Time On My Hands

As a person who’s retired, I have time on my hands. And yet, I can stay pretty busy if I want to. There are plenty of things to do, like clean out my garage, mow the grass, fix broken things around the house, and well, you get the idea. When I was working, having a few minutes to sit and relax was a luxury I seldom had. Now, I can spend a whole day doing nothing and it doesn’t matter. Whatever needs to be done can wait until tomorrow. Except the laundry. If you want to wear clothes, you have to do laundry.

The point is that when I was working I had a lot of things to do and not much time to do them. I felt I needed to be doing something all the time in order to get all the jobs done. When I did take a break I felt guilty about it even though I needed it. This was my M.O. for years. Now that I’m retired, I still feel this way. I haven’t yet gotten used to not having to be busy all the time. I need to convince myself that it really is okay to not have anything to do. I mean after all, isn’t this what I was looking forward to? The day when I didn’t have to get up and go to work? What was the point of working at all if not to be able to enjoy my life away from work? You have to do some kind of work in today’s world in order to survive but that shouldn’t be what life is all about. You should be able to have leisure time with your family or friends. Otherwise, what is the point?

I have bookshelves full of books. I go to used bookstores, and book sales and pick up books I think will be interesting or informative. Then I grab one and sit to read and remember I still need to clean out that back gutter on the house. The grass is looking long again, I better go cut it. I need to meet up with my friend for lunch. For some reason my brain is telling me that reading is wasting time and I have all these other things to do and I better get to them because you know Winter isn’t that far away and you can read in the Winter time so get off your butt and get these things done because, because, because…….

Ever have an argument with yourself? That’s what I’m doing, and I’m not winning. How is that possible? Anyway, this is what I’m working on. Convincing myself that it’s alright to not do anything. I don’t have to worry about it getting out of hand though and becoming really lazy. I’ve always been the kind of person who stays busy but some down time to catch up on my reading is good. I need to keep my mind sharp. Like I said, working serves no other purpose than for you to be able to enjoy your life away from work. I enjoyed my job but I had no trouble walking away from working. No trouble at all. Now I have time to do what I want, right? Except the grass is looking long again….

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The Carrot Before The Horse

carrot before the horse
Is it destiny to work back breaking labor,
bending cutting lettuce, laying brick,
maintaining warp and weft, punching
cash register buttons on sore feet
to achieve the ever allusive
American Dream?

Is hope, denying what is? That paycheck
not big enough to cover the light bill?
Two jobs, ten, twelve, fourteen hours,
buying clothes at Goodwill, giving our
money to billionaires who for some reason
don’t think they have enough.

That carrot is getting smaller and
farther away as we chase faster and longer
to grasp the dream and we forget to
look at the word, “dream.”

Has it always been just a dream?
What are our children learning from
watching this? Hopes and dreams.
“I want to be a doctor.” “I want to
be an astronaut.” “Mamá and papi work
the fields while I do my schoolwork alone.”

Has it always been just a dream?