Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Retirement: Deja vu All Over Again

I know, I know. It's been months since I've written on this blog, and even now I feel as if I'm climbing a mountain coming back to it. It's as if I were leaving my job all over again and trying to figure out where to direct my energy.
Backing up: when I left the Philadelphia Inquirer, I began interviewing people for this blog about the transition from work to whatever dream they might have. Then suddenly, something I never dreamed of happened to me. I was asked to write a book on a topic I never thought I'd care about. It was a bit like an arranged marriage. As I got used to the idea, I fell in love with it. (Book comes out in the fall -- will tell you about it as we get closer.)
A couple weeks ago, I turned it in to my publisher – the culmination of two years of research and writing and wrestling down photos. And while there will be work to do as we go through the editing process, I'm in limbo right now. Betwixt and between. At loose ends.
As I confronted my last deadline (having blown several), I was getting up at 5 a.m. and getting off the computer late at night to finish. My mind was racing 24-7; the adrenalin was surging. My mind would not even rest at night as I dreamed of facts I had gotten wrong, people I should have interviewed, ways that I might fail.
Now,  with the manuscript turned in, it feels as if, once again, I've just walked out of  a pressure cooker job and into this unstructured world where I'm free to do what I want with my time.  There's plenty on my list of what I think I want to do. It's just that I'm not ready to motivate myself to tackle them.  Instead, I meander around the supermarket, imagining complicated meals I will cook for my  spouse, long neglected. Or browse online websites like Amazon, Zulilly, and RueLaLa for clothes I haven't bought myself in ages or gifts for the grandkids. But at the end of the day have little to show for any of my time.
When I worked on long projects during my newspaper career, whether as a reporter or an editor, I felt this same inertia when the Sisyphean effort finally made print. Let down. Lethargy. So I know this is normal.
Bear with me. I'll be back to my old unretiring self soon, I'm sure.

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