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Do You Feel Like the Countdown Clock is Running Behind You?

The pressure of making each minute count

Retirement is great. I took a nap yesterday afternoon, which will not be strange to many of you. But I feel like the countdown clock is running.

None of us know how many minutes are on the clock, of course, but it wasn’t until recently that I felt only so much time is left. Maybe the Covid years were part of it — we all tried to avoid the virus and death or disability. Then I felt like the universe had taken three years from me. But I’m not a dancer with a limited time for my body to dance, or a musician trying to make it in larger venues by gigging in nightclubs. I didn’t lose those years of income and exposure. We all experienced the Covid years.

I do have aspirations as a writer, and networking — in person — and going to events, workshops, etc. are all part of being better known in the local literary community. Maybe the isolation was good for writing — although, like many people, I couldn’t be creative in the first long months, maybe a year.

I write on blogs and relish places like Crow’s Feet where peers in my age group hang out. I have a travel list that I’m letting go of and a long to-do list that includes too many easy things put off for far too long.

So today I am trying to tackle a little of this and a little of that. I don’t want to set times for greater productivity, and heavens, I don’t want to set an alarm clock for the morning. Life without an alarm clock is one of retirement’s great gifts.

Yet the clocks are running. My electronic watch never switched when the time switched, and I just calculate an hour’s difference. I have multiple calendars so I can be reminded of scheduled events. My measuring stick of “Is this worth it?” means I often answer “No.” I could be reading or writing.

Work has changed a great deal since I opted out of it, and there are far fewer meetings these days, from what I can tell. I look back on my career, and I bet the majority of my time was spent in meetings. I gave tutorials on how to run effective meetings. What B.S.

Oh, I believe in savoring the moment and have written lyrically of the birds on the river and the seasonal flowers. I am not dismissing mindfulness or being fully present. It’s just…

I have seen something else under the sun: The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all.

— Ecclesiastes 9:11 New International Bible

The writer Damion Runyon, in my view, topped that with:

The race is not always to the swift nor the battle to the strong, but that’s the way to bet.”

Any others out there trying to beat the clock?

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2 Responses

  1. rebeccastratman
    | Reply

    Yes! Your capture it so eloquently.

  2. SingingFrogPress
    | Reply

    Yes! Absolutely…..and at the same time I keep working to winnow down the “Get these things done before you can’t do them at all” list to a bare minimum, and accept that no matter what, when my end heaves into sight, if I sense/see it coming at all, I’ll always feel like I’m in the middle of something that I’ll want to somehow bring to a dignified close.

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