What Have I Done?

 Retirement was supposed to be wonderful. Suddenly free to do all the things you’ve been wanting to do but couldn’t because you had to work. Then….retirement. Sweet freedom, how you’ve longed for and looked forward to its arrival. When, suddenly, like a cold slap in the face, you wonder, at least I have wondered, what have I done?

True, there is no more regimented lifestyle, chained to schedules and time clocks. My life is no longer, show up at six and work until four. Unless there happened to be a rush order which meant another two hours. A normal work week of ten hour shifts was four days. Unless there was that rush order that meant at least one more day.

 Clocking in meant they knew, if you were even so much as a minute late. Pretending to forget didn’t fly. Being late too many times or out too many times brought write ups, too many of those and you were no longer registered at that address. Breaks were short and time was watched by the powers that be. Cameras were installed, for security, but their uses were vast. Now, my days are mine. All mine. Unless mom or dad needs something.

No longer does it matter how late I stay up. I don’t have to turn the television off in the middle of a movie, leave a phone conversation early or leave an online chat half finished. All because that alarm was going to sound no matter what time I called the day done. Now, like a reckless teen, unencumbered by alarms and early wake up calls, I can enjoy the hour no matter how late. It is rare now that I even need set the alarm.

Now I no longer have to force myself out of a warm bed into a cold house. Hoping that I had put enough wood in the stove that the fire had not gone all the way out. That a fresh stick of wood would bring it back to life. That the cool house would warm quickly. I no longer have to try to dress quickly, prepare breakfast and my lunch to go in time to steel myself for the cold and dark that awaits me. Wondering how many articles of clothing I can get on, and not look ridiculous removing. I go out when and if I desire, not because it is required of me.

I no longer have to worry about what the weather prognosticators are saying is coming. I no longer need worry about how I am going to get to work should the river flood or the snow fall enough to cover the roadway. My mind no longer need fear the dangers of the hills between my house and work. I can smile, throw another log on the fire and whisper, ‘let it snow’.

Oh yes, I’m free from all of that. And there is a large part of me that is relieved that even though my leaving was before I had planned (thanks Covid) in my heart there is a peace. Yet, not completely.

When I look at my bank account balance compared to my bills, the stress is real. Going from two pay periods a month, often with added over time, to one check a month with a set amount, that’s a difference. Knowing that  great change has taken place financially and I have lessons to learn is real. Budgeting 101 here I come.

I really don’t need a lot.

I have all the clothing that I need. I can only wear one outfit at a time and I don’t go out much, so I need nothing new. The big box store doesn’t care if you come in wearing you pajamas as long as you spend your money. I don’t wear pajamas there, I do have some dignity.

I hate buying shoes but I do have a couple pairs of boots. Two pair that I’ve had for at least six years now. When they wear out I’m going to be lost.

Hats however, are a weakness. I have to learn to be strong there.

I don’t smoke or drink alcohol or even sodas, but I do love chocolate.

If my car were paid for, things would be much easier, but I’m working on it.

Groceries are the worst. The garden I plant each year is small and doesn’t provide enough to can, If only it did.

So yeah, my finances are the scary thing that has me wondering what I’ve done. You could say I should have been better prepared. I was working on that. I was getting things paid off as quickly as I could. I was saving as much as I could. I had never dipped into my 401K, (which is now transferred over into another savings program) Then Covid. The pandemic struck and I lost a job I had held for almost thirty years.

I’ve been working toward financial freedom since my husband passed away leaving me very deep in debt. The insurance he had covering only a portion of what was owed. I was seeing daylight. Then this.

Thing is, I’m not afraid of what’s ahead. I’m not all stressed out over the bills and responsibilities. I don’t mind that I won’t be taking vacations every time I have a mind.  Yes, part of me wishes I had waited. That I had found another job, but mom and dad, need me here right now. I know that, with faith, our needs will be provided. We won’t go hungry or cold. God has provided before, He won’t abandon us now.

Once things have settled and we can get out again, then maybe I can find a part time job. I can readjust my scheduling again. I can get accustomed to time schedules and alarm clocks. I’ll miss the free time I’ve gotten used to, but we can’t have everything now can we? Of course now, if I could only find a way to earn extra through my writing, that would be like winning the lottery for me. Staying home for my folks and being able to live my dream. Then all this wouldn’t matter. But until that day comes..I’m left sitting here wondering what have I done?

About rebecca s revels

A writer, a photographer, a cancer survivor. An adventurer of the mild kind, a lover of the simple pleasures such as long walks and chocolate. A Christian unashamed of my faith and a friend who is dependable and will encourage readily. Author of three self published books with more waiting to find their way to paper. An advocate of good things, a fighter against wrongs.
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