My First Week (of semi-retirement)

Its been a busy week since I stopped full time work on 12<SUP>th</SUP> Feb. Not just physically, but mentally as well. Perhaps the mental changes that are needed to improve health, for me, are just as important as the physical. My mind had been clouded with anger, resentment & exhaustion for such a long time, I feared that I would end up a bitter, twisted shell of a person. The fear of where I was heading emotionally, was as bad as the physical pain & exhaustion of my bodily state.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
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Change is not just about slowing down & giving your body a chance to adjust to the altered routine. Its about thinking carefully & realistically what you can do for yourself (when you have limited financial resources & there is the ever present uncertainty about when your bank account is going to get the next injection of funds). Change is about being pro-active taking charge of your life, collecting your thoughts, using your imagination & creativity to explore new fields & maybe, new mountains to climb. You dont always have to have the summit in view. Taking the first steps towards a small low plateau should be the first part of any journey. Keeping in mind, that sometimes, its the journey itself which has greater meaning in your life. Its not always about the summit or end result.<o:p></o:p>
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Change is about looking ahead to the future, with your back firmly facing the past.<o:p></o:p>
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Your back facing the past, doesnt mean forgetting everything in your past life, it means packing events, negative emotions & undesirable people (who had a negative impact on your life) into a neat, square, brown, unbleached cardboard box (I care for the environment), tying it loosely with string (in case you need to revise, or revisit the past) & putting it on the top shelf of the linen closet. I dont believe you should throw away the past. The past is what has made you who you are today.<o:p></o:p>
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But its the actions of the present that makes you who you are tomorrow.<o:p></o:p>
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Spiritually, I felt a certain element of calm & grace. I have always felt that the situations & people in our lives were meant to be there for a reason. Lessons to be learned when the times are tough, & blessings to be felt when the right people come into our lives to support & share our sorrows & hardships, happiness & joy.<o:p></o:p>
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So putting aside the Spiritual elements which all boils down to karma, or what will be, will be, what has this first week of my new life revealed to me.<o:p></o:p>
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In the busy-ness of the days, filling out forms, washing/pressing & filing away the few office clothes I possess, tidying my flat (which had got a little messy in the last few weeks) & sorting & tidying up personal accounts, I came to the conclusion that most of the last 16 years had been about my job. I knew this before this week, but the burden of that existence was truly brought home to me when I started this week doing the same things I did while working. I continued to feel the weight of my old job. <o:p></o:p>
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It takes time to unlearn past expectations & thought patterns.<o:p></o:p>
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I was hesitant about extending my activity, because I knew from past experience that the more I did outside working hours, the worse I would feel mentally & physically. This hesitancy cast a shadow on my activities this week. I was walking too fast to the Medical Clinic (for my daily B12 injections). It was hot & on the way home, I had angina type pain in my chest & left shoulder. I had to stop several times to reduce the pain on the way home.<o:p></o:p>
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Why did I walk at that pace? <o:p></o:p>
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There was no office to get back to (I had previously gone to the medical clinic, next door to where I worked, during my lunch time). There was no deadline to fulfill. There was no Boss or staff demanding my attention. Why did I walk too fast? <o:p></o:p>
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HABIT. <o:p></o:p>
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The Cardiologist has told me to walk slowly to avoid that chest pain (& shortness of breath), but habit had subconsciously intervened & ruled my walking pace.<o:p></o:p>
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It takes time to form new habits. <o:p></o:p>
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So I never, ever got out into the garden to dead head the spent, withered rose heads, the dead geranium blooms, or weed out or prune some of the overgrown branches & ungainly looking shrubs. I thought, No time, cant do, too big a job, too hot (which it was), I have to do this or that, inside first. I HAVE to rest. I HAVE to rest. How ridiculous. Spending time in the garden or communing with nature is one of the most restful activities I know. (As long as I dont bend down to the ground too much, which results in dizziness, heart palpitations, or my back locks up & I cant stand up straight).<o:p></o:p>
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How many days does it take to form new habits.<o:p></o:p>
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Psychologists say that it takes 14 days (or times) to form a new habit. For example, if you want to park your car in a new space on a regular basis, you have to consciously think about that & consciously use your brain to park it in the new space 14 times. Supposedly, on the 15<SUP>th</SUP> time, you will automatically park your car in the new space (without having to consciously think about it).<o:p></o:p>
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Does this mean I have to get through another 7 days before I can form new habits, or new thought patterns?<o:p></o:p>
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So Im sitting next to the open balcony doors feeling the fresh morning breeze caress my face & decided that today is a day of rest. Not because its Sunday & Im dutifully going off to church or obeying some religious rite, but because its time to just be (for the day). Its time to consciously still my mind, release the shackles of habit & consciously walk out into the garden with my trusty secateurs in hand.<o:p></o:p>
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Its time to take in the chorus of birds chattering away to each other. The distant drone of a plane flying over <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" /><st1:City><st1:place>Melbourne</st1:place></st1:City>s whispy, cloud scattered sky & shut out the faint hum of traffic on the main thoroughfare at the end of my tiny street. The fresh, scented breeze & billowing of the lounge room curtains remind me of the garden that has been beckoning for several days.<o:p></o:p>
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So I will finish this Blog, turn off the computer & answer the call of nature (the garden you twits, not the bathroom toilet)! :D<o:p></o:p>
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Comments

