By Ted Gargiulo – I never wanted to be the sort of person who couldn’t survive without a regimen. Yet, everything in my life’s experience up to now suggests that I do, in fact, function better when everything is laid out for me: chores, obligations, time constraints, prescribed formulas for doing things—expectations of people other than myself. Never was I more aware of that fact than I am now that I’m retired.
Admittedly, the unbridled freedom to plot my own course, to explore and accomplish all the someday things I’d only dreamt about, is a trifle unnerving at first. Like being adrift in a sea of possibilities without a map to guide me, except the one I create myself. Like staring into a blank page and wishing it would tell me what to write. I’ve known coworkers who avoided retirement for that very reason. These poor souls wouldn’t know what to do with themselves if they weren’t punching a clock eight to 10 hours a day.
Thankfully, keeping busy isn’t a problem for me. I have more projects, interests, etc. then there are hours in a day. I’m completely at home with being at home and have no desire to be anywhere else. My wife Jann couldn’t be happier, having me home 24/7. Our dream has become a reality. Used to be, we lived for weekends and vacations. Now we just live—what a concept! I gotta pinch myself sometimes to make sure I’m awake. (Actually, it’s more fun pinching Jann!)
My only problem—not to appear ungrateful—is that I feel there should be more to show for a day, more to show for myself. No matter what I do, no matter what I experience, it’s never enough. I swear, the more time I have, the faster it slips away. I can almost feel life running down my leg. I’m like a kid who’s been let loose in a toy store, who’s so busy trying to grab everything, that he can’t get enough of anything.
Of course, that may simply be my warped perception of things. Impatience has been a problem with me ever since I was knee-high to a locust. That, and my insatiable appetite—always wanting more and more of a good thing. If you don’t believe that, you should see how much my gut has G-R-O-W-N since last summer. If it gets any larger, it’ll have its own zip code! Since I quit working, even my fingers seem fatter. (Or it could just be that my nostrils have gotten smaller.)
How much self-motivating thrust I muster and maintain, now that I’ve cleared the gravitational drag of the job, remains to be seen. The fine art of grabbing the world by the testes is going to take some cultivating, and discipline. I fear it has lain dormant in me too long. But hey, I can’t complain. The days are mine, life is good, and I’m enjoying the ride. Happy to say, I’ve finally found myself. And you know what? I was here all the time!