Late Bloomer: Lingering over Coffee
When I was about to retire in May 2004, a former colleague gave me some advice. Well, not advice but more of a prophecy based on his own experience as a retiree.
Tall and with the bearing of the U. S. Marine he was before he became a community college professor, Richard R. said, “You know, Juliet. Once you’ve been retired for a while, you’ll find that you stay at the kitchen table in the morning, reading the paper and having another cup of coffee.”
“Oh, no, not me,” I said. “In the morning I have to walk the dogs first thing and then have breakfast. After that I need to get right to work on my writing.” (I had ambitious goals for my second career when I retired and still do for that matter, though fulfilling them is taking longer than I expected.)
Of course, in May eight years ago, even though I was well into my sixty-day countdown to retirement, I was still in the mind-set of the employed. Every weekday, I was used to flinging myself, carrying a tote bag filled with graded Composition 1 essays, out of the house shortly after eight and into the car. Off I zoomed to the community college where Mr. R. and I both taught. I always allowed extra time for traffic and finding a parking place because I had a horror of being late for class or even my office hour at 9.
In fact, in late summers before fall semesters started and during winter breaks, I usually had my “late for the first day of classes dream.” In that dream, I got lost on the first day, couldn’t find my classroom, blundered around looking for it and arrived so late the students had left already. Even after I’d taught for over 30 years, this dream would wake me up all in a sweat about being late. (I had the dream again when, worried about cash flow, I went back to work part-time in ’09.)
But now I have to tell, Richard, what you said to me is true at least most days.
Sometimes I get agitated when I can’t get out of the house in time to be early for a Saturday morning Sisters-in-Crime meeting. But mostly I don’t sweat it.
And now, I find that after my yoga routine, the first dog walk of the day, and breakfast, I do often linger over coffee and the newspaper. Tuesdays I read Miss Manners, Fridays the movie reviews. Most days I at least start the Sudoku, though toward the end of the week, when the puzzles increase in difficulty, I may not finish the day’s puzzle until I linger over my last cup of coffee of the day after lunch.
Next time: Well, I don’t know exactly. If I set a topic, I’m liable to change my mind by then, so we’ll all just have to wait and find out.
So I’ll end with this way. Comments welcomed and if you enjoyed this blog installment, please subscribe and tell your friends about it.