Crises in ice cream

“She stood in the storm, and when the wind did not blow her away, she adjusted her sails.”

~ Elizabeth Edwards

Who said retirement was fabulous? Who said it would be easy? I want names and numbers (so I can wring their slimy little necks and give them a piece of my mind….).

Yeah, you read that correctly. I’ve had a bit of a struggle. For nearly 35 years, I’ve been part of a group, a dental group, and now, suddenly, I am not. Oh, don’t get me wrong. I’ve said goodbye to saliva, bid my farewells to calculus (which often landed in my hair). I’ve also said adios to my achy back (and backstabbing as well). Yes, there are certain aspects of working in dentistry that I gladly left behind. But, then comes the “What’s next?” question and the identity crisis. Can I really find MEANING in dusting? Is there reward in a sparkly toilet bowl?

I’ve been reflecting lately, thinking about life, what mine means, how I now fit. While I don’t know yet where I’ll land, or whether I need to land anywhere, I’m reminded of a strategy I often used in the past when in the midst of turmoil.

When in doubt, do nothing.

Sometimes making decisions hastily leads to more turmoil. I’ve learned that taking my time, letting the answers come on their own–allowing due process to thoughts and feelings, quiet time, and all factors involved–brings peace.

Breathe. Be in the moment. Smell the roses. Stop fretting. Do nothing.

Yeah, I like that. Those. This thinking. Why must I be in a hurry to decide where or what is next? Why can’t I just be? Can’t I be good to me by allowing myself some latitude here? I have earned quiet time, I deserve to ponder in the quiet of my home, surrounded by things I love.

Certain things like simple beauty propel me forward:

new flowers_may 2017 (13)

Last year’s Foxglove…


new flowers_may 2017 (8)

…which is taller than all of us.

Simple gardening, enjoying the flowers that I planted last year that have resurfaced, along with the new.

wild flowers and veggies_may 2017

Top to bottom: wild flowers, thyme, basil, spinach, lettuce, wildflowers

And, who can resist these:

OK, stop laughing! Yes, that’s my voice and my daughter’s over our astonishment that there are not four, not five, but SIX kittens in this bunch. (I said stop!)

We can only get so close to the “nest” while mamma is away. We are worried she’ll come back while we’re trying to take a look. (Mamma Cat is not ours; she’s feral but has adopted us. We do not feed her, or any cats, outside. Still, she likes our home and has decided to stay. By the time we realized she was pregnant, it was too late to catch her–the plan once she’s finished nursing–so she can be fixed and released.)Β  In the meantime, I’m Mamma Cat’s self-appointed Mother-in-Charge of her and her babies.

I caught her in the act yesterday while she was moving her clan to a safer place. She hissed and growled at me. I’m dealing with it. I’ll be fine. Really. Sniff, sniff…

I also realized after I officially retired (on Feb. 23, 2016) that I had not been very good to me. Yep, that is correct. I had fallen away from good self care: enough sleep, enough water every day, the best food, enough exercise…..and so forth. As we moms often do, we rarely put ourselves first–and looking back, I’d put myself last again, for my family–but I hadn’t fully realized until I retired that I hadn’t helped myself one iota by the lifestyle I had adopted over the years.

I decided to start with some basics: food and simple nutrition. I cannot run this engine properly without the best fuel. I am Somersizing for those who are unfamiliar with this way of eating. After cutting out sugar and all processed food, it’s lots of fresh foods eaten in proper combinations to promote the best digestion. I’ve never eaten so well. I began April 1, and I’m down 6 1/2 pounds and several inches (I did not think to measure when I started). I feel so much better.

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Other basics: I’m trying to push the water, make myself MOVE every day, and get enough sleep. It’s amazing how the body responds positively when it’s treated right.

Not to forget emotional health, I came across this book recently.

quaker book of wisdom (2)I have never been overly religious and prefer to keep my beliefs to myself, but I will say that I agree with many aspects of this type of thinking. I found the following in the back:

1. Seize the present
2. Love yourself, whatever faults you have, and love the world, however bad it is.
3. Stop talking and listen to what you really know.
4. Play soccer! (Or whatever team sport you love)
5. Accept the fact that our lives are only partly in our own hands.
6. Believe in the perfectibility of yourself and society.
7. Make your love visible in the world through your work.
8. Seek justice in the world, but not in your own life.
9. Look for the light of God in every person.
10. Let your life speak.

If nothing, it gives me food for thought, let’s me pause when I need time to reflect. I may not have a “job” right now, not one in the traditional sense, but I am part of something (letting go of dental hygiene is harder than I thought–until I recall plaque). I’ve peacefully rediscovered my sense of belonging. I am part of this family, this household, this blogging world, my genealogy friends, and with #7 in mind, those flowers and kittens out there.

Retirement is not an event. It’s a process. No one told me that; rather, it had been painted as glee and glory. It can certainly be glee and glory, but for some, it brings to a close something that was pretty darned good for many years. To me that was a devastating loss.

My daughter whispered today to my husband to buy ice cream. Hmmm. If the only crisis I now face is which delectable dessert to buy or make, I say, Bring it!

elizabeth edwards quote_she stood in the storm and when the wind

  17 comments for “Crises in ice cream

  1. June 13, 2017 at 6:07 am

    Being retired early is a blessing. You have the youth to enjoy your new adventure. From what I can see here, you have plenty of “Work” to do. I think it is the loss of companionship at work we miss the most. Like a boat without a rudder trying to navigate a new river. You are correct, it is a journey and you are so wise to take the time to nurture your engine and feel your way through this. Nearing 70, it’s still a process for me. The flowers in your last post were stunning. The lavender flowers were some I did not recognize. You truly have a very green thumb. Enjoy the journey. There is no rush.

