Sunday, September 11, 2016

Figuring out retirement

The kidnapping crew wakening Jacob for breakfast
Yesterday started out rainy, wet, and gray—a perfect day to linger in bed, read a book and be lazy. Of course for Jordan and Jacob, it started with a bang at 7 a.m. when several of Jacob’s friends came to kidnap him for a breakfast birthday party. One brave mother took 18 fifth-grade boys to Ol’ South. Jacob reported sleepily later in the morning that it was fun, but the most fun was being so rudely awakened.

The day turned sunny, so rain and gloom weren’t any longer excuses for malingering. I did some desk work, getting two Kelly O’Connell Mysteries posted to several e-book platforms—Danger comes Home and Deception in Strange Places.. But somewhere along the line, today or yesterday, it occurred to me that I have made some momentous changes in my life.

Not just the move to the cottage, though they may all be associated. But I let go of the notion that I had to labor under deadlines to produce three mysteries a year, and I decided to focus on a memoir. I’m still exploring that, but to me, you don’t sit down and write, “I was born in….” Pieces of my memoir come to me, and I write about them, but I don’t worry if none come to the front of my mind for a few days..

The big benefit of all this is that I have now given myself permission to read. All my life, reading has been my greatest pleasure, but I always felt guilty taking time for pleasure. Talk about a Puritan work ethic. But when I had deadlines, etc., I was focused on them and rarely stole time for reading, let alone the relaxed kind of reading I like to do.

Susan Wittig Albert banished my guilt. Reading, she said, is part of our work. So now I’m happily reading Pancakes in Paris, by Craig Carlson, founder of threerestaurant Breakfast in America diners in Paris. Talk about overcoming a dysfunctional childhood and jumping into the entrepreneurial role! After that, I intend to read The Mercer Girls, about young women brought to Seattle in the early 20th century to bring culture to that city. Mercer was the gentleman in charge of this venture.

With my new approach to life, I find myself more relaxed. If I wake and want to lounger in bed, I do that—I doze, I think about projects, I play with the dog. I’m less impatient with Jacob, and I enjoy the visits of company more because my mind is not always rushing ahead to a new project.

How much of this is due to the cottage? I have no idea? After seven years though, I think it’s time I figured out retirement—and maybe I’ve done it.

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