My Thoughts

“Easy Does It!” But How Do You Do It?

Red-headed woman relaxing on a lawn
Photo by Natalie from Pexels

“Easy Does It!” Sounds simple but really? This slogan stands as one of recovery’s many: First Things First, Think, One Day at a Time, Let Go and Let God and Easy Does It. This week “Easy Does It” continued to surface in my mind, so I thought, “what does it look like?”

Historically, I know what it doesn’t look like! I’ve been a workaholic my whole adult life, driven to overproduce! It started when I worked towards my Bachelor’s degree at 28 years old at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, CO. During my first year, I attended classes on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. I worked part-time as a beautician on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday and did some babysitting on the weekends.

From my second year until I graduated, I dropped the babysitting and worked part-time as an English mentor in the computer lab where every Freshman had to use it for their English class. This work study job helped finance my degree but demanded more of my precious time.

As I added each additional commitment, I revved up more energy, more determination even though I had less time to do all of this. These four years of intense requirements set in motion a lifestyle I continued for the next 40 years+!

During my teaching profession, I worked hard at school and late in the evening, preparing for the next day or grading papers. I added committee work at my schools to this already busy schedule.

After I joined the square dance committee, I jumped in with several volunteer commitments locally and nationally—still working full time and chairing annual festivals.

Before I retired, many friends had already retired and I heard several say, “I’m busier now than when I worked.”

I uttered this curt response to my husband any time I heard that, “Shame on them! They’re in control of their lives.” Those words came back to haunt me.

My Mom became ill in December 2012 and came to live with Lin and me. I became her primary caregiver, still working full time as support staff for two departments at the district level of Albuquerque Public Schools. My boss allowed me to work remotely at home or the hospital as much as possible, so that helped, but I still had face-to-face training responsibilities.

When I retired in May 2013, my Mom had just died in March, and I became the executor of her will, dealing with probate in two states, New Mexico and Colorado. Now I had some open time, so I needed something to focus on—to fill the void. So, I pulled out a collection of poetry I had written thirty plus years earlier and published it. It fed my aching heart.

So, this ignited another phase of my working life in retirement: I have self-published five books and three cookbooks in the seven years of my retirement. Doesn’t sound like “Easy Does It,” does it?

Each book had its specific demands: the actual writing, research, formatting and publishing, promoting and marketing. But my last project went over the top! I wrote the biography of the most famous square dance caller in the world. It ended up being a nearly three year commitment from start to finish. I recorded forty hours of interviews, then I had to transcribe them all. The work continued with production of a paperback, a hardback and e-book and covers for all of them, collaboration with an editor and a total rewrite, lots of research, and final publication preparation. Currently, promoting dominates my time.

Whew! But for the last couple months I’ve exhaled and finally felt retired! Being home so much with the coronavirus pandemic has also eliminated our hectic square dance schedule and given me extra time.

Lady enjoying a field of sunflowers

As I pondered what “Easy Does It” looks like, I’ve finally figured it out:

  • Leisure morning
    • Get up about 7:00-7:30 am
    • Read the national news
    • Do my Quiet Time of reading and writing
    • Eat breakfast
    • Play a couple games of Cribbage
    • Sunbathe
      • Enjoy Lin’s Garden
      • Read my current favorite book
  • Leisure meal
    • Eat lunch
    • Watch one of our favorite TV shows
  • Focused afternoon
    • Check email
    • Do computer tasks
      • Promote Flippo’s book
    • Exercise (Lin has helped me with this because he has a rigorous exercise plan, so I do mine when he does his.)
  • Leisure meal
    • Eat dinner
    • Watch one of our favorite TV shows
    • Go to the hot tub
    • Shower
    • Watch one of our favorite TV shows
      • Promote Flippo’s book
      • Knit
      • Play on iPad

Repeat daily!

So, what changed? The change for me has come through years of recovery work, facing my workaholism. I knew I had to deal with it—Mom and my brother often voiced their concern about the unrealistic schedule I kept.

Recently, a fleeting thought flashed in my mind—this is what retirement/Easy Does It looks like? I felt calm with no major demand forcing me to work. I chuckled and thought, “So, this is what it looks like!” After that moment, I questioned my conclusion—is this for real? Then it happened again, and I realized I had set something in motion.

What do you think? Do you know how to “Easy Does it?” Tell me your experience!

Just Another Square Dance Caller book cover



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~On Wednesday, August 12, 2020 I wrote my 200th blog post. Be sure and check it out here: 200th blog post

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