I had been wondering how this week was going for you. It'll be interesting to see what how things are going by about week 4....... Thanks so much for sharing.;)
 
Lily;bt803 said:
I had been wondering how this week was going for you. It'll be interesting to see what how things are going by about week 4....... Thanks so much for sharing.;)
You're welcome, Lily.

I suppose most of the forum members have forgotten what lifestyle changes like mine are like, or have not experienced them at all.

I've just spent 3 glorious hours out in the garden (not my balcony of potted herbs), sweeping mindfully, pruning creatively, giving little drinks to the needy & giving thanks for this wonderful day of sunshine, cool breeze & shady trees to filter the sun's rays. Of course, I stopped frequently for little rests & quenching my thirst with a bottle of chilled water. I didn't actually work for 3 hours non-stop. I'm not that fit.
I swept very slowly & paused many times.

I feel pleasantly tired.

What a foreign phrase. The only one I ever identified with was totally & utterly exhausted.

(no doubt, you'll hear me moan tomorrow of aches & pains unlimited). But for today, pleasantly tired is a welcome phrase.

And the side garden, path & entrance garden area, looks trim, taunt & terrific.

And I might have shed a pound, formed a wee muscle or two, & received a hint of colour to my normal deathly pallor.

And now to rest for an hour or two (or three) to balance the day out.:sofa:
 
I predict good things for you! I'm so glad you got out of that job.

I find the ability to slow down very important for health. I'm in the constantly aroused, mind flitting around, wired but tired subset. Habits are so hard to break but I look forward to hearing how you break those unhealthy, tense work habits and adjust to this new life.

Good luck!
 
Thanks Cort,

After a hideously painful night (sciatic pain, numb foot & part of my shin - not FM pain), when I woke continuously every time I rolled over to my right side, I had a surprisingly wonderful day.

Will try to put the events of this week into a Blog to share around.

I have been sitting at the computer for hours tonight (with breaks to cook & eat etc) & I feel fine. No headaches, no eye pain, no shoulder pain from typing or whatever - right now, I'm feeling Just Fine. Really fine. :victory:

I've taken my BP several times over the last couple of days (I'm supposed to do this regularly anyway, but I forget), and my BP is down about 20-30 points, depending on the time of the day. My Dr will be pleased when I see him Thursday week. :victory:
 
Glad to hear it. Your work situation sounded so toxic! And it really seemed like things were going downhill fast. Nice to see the body is responding to its new situation. :)
 

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