Archive for the ‘workaholic’ Tag

06-27-2014 Journal Entry–Retirement!   Leave a comment

I still find my life difficult after six years of being retired. First of all I never expected to ever be retired and honestly thought I would have died long before this. For a change it’s nice to be wrong about certain things.

Adjusting my day-to-day existence from being an over achieving workaholic to a gardening, bird watching, and laid back retiree has been interesting and at times distressing.  I now understand that my high blood pressure issues were probably responsible for my former fast paced life style and the workaholic obsession.

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“The garden is producing already. I just thought I’d brag a little.”

But with my slowed down and medicated lifestyle I’m now a much more calm and controlled person.  Yesterday I spent a good part of my day taking photographs. I was able to spend more than an hour taking pictures without ever leaving my yard.  I’ve never had the luxury of free time like this and it still makes me feel guilty as if I’m being lazy and unproductive.  I’ll show you a few of my photo’s and you can judge for yourself if it was worth my time.  After looking at them I found myself very happy with the results and felt the time had been well spent.  See what you think.

I’ve placed numerous bird houses on the property and this year we have a number of winged residents living with us.  I’ve come to find out that birds can be a vicious bunch.  They’re very territorial especially when they’re nesting and protecting newborns. This first photo is of a mother spending twelve hours a day coming and going to feed her recently hatched babies. 

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This second photo is that same mother protecting those young from an intruder.  Two years ago this same bird had two nestlings killed by a bird of the same species.  I found their little corpses in the nest after the birds left on their southern migration.  I finally had to replace the box because they refused to come near the old one even though I’d cleaned out the old nest and dead babies. The first year after replacing that box they returned and took possession of the new one once again.  They seem to be much more protective these days than in the past and rightly so.

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Hopefully within a few weeks we’ll have a few little ones making a racket as they mature and prepare to leave the nest.  That’s assuming no further catastrophes occur such as other birds or the neighbor’s cat.  I might be forced to put a few Be-Be’s in the ass of that damn cat to help them a little if necessary.

I then moved through the garden to an area with freshly blooming day lilies.  They are some of my favorite flowers for photographing.  The colors are just so vibrant and beautiful I can’t resist them.

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Lets get just a little closer to see more of Mother Nature’s finest work.

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It’s these things that help keep me sane.  I could easily roam for hours taking pictures of anything and everything and never be disappointed.

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After a day of doing this I’m not quite so discontented with retirement.  Doing things I never thought I’d have the opportunity to do is even cooler than I imagined. I  do miss working more than I thought I would but it’s all a matter of adjusting to change. I’m almost there.

02-07-2014 Journal Entry – Workaholics!   Leave a comment

On any given day I enjoy relaxing.  It’s taken me a lot of years to learn how to relax after spending my working life as a six day a week workaholic. Even as a high stress workaholic I was able to relax but it was just as hard to make time for that as the job itself.  I knew when the job and my bosses needed to be ignored and occasionally paid a price for doing just that. I was also ridiculed at times by my workaholic co-workers but I knew where my limits were and tried never to exceed them.  Disconnecting from the everyday grind for me was the path to good mental health.  I’ve always used the light-switch analogy and have advised more people than I can remember to go home at the end of the day, turn off the work light-switch and  just relax.

I watched for years as retail management pushed associates into completing long lists of tasks and if they weren’t accomplished correctly the associates were then criticized for their lack of customer service skills.  It was a vicious cycle that produced “task oriented” people in large numbers with a terrible customer service (people) attitude.  Associates became brainwashed and unable to feel good about themselves unless their long list of tasks had been completed at work and at home.

“Stop, smell the flowers, and relax.”

I’ve been personality tested by my employers on many occasions.  I’m was always considered an “A” type personality who was a great multitasker, knew how to accomplish the goals set by the corporation and to “get the job done”. Little did they know that doing their tasks was the easy part of my day but getting their tasks done quickly and making time for myself was even more difficult. It was a full time job trying to survive my full time job. I was always successful in the job but when I had down time I used it.  When I was relaxing I put tasking out of my mind completely and that skill helped maintain my somewhat healthy outlook on things.

I’m now retired but I live with someone who is totally task oriented.  She works a full time retail job and she has a difficult time relaxing when she gets home. She feels like her day is a total failure without a long and completed “To Do” list.  I’ve been trying desperately for years to get her to turn off that “light switch” when she gets home but have only been moderately successful.  I’m nothing if not persistent but she can be just as hard headed as I am.  It’s a battle I’ll keep fighting because it needs to be fought.

While personality tests and reading about personality types has been regarded by some as self-indulgent navel gazing, there is a real value that comes from identifying our natural tendencies. Every personality has strengths and weaknesses, and understanding what yours are allows you take advantage of those strengths to overcome the weaknesses.

I was surfing around the Net yesterday and discovered the following list of suggestions to assist those task oriented individuals in their attempts to relax.  Balance in life is more important than most people think but many people talk about reaching a balance but never actually try to accomplish it.

  1. Schedule time to focus on the people around you and commit to setting aside your To-Do list during that time.
  2. Consciously make eye contact when your husband, partner, or children speak to you so that they have your full attention.  Be attentive and focused.
  3. Go anywhere where you can just enjoy being with your family without the distraction of things that need to be done.
  4. Look for opportunities to get things done in smaller chunks rather than saving them all up to do at once.

I take and make time to do absolutely nothing.  Some people call it meditation and others (task oriented people) call it loafing.  Regardless of the name it’s total down time where the mind can rest as well as the body.  Just a few minutes a day seems to work for me.  I admit I have my work cut out for me with my better-half but I refuse to give up the fight.

RELAX DEAR!

