Juggling time takes practice. It denotes a degree of maturity as well as a degree of skill. However, the skills can easily slip away if not maintained and practised after retirement.
I’m wondering if they can ever be fully restored. Most of my adult life demanded complex skills for juggling time. As a nurse I learned to multi-task before the word was thought of. You can imagine how giving birth to seven babies in under eight years challenged me.
Later, as a single mother I worked outside the home to support six young children.. To challenge myself, I simultaneously added a couple of units a year to an undergraduate degree.
New challenges always intrigue me. My brother, Peter Stone, taught me that the way to live a creative life is to say ‘Yes,’ to whatever challenges present.
‘You can always work out how to do whatever it is you’ve agreed to later,’ he says.
It works for me. And obviously for him.
Saying ‘yes’ is a doorway to adventure, and it also requires extra juggling time as you try to fit the new activity into the rest of your life. I love the excitement of the new that is only possible if my time is organised. Keeping all my balls in the air challenges me.
When I retired at 65 I completed a PhD in Writing. Then I returned to work to research elder abuse and to educate older adults.
The year I turned seventy, I retired for the second time. That year, I also remarried.
What a shock! John had retired many years previously. He felt no need to organise or plan his time. Instead, he felt free to follow his whims about what he would do each day. Weekends away, holidays and outings happened without consulting diaries or calendars.
It wasn’t easy to get into that mindset. I was too fond of structure, too committed to planning, goal-setting and time-management to adapt. I didn’t understand old age brought with it the privileges of no longer juggling time. The lack of routine chaffed.
I felt as if my life had no boundaries.Too much freedom made me anxious. It became more difficult to actually do anything when I could take all day to do it. Writing, the former love of my life, became difficult.
Gradually, I adapted, although still longing for my old ways. I maintained some routines, like cleaning day and regular writing times and blogging. John laughed at my insistence on these routines, but they comforted me.
As a Project Leader with the Spirit of the Streets Choir I find my so-called job a delight. I am paid to sing and write and talk to people. I work limited hours, but even so I am again juggling time. Life has taken on new meaning. I feel blessed.
Plans and goals cover my notice-board. My diary fills itself. Work and hope are separate even though I do much of my work here. Like so many members of the choir say, I look forward to the choir’s Tuesday rehearsals. I gain confidence in my ability to manage my time effectively.
I will plan life after my third retirement next year so that I maintain this skill.
I’d love to read your comments about anything in this blog.