Review of my OLW – Organizing retirement

imagesThis writing is for me to learn how to say no again or maybe where do I say yes. I came back to my One Little Word (OLW) after only a month and half to see if that might help this unfocused feeling I have.  Review is a good thing.

My word is listen. In this case am I listening to myself? In the past my word has been balance. Hmmm… Am I listening and balanced? – I am not sure yet!

So here is my free write from this morning –

It is icing and snowing and I have places to be and so much to do and I didn’t get the clothes out of the washing machine and I left the …  wait I am retired what happened here?

I am in the mind battle between the good and the good – so many things to do. Just like when I was working I have not learned to say no. There are always people who need or would like support, projects to be involved in and things to do. When I was working it was easy. I just said yes because it all connected to work with students. My personal projects sat on the shelf. I knew there just wasn’t time.

Now I have pulled those personal project out, dusted them off and have slowly begun to see which of them have heart. Which do I want to really continue but the outside world, which I love, keeps knocking as well so

  • there is the part time job – helping a school with testing (set up computers, organize schedules, etc.)
  • there is a grant with the local museum to help re do an exhibit on Frankenstein (way to cool to past up)
  • there is the “short” writing grant to help 4th and 5th graders write poetry with science content (what’s not to love about that – writing, poetry and science – wow)
  • there are the few teachers who think it would be great if I could be their reserve teacher (to be honest not my favorite thing – put love stepping into my daughters class every once in a while to talk with 3rd graders – they are always interesting)

As you can see retirement can get really busy and the home projects keep getting pushed aside for the outside world.

personal project:

  • middle grade novel writing ( hard work but love the idea)
  • keeping my two blogs going (my connection to the whole and I learn so much)
  • learning to draw (an old passion but not very good at)
  • family newsletter (I just said yes because it would die if I didn’t – got to love aunts, uncles and cousin, grandkids…)
  • digitizing family photos ( just to many boxes of old pictures in the house – a need to do)
  • finishing a quilt started years ago (love sewing just haven’t done it for years)
  • creating an ever growing garden – it keeps expanding ( Hmmm – whose fault is that?)

There lies my life – I didn’t include the hiking for health, yoga, dinner with kids, happy hours with the man in my life – those are givens, the things I will not let go of.  While typing this up I realized I need to put on my teacher brain and think about my projects as units I might teach or work on through out the year.

When teaching I didn’t do everything at one time. We teach in units – the fiction unit, the geography unit, the environmental science unit or electricity unit. I would sit down in the summer and plan out the yearly calendar – what units are being taught when. I then knew it would all get down. There are a few things that we do all the time. In the classroom we are always writing, we are always reading (just reading and writing different things at different time).

It occurred to me that if I look at my projects as units and place them on my calendar throughout the year it might make me feel less chaotic. There are things I can just let go of for no because I will do them – just not right now. They can be the “unit” (project) for this summer, or the fall.

Retirement for me needs to be a bit more organized. I am just not the feel wheeling gal who can let everything pile up. I tried that. It is just piling up stress. I need to flip the process. I always put the outside project on the calendar because I need to be some place or meet someone but the personal project just get left to fit in whenever. They don’t fit in is the problem. They get left behind.

So now I am off to the yearly calendar to plug in my home projects first. I am more sure they will happen then. I will have a place for each project.  After that I will know when and if I have time to say yes to the outside projects that pop up. I can look to see what projects are getting pushed out and make decisions if that is really what I want. I am then listening more to myself and creating balance.

Those one little words (or two in my case) are a great thing to review. You never know what you will hear when you are free writing.

Thanks for helping me listen.

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About Joanne Toft

I am a retired Minneapolis Public School teacher. I walk, garden, help in schools and write. Life is good!
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8 Responses to Review of my OLW – Organizing retirement

  1. So much good stuff to tackle. Writing. Quilting. Digitizing. Enjoy it all!

  2. Tara Smith says:

    Wow. Your lists are so inspiring – as is your spirit to keep busy, contributing, and enjoying so many new adventures.

  3. Lynn says:

    I just retired last June and I have not yet allowed myself to be so busy yet…hmmm not sure when that will happen! You sound very busy but doing things you love and that is what is important.

    • Joanne Toft says:

      This is year two for me. I was surprised at how much just popped up this year. It is an interesting journey. Not one I could have predicted. Enjoy and do the things you love. life is short!

  4. Interesting to read your thoughts as you processed how you want to spend your days.

  5. Ramona says:

    It’s exciting, and challenging to figure out the new path for our lives after retirement. Loved this glimpse into how you decided to make time for your personal projects. The outside world keeps knocking here, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed even in retirement.

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