    Liked by 1 person

    • June 13, 2017 at 2:55 pm

      I visited with a college friend last week who asked how I’m adjusting. He lives in Thailand now and has been retired for a few years. I told him I’m growing into it, and that I realize how truly blessed I am. I feel blessed; I’m not just saying it, but I need to find my place (and it isn’t cleaning house). That place will appear, somewhere, someday, and of that I am certain. For now, I’ve surprised myself how much I’ve loved cooking (for the engines in the house), and the family genealogy. I’m experimenting with foods to find what the body can tolerate (not so much dairy, I’ve discovered), and adjusting meals accordingly. I made a chocolate coffee creamer today with Oat Cream, homemade (deserves a post all its own). So much has happened with the family history I hardly know how to post. But, I do have the garden and flowers (not sure on the lavender ones) and five kittens to watch after. It’s an amazing feeling once we decide to be good to ourselves. How are your flowers and garden coming along? Thanks for stopping by. ❀

      Liked by 1 person

      • June 13, 2017 at 5:45 pm

        Barely keeping up here. Next week maybe a chance to blog again. Lots going on. You will find your place. It’s a fluid life.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. May 21, 2017 at 3:02 pm

    I think you are right, retirement is a process. And like any change, it can take some time to get used to. I think you are wise to admit that you’re struggling, and to look for ways to make things better. It sounds as if you are making some very good first steps!

    Liked by 1 person

    • May 22, 2017 at 7:31 am

      What came to me later was that it might be good to have an actual plan. Oh, I have plenty to keep me busy, but are those the things I had envisioned doing for fun once retired? Um, not so much. I love cooking. I love gardening. I love sewing, but I also love adventure and new things. It’s baby steps (and kitten whiskers) so far. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  3. May 20, 2017 at 5:50 am

    We are not very well prepared for retirement and many of us have a lot of years ahead.

    Liked by 1 person

    • May 20, 2017 at 9:23 am

      Exactly. I was only 55 when it became official, and I’ve slowly accepted that while I keep my license current, I’m done clinically. Just sad to say goodbye to the work relationships as well as the friendships with patients that I’ve accumulated through the years. Many become family. But, it’s not like life is over; far from it. It’s about finding the new and appreciating the old. πŸ™‚ Thanks for stopping by. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  4. May 19, 2017 at 4:28 pm

    I can relate to so much of this post Karen. Although I’m not at retirement age yet I’ve felt similar worries and stresses with finding my purpose and where I’m meant to be. Losing my last short term job didn’t help either. But you’re right, there’s no pressure, we’re allowed to go slow and as I’m discovering that’s sometimes where true contentment is found. You have a lot of joys in your life, those cute kittens and your beautiful garden. Enjoy them and enjoy going where you’re at. Maybe you’re just where you’re meant to be. Warmest wishes to you πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • May 20, 2017 at 9:10 am

      Hi, Miriam. What makes this difficult is that I’m nowhere near retirement age either. I was only 55 when I officially retired; this is way sooner than expected. I had to for health reasons (back issues). I’ve accepted that this is where I need to be, right now, right here, and that is more than OK. The hunk of loss I felt is slowly filling up with new, meaningful things. It just takes time. It’s difficult losing a job, always, but sometimes that works for the best, too. Happy Spring! ❀

      Liked by 1 person

      • May 20, 2017 at 2:52 pm

        I’m glad to hear that life is filling up with meaningful things Karen. Sometimes it just takes time rediscovering what we love and it’s almost like finding ourselves again. Enjoy your Spring as here we head into winter. πŸŒΈπŸ’•

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Amy
    May 19, 2017 at 1:09 pm

    I will share with you the advice I received from my husband’s very wise cousin when I retired three years ago. She said three things: Don’t overcommit yourself—you will be busier than you think. Do something for yourself—something you didn’t have time for while working that you’ve always wanted to do (for me, that was writing my novel and continuing my blog and genealogy), Do something to give back to your community. I volunteer several hours a month in the local urban schools. I love being with children and seeing them smile when I help them or give them a word of encouragement.

    Her advice has worked for me. I LOVE being retired. I don’t miss my job at all (I was a law professor) or my colleagues. Those who were my real friends I still see; the others were just space fillers. I’ve filled those spaces with other things and other people.

    You’ll get there!

    Liked by 1 person

    • March 22, 2018 at 12:46 pm

      Oh, I love this post, Amy. I’m sorry but it was one that went to my trash file (that I just saw yesterday). I love the Dos and Don’ts. I agree 100%. At this point, I also love being retired, yet I still miss the people with whom I worked (but not enough now to go back). I struggled with this for a long time. I think overall it took me two years to feel completely comfortable with the idea. Now, I would not go back. I think it’s interesting that something we spent lots of time and money and effort on to educate ourselves to do is something we wouldn’t dream of going back to. It served its purpose and now that chapter is over. I am content. Thank you for your great post. ❀

      Liked by 1 person

      • Amy
        March 22, 2018 at 1:33 pm

        Wow, this was almost a year ago! I am glad you found it, and I am glad you are now feeling content with being retired. πŸ™‚


        • March 22, 2018 at 1:36 pm

          I know. It’s crazy. I may need to approach the higher ups. I just didn’t want people to think I blew them off. Not my style…

          Liked by 1 person

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