flies by without me accomplishing everything I want to do on a daily basis.

This may be what retired people mean when they say they do not know how they ever had the time to work for a living. Retirement is one of the biggest transitions most of us will ever experience. Any kind of transition, whether it be retiring or simply trying to improve one’s emotional and physical health, requires adjustments. Learning the right balance in implementing those adjustments takes a little finagling!

What adjustments have you had to make to craft the life you want in retirement?  Please share your perspective by leaving a comment. In the alternative, you can email me at terriretirement@gmail.com.

Have an adjustable day!

Terri/Dorry 😊