Friday, August 6, 2021

10 Weeks on

On Monday, or maybe today, Friday, it will be 10 weeks since I retired. The confusion is that when I gave my notice to retire I gave Monday 31st as my last day, however that was a holiday, so Friday was my last working day. I expected to be in a position to get into the office over that weekend in case there was anything last minute to return to the office, or retrieve from the office. Amazon decided, but forgot to tell me, that Friday would be my cut off. So while still employed, in theory, I was 'discontinued'. My login no longer worked on Saturday morning, and I had no access to all things Amazon Internal - including the office. What I had left in the office were two cell phones and one Android tablet which I had loaned to the mobile testing effort, and a mini fridge. Of course I could have arranged for one of my team to meet me there and let me in - definitely not worth it in those days of COVID-19, plus it was way too much trouble. Luckily for Amazon they have now acquired these items and I had already returned all the equipment that belonged to them. 

So, as I said, 10 weeks. That doesn't sound like a lot, does it? 70 days. I think being retired is like any other habit, it takes time to form - that is, to feel comfortable doing it without considering other options. Like my 4 miles on the treadmill 5 days a week. It took me about a year to make that so automatic that I no longer even consider skipping a day; it is one of the reasons that knowing what day it is becomes important. I don't workout on Friday or Sunday but every other day I do it without thinking, now. 

"Researchers from University College London examined the new habits of 96 people over the space of 12 weeks, and found that the average time it takes for a new habit to stick is actually 66 days; furthermore, individual times varied from 18 to a whopping 254 days." - Research Article.

For almost a year I did sometimes try to convince myself that I would just skip today and workout on Friday to make up. Luckily I forced myself and now the only question in my mind is what day is it and I think I have mastered that too. So far, before I go to sleep, repeating what day it will be when I wake up, is working (yes, I already admitted I am nuts).

Some of the stuff I read online references quitting smoking; I don't consider that in the same light. It took me about 2 hours to form that habit and a lifetime to quit. I mean I quit years ago, but I am fully aware that one cigarette would lock me in again. It doesn't really qualify as a habit, it is an addiction. I am not sure I would like to be addicted to my treadmill habit; if I was, I would have withdrawal while on vacation and that would be no fun.

I definitely don't have this retirement habit down quite yet. In the back of my mind I still expect it to end as you would a vacation. I still occasionally dream I am back at work, though not as often as I used to; it is still exhausting, writing code or running tests all night long. Or fighting with an irrational bitch, as was the case for the last few months prior to retirement. (Sorry, but sometimes strong language is unavoidable, required even).

We do go out on the boat frequently, but not regularly as that is governed by the weather. The weather in Texas this year has been weird. A lot more rain and storms than I remember as being usual, interspersed by way hotter, humid days. Plus my twice weekly physical therapy interfered up to last week when that ended. We also frequently, spend the last of the day fishing off the dock and (as you probably know) I take photos of the beautiful view from the dock, of the sun setting over the lake - enjoying that view will never become a habit. 

I have completed every Masterclass on writing, some I have returned to for specific classes more than once. In particular for character building as I write my book. Yes, I am now writing my book. So far, it is slow going but I am hopeful that too will become a habit as I get stuck into it. Of course, I continue to write this blog because that is my therapy and my writing practice, and my way to communicate. I have also returned to my embroidery. 

My most recent t-shirts

I generally write in the early mornings at my desk; and throughout the day in my head of course. I create embroidery patterns and do initial test runs in the afternoon, creating the final article the following afternoon, or next afternoon that is free. Some afternoons I cook or bake, also something I love to do. If we go out in the boat, that will reduce my writing time, and in that case I will write in the afternoon instead of embroidery. The majority of my reading is done on the treadmill, but also occasionally in the evening when TV is just too boring to tolerate. I sit in front of it, but read rather than watch it.

Yes, I am enjoying my retirement; but it is still enjoyable like a long vacation, where an end is expected though not necessarily looked forward to. I am never bored, there is no reason to be, I have so many things I can do why would I be? If there is ever a risk of being bored, strangely enough it would be at the weekends. The lake is way too crowded to go out in the boat, but I still have my reading, writing, embroidery, cooking, baking etc. to turn to. 

So, not yet a habit. Perhaps it is supposed to always feel like a vacation? I will report back in a few more weeks - I think the winter will be interesting. I retired at the end of May, so let's see how I get through a winter of retirement, without discontent.

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