Most of you know that I retired a couple of years ago...(WHOOO-HOOO!!!) Well, today is my sister, Karen's last day in the office (so, I'm not sure how much actual "work" she is doing today). Mom and I attended her "official retirement reception" yesterday and were touched by the number of people that shared stories of how Karen went above and beyond in her duties for the State of Texas, and what she meant to them personally. Karen has risen to a pretty "high" level in her career and works with some very "brainy" and "high-placed" people. Well, I could brag about that and tell you how impressed I am and how proud I am of her but, you really don't care about that and she knows it, (I hope). Instead, I want to tell you about my contribution to her retirement "reception."
It will probably come as no surprise to any of you that I am not shy about speaking to large groups, in fact, I really like to do so. Well, after hearing all about how wonderful Karen is from some brainy-muckity-mucks, I approached the microphone. Actually, I took it from Karen before she had a chance to speak. I explained that as the older, (wiser?--probably not), sister, I had retired first, just to test the waters for Karen. In so doing, I had done a bit of prep-work or research in anticipation of Karen's retirement and her possible desires to join me in some of my travels etc. The research was illustrated by various "props" and gifts for Karen to use in doing her own "research." Of course, most of the "props" were actually various wines from representative countries around the globe. There were some other equally-clever (I told you I'm not shy around large groups) gadgets and toys. However, the one serious gift in her "retirement survival kit" was a set of pencil colors made from twigs. The message I had for her with these is that it is now officially time to "Color OUTSIDE the Lines."
In retirement, the biggest, and possibly the hardest, lesson I have learned is that there are few rules that must be followed. Deadlines are mostly suggestions; alarms need not be set, unless you have to catch a plane; if you don't get everything, (anything) done on your "list of things to do today," then tomorrow or next week or whenever, works just as well. Retirement, is freeing. If you wake up and decide to stay in your pajamas until the next day, do it. If you want to go bra-less, do it, (this is a bigger thing for some of us and I suggest that for those of us for whom this is a big deal, bra-lessness should only be done in certain situations and places. For example, bra-lessness for some should never be a condition you try when out for a jog. Take it from me, the resulting black eyes are PAINFUL!) OK, I didn't share this paragraph with the crowd, I do still have a few filters...just saying.
OK, so maybe there should be some general guidelines to this retirement thing. The most important things are to spend time with your loved ones, enjoy yourself, give back to your church/community/charity etc, find new interests, use the "good china," burn the "special candles," develop and begin working on completing things on your "bucket list" and mostly, Color OUTSIDE the Lines!