09-24-2013   Leave a comment

What better way to start my day.  I’ve been awake for no more than ten minutes just lying here trying to motivate myself into facing the day.  Since my better-half has two days off we decided to sleep in an extra few minutes and relax a little, or at least I did.  What’s the first thing I hear? Is it "Good morning honey" or "Wake up sunshine", of course not.  She calmly rolls over, looks me square in the eye and says "I think I’ll help you with the compost pile tomorrow."  I’m lying in bed looking out the window at the sunshine and thinking about how I’ll miss the warm weather and she’s thinking of a huge pile of compost.  There has to be some sort of message there but I haven’t a clue as to what it might be.

Days off.  When I was one of the working drones eking out a living I relished my days off.  I waited patiently for them to arrive so I could just kick back and enjoy myself.  They were crucial to my mental health and well being and I honestly forced myself not to think about work and the stresses involved there.

My better-half has yet to figure out how to enjoy a day or two without stress.  She just can’t seem to grasp the concept of relaxation.  Even on her days off she’s driven by her list of things to do.  She spends all day accomplishing tasks and if at the end of the day they all haven’t been accomplished, she’s disappointed and upset.  She has a work, work, work attitude and I’ve been trying to convince her to develop the ability to turn off the work mindset as soon as she arrives home.  She’s improved a great deal over the last few years but there’s still a lot room for improvement.

I normally set aside about twenty minutes after she arrives from work for her to vent her frustrations, have a beer, and talk it out.  Once that’s been taken care of she can then move on to her real life and possibly enjoy herself.  I guess I was lucky.  I was always able to turn off the work as soon as I entered my car to go home each night.  I gave almost no thought to it until the next morning when I had no choice but to deal with it again.  My jobs were always stressful and if I took all of that baggage home with me every night I would have lost my mind.

Well, she’s wandered off to get us some coffee but I refuse to leave the bed just yet.  She’s already scurrying around the house to begin her To Do list for the day. I’ll try to coerce her into coming back to bed with my magnetic personality and huge amounts of sex appeal and charm. Don’t you dare grin or laugh, it’s all true.  I hear the washing machine being turned on so maybe I’ve already waited too long to make my move.  I guess that’s the real story of my life.

Oh no, here she comes now, my own little energize bunny sweeping through the bedroom, dumping out the hamper, and then gone in a swirl of dirty clothes and the smell of laundry detergent.  Too late again.  I’ll try one more time to slow her down but it could get ugly.  I can see an extended middle finger in my future.

06-16-2013   Leave a comment

I’m about a month away from completing my fifth year of retirement.  I think a celebration of sorts is called for because this has been one of the most difficult transitions I’ve ever had to make.

I’ve always been someone who readily adapted to change.  I’ve lived in many places over the years as required by my jobs and I worked my way up the corporate ladder twice with two different national companies.  I had hopes of a great retirement and pension but unfortunately both companies were purchased by other companies and neither survived that purchase.  You adjust because you must.  When there is no choice at all you pick yourself up and get back to work.

Fortunately that was one of the things my father made sure I had.  I had no fear of hard work and I also had a killer work ethic.  I worked my ass off for thirty years, 6 days a week, tons of travel, and change, change, change.  I started three business over the years and had reasonable successes with two and failed miserably in the third.  Shut up, get up, and keep on keeping on.

Making the change to early retirement was something I never thought I would get to do.  I’d already  excepted the fact that I’d be working until they found me slumped at my desk or in my car.  As in all things timing is everything.  After the failure of my two most important employers I took a public service position  with the State of Maine.  My fear of having another company hire me and then fail had sent me there. Whoever heard of a State going bankrupt?

The State of Maine surprised me a little.  They didn’t go bankrupt but they did call me in to tell me my work load was going to increase by 30% without a comparable wage increase.  I received a confidential call a short time later from a friend in the state capital who told me my position was on the chopping within two months. I had no choice and was lucky enough to be able take early retirement before the axe fell.  Hooray for me right?

Making the transition from workaholic to retiree was the worst.  I made the change immediately by giving Goodwill all of my suits, shirts, ties, and dress shoes.  I threw away my wrist watch because it was no longer something I needed.  It took at least eighteen months to find a comfortable rhythm for my life and to end the depression I was suffering with.

I hate making this sound like a sad story because it isn’t. I’m retired for God’s sake.  How can I possibly be whining?  I found these quotes recently that just made me laugh not because they’re all that funny but because they’re all so true.  My sense of humor has gotten through a lot of change and it’s things like these quotes that really help.

  • The money is no better in retirement but the hours are! — Author Unknown
  • "According to your latest data if you retire today, you can live reasonably well until 5 p.m. tomorrow."— Dave Erhard
  • My retirement plan is to find a shopping cart with good snow tires.
    — Patty Doyle
  • ‘The best time to start thinking about your retirement is before the boss does.’  Anonymous
  • ‘When a man retires and time is no longer a matter of urgent importance, his colleagues generally present him with a watch.’  R C Sherriff.
  • ‘It is time I stepped aside for a less experienced and less able man.’  Scott Elledge.
  • ‘There’s one thing I always wanted to do before I quit…retire!’  Groucho Marx
  • Retirement kills more people than hard work ever did – Malcolm Forbes
  • Except for an occasional heart attack I feel as young as I ever did – Robert Benchley
  • What do gardeners do when they retire? – Bob Monkhouse

I love being retired.  It gives a lot of freedom to do all those things I said I was going to do but never did.  I spend most of my time concerned with the care and feeding of my better-half who is still caught up in the rat race.  I try to be her stress reliever and to keep her as happy as I can.  I may bitch and complain about a lot of things but my life is good.  I’m what my Dad used to describe as, “fat (not too much), dumb, and happy”.