Why This Grandma Thinks Procrastination is A Disease of Retirement And The Cure

procrastinationThis Grandma prides herself on a lifetime of organization and the ability to multi task and get things done.  I hate “To Do” lists and all my working life, almost half a century, those lists were limited in number and accomplished with speed.  When I look back, I wonder how I did as much as I did in a day.  I worked full time, raised a family with good quality time, indulged grandchildren, enjoyed the gift of long dear friends, nearly completed a bucket list of visiting all the wonders of the world, wrote and lectured extensively, exercised regularly, and kept Grandpa happy most of the time, I think.  I realize that I did not think about what I did.  I optimistically just did.  I had a very fulfilling and personally gratifying life during my extensive working careers, of which there were several.  I loved working the long hours I did.  I loved taking full advantage of the short free time I had.

I was happy. I enjoyed success in reaching most of my lifelong goals.  I would be embarrassed to share the lifelong goal I did not reach.

When I realized that I was facing mandatory retirement at age 70, I tried everything to make that not happen, including trying to change the law.  Fifty years flew by.

I went through all the stages of “wounding and healing” that one must suffer in a life passage event.  I denied that my life as I knew it was going to change and fought the change.  This stage lasted years! I went through sadness and could not talk about the fact that I was going to have to mandatorily retire. I went through the anger stage for too long. It usually takes eight months to two years average to go through the stages, but I refused to let go.  It took me too long to realize I was not indispensible and everyone and everything would be fine without me.  It actually took a physical trauma to help me heal from the emotional trauma of mandatory retirement. I felt that I finally reached the pinnacle of my career and finally felt competent and successful in my work, and it was not fair I could no longer serve. I actually stayed on the job voluntarily for no pay past retirement age until I felt secure that my replacement was better than me and could serve in my stead to my personal highest standards.  I moved forward and, as a pioneer and historian, collected and left for my colleagues the best of what I had accumulated for them to continue to use.  I did not let my experience and expertise go to waste and I finally found joy in the thought of retirement.  In moving forward, I came to the realization that I did not have to separate myself from my previous careers.  I could maintain what I enjoyed, now on my terms.  I could transition and continue to do what I enjoyed most.  I thought I had no control, when now I realize, I am fully in control of the rest of my life.

I am happy now too.  Maybe, if I really admit it, I am even happier now.

However, I do not recognize myself in the very short time that I have transitioned to part time work in retirement.  My friends and colleagues also say I have changed.  My friends and colleagues say that I look more relaxed.  I am surely more open, because I am free of the constraints of my employment, but they say it is more.  I have slowed down, it seems.

In that slowing down, I have gained a disease of retirement, procrastination.

My “To Do” lists have “To Do” lists.  The lists run into the teens of things I have to do.  I tried to analyze the difference, of course, because that is who I am.  Here is what this Grandma thinks are the whys and wherefores of the disease.

Very Busy

Yes, I am busier than I was when I was working.  I did not understand how this could happen.  However, while working, by necessity, I limited my horizons.  Now, since my horizons are limitless, I want to do anything and everything, do too much, plan too much, and have too much to do.


In high stress, high volume employment, I moved at high speed.  Exercise, Yoga, and Pilates were my release and relaxation.  I still wake up early, but everything seems to take longer.  I rarely could finish the two newspapers I read every morning before work.  I rarely can finish the two newspapers I read every morning until mid morning.  My head is not full of other peoples’ problems and I am moving slower and easier.

Too Much Time

I look at my “To Do” lists every morning.  I look at those crossed items crossed off as done the previous day.  I am shocked at how little I accomplished on my list for the day before.  Then, I look at the list and know that much of it is not imperative to be done today.  I can leave it for tomorrow as I have tomorrow free if I want it, the free time for such luxury.  There is something to the saying that one should ask a busy person to complete a job.

Prioritizing Gratitude and Joy

I find that I do what I want to do first, which is to connect with those I care about more frequently than time permitted before.  Grandpa and I do things during the day that were left for weekends or evenings.  If something on the list seems like a chore, on the list it remains. . . .now for weeks.  I appreciate my beautiful Florida surroundings. I actually just stare at the ocean and smile.  After nearly half a century of work, I am grateful for the time I have gained to prioritize what brings me joy.

Being Able To Say No

I must admit I still have to work on this.  But, then, it just gets added to the list.

Assistance Lost and Appreciated

These were the whys and wherefores I came up with.  Then, one of my joy events, having lunch with my assistant of twenty years, led her to enlighten me as to the best reason why procrastination is a disease of retirement.  Now a treasured friend, and the reason why this blog originated, she reminded me that I no longer have her to do most everything on my list for me.

Happiness may be the cause and result of the disease of procrastination in retirement.  Happiness is not a bad cure.  Happiness is something worthy of seeking, especially because I cannot expect that there are fifty years ahead of me as there were fifty years of work to bring me to this stage of life.  But then, there is disease of procrastination.  Denial is great happiness.







Speak Your Mind