The other day I met a friend that I hadn’t seen for a long time. “So,” she asked, “are you still working?” “No,” I answered, “I’ve recently retired.” “So,” she asked again, “how have you been spending your time since you retired?” She might as well have asked me to explain Einstein’s Theory of Relativity because, as I opened my mouth to respond, I found that, in fact, I could not. Respond, that is. The truth was, that although the days seemed to be passing quickly, I couldn’t account for my time.
This was startling. When I worked and had family responsibilities, I could tell you (although I have no idea why you would be interested) that I would be grocery shopping on Wednesday at six pm and folding laundry two nights a week at eleven o’clock. (In fact, one of the things I promised myself in retirement was never again to be folding laundry at eleven o’clock at night!)
What was I doing with all this precious time I had been given? It would seem that in my present life, organization had been replaced by chaos. So I decide to follow myself around for a day and record my activities. I would not be caught again with my mouth agape, unable to respond to a simple query. The next time someone asked me what I did all day, I would be ready!
6:30 AM – I think I am awake.
7:15 AM – I am now fairly sure that I’m awake and decide to test this hypothesis by actually getting out of bed. Go to kitchen to start coffee and feed dogs. Dogs are grateful.
7:30 – 8:00 AM – Spent half- hour cleaning coffee grounds out of silverware drawer, into which I accidently dumped the coffee grinder. Not quite as awake as I thought.
8:00 – 8:30 – Prepare and eat breakfast for husband and self without further incident. I believe husband is grateful. Can’t really tell. His face is buried in newspaper.
8:30 – 9:00 – Clean up breakfast dishes, shower and dress. No appointments today, so can’t think of a good reason to apply make-up.
9:00 – 10:00 – Load dogs into car and go to park for a walk. Very pleasant part of the morning. Dogs think so, too.
10:15 – Got laundry started.
10:30 – Went to desk and turned on computer. Opened bookkeeping program in order to pay bills. Program not responding. Calling the help line number.
11:00 – Am still listening to Montovani playing “The Best of the Beatles” while holding for a representative. A man’s voice is thanking me for holding and assuring me that my call is very important to them, and will be answered in the order in which it was received. (Sometimes when you call a large company, a woman’s voice assures you that your call is very important to them. I wonder whose voice is more reassuring – a man’s or a woman’s? Spend about forty-five seconds wondering.)
11:30 – Finally connected to India. No wonder it took so long. My man in Mumbai talks me through steps to fix the problem. Adjusted to his accent and had to ask him to repeat himself only three or four times. Problem could not be fixed. Had to purchase updated version of program. Spend additional time getting my credit card information and installing new program all the way from Mumbai. Amazing. Spend further additional time downloading old information on to new program. Have become very good friends with man from Mumbai. Regret not having applied make-up.
1:00 PM – Am off the phone. Spend next hour finally getting bills paid.
2:00 PM – Feeling hungry and realize I didn’t eat lunch. Also realize I forgot to put laundry into dryer. Do so, and begin a new load. Go out to get something to eat.
3:00 PM – Go back to computer and respond to e-mails.
4:00 PM – Take dogs out for afternoon walk. Start to think about dinner. Stop at super market.
5:00 PM – Put second load into dryer. Feed dogs. Begin to prepare dinner.
6:30 PM – Have dinner, clean up. Decide to go to a movie.
10:00 PM – Home. Let dogs out before bed. Watch a little TV.
10:45 PM – About to fall asleep. Leap out of bed. Forgot something.
11:00 PM – Folding laundry.