Tuesday, April 14, 2020
Though I had officially called it quits on my day job of nearly three-decades Christmas Eve, January 2, 2020 felt like my first real day of retirement. Two of my kids were still home, one on college break, the other recently graduated and looking for a job. My wife had gone back to work that morning, but before doing so, turned off the lights on the Christmas tree, signaling the holidays were officially over. Over too, was the excitement leading up to my retirement, which made me feel like a between person, a ghost passing through a purgatory of relative being and non-being and coming out the other side a whole person again who, for the first time since his teens, no longer had a job to go to. Now that these things had passed, I was charged with implementing the plan I developed to avoid common post-work mistakes like watching Morning Joe, napping half the day away or pouring myself a drink at noon.
I awoke a bit before 4 a.m. which was a shade later than the time I got up during my working days. I made coffee, fed animals and engaged in a bit of self-loathing for wasting time scrolling through meaningless social media posts. Eventually, about 4:45am, I got going on what would fill many of my post-work hours—writing. I am the author of two novels and currently have a book of essays in search of a home. So I got to work on my highest priority piece, a novel that had been shelved for some time because of the day job and other projects—I always seem to have twenty things going at once. Part of my plan was to prioritize these projects into a hierarchical order. The most important, hardest writing would come in the earliest part of the day, when the caffeine circulating through my system would synchronize with my fresh, well rested mind. Other writing and tasks would follow according to importance.