Friday, July 11, 2014

Lazy hazy days of summer

(Actually not that hazy, thankfully. But I couldn't think of another title, lol.)

We are -- at long last -- on vacation. In the middle of a two-week stay with my parents. This wasn't exactly the vacation I wanted, but it's the vacation I got, and I am trying to make the most of it. It's slightly earlier in the summer than we usually come... but it was hard to get two weeks that suited everyone's busy schedules (not just our own), and this was the best we could do. Even so, my sister could not get time off work while I was here;  the Princess is (sadly) on her own family vacation, although we will see her before we leave.  So it's just me & dh and my parents.

And it is quiet. Almost a little too quiet, perhaps -- but I think it's mostly what I needed (for the first while, anyway), after some stress-filled days/weeks/months at work.  Reading -- books and blogs (I've finished two books since we got here and am now on a third, so expect some reviews in the near future) -- sleeping in late, staying up later to play cards & dominos, taking walks around this little town, popping in at the bakery for coffee & doughnuts (much to the curiosity of the regular locals), and stuffing myself silly with my parents' wonderful cooking. :) 

I realized, before we left, that I had taken only one vacation day & one personal day (for a lengthy medical appointment) since Christmas. Clearly, I needed a vacation. I am trying not to think about work and what awaits when I get back. I try to remember that it's just a little over 18 months until my 55th birthday & early retirement, if I want it.

My mother doesn't seem to want to hear me talk about early retirement, though. I've noticed whenever I mention it, she will make some comment about how "oh, someone better keep working" and about how dh & I will drive each other crazy being in the same house all days long.  (My father, at 75, still goes into the office most days, albeit his workload and pace is much slower than it was even just a few years ago.) 

Her comments irk me for reasons I can't entirely explain. While I tend to think of her as being a stay-at-home mom, she did almost always work herself, when I was growing up and continuing after I left home -- but with the exception of a few years of full-time work while I was in grade school, it was only ever part time, and she retired at 65.  She & my dad have always lived in small towns where the commute has never been longer than a short walk or even shorter drive. They've always lived close enough to the workplace to come home to eat lunch.  (My dad even takes a nap & watches "The Young & The Restless" before returning to work!!) While she has certainly worked hard all her life and faced her own challenges (including raising two kids, which I will admit I've never done, and cared for aging parents), she has never gotten up at 5 a.m. & commuted to & from a full-time, high-stress job, 10 hours a day, five days a week, for 24 years (I've actually been working for 28, but we've been living in our house & commuting for 24). 

Maybe she's genuinely concerned that we will need the additional income that working longer would bring -- although she also makes occasional cracks to the contrary about the supposed size of our bank account (I've gotten snide remarks from people in the past about how rich we must be since we don't have kids... but from my own mother...??!!). 

Maybe she's concerned that once I retire, I'll be home more often to check up on her. ;) 

Maybe she just doesn't want to be reminded that she has a daughter who is almost old enough to retire (because that would mean she is HOW old??).  ;) 

At any rate, if there's one lesson I've learned over the years, it's that, even when its doesn't turn out exactly as we've planned, life (and vacation) is too short not to be enjoyed.


  1. dear Loribeth,
    your post made me smile. Because I see that some things are the same on both sides of the Atlantic.
    Nobody's remark can bother me as much as my Mum's.

    And - I am looking forward to your book's recommendation.

    Enjoy your days off work.

  2. Dear Loribeth,

    This isn't what I had planned for today.
    I am returning to Julia Child for inspiration as I seek direction and a shot of enthusiasm.
    And in looking up why she had no children, came across this blog.
    My heart does go out to you, Loribeth. I don't write on blogs or send fan letters, but this, won't let me move on this afternoon - I am only half way through re-watching Julia & Julie.
    Maybe I'll write this, then delete it - or won't manage to post it.
    I take it 'dh' means 'darling husband'?
    I don't have a dh - I am divorced, as my husband had numerous affairs, and the man I subsequently fell in love with married someone else.
    This means I do not live in a nice house, and I don't have enough money to retire!
    This w/e I 've been facing up to what I have to do to make money into my old age. Thus the J & J movie and Julia.

    I do have two daughters and am a grandmother to identical twin boys of 3.

    Daughters are inclined to be rather bossy - and tell it as it is.

    Your daughter is looking down at you from heaven. If you had a conversation with her today, as you walk together round the town, what would she say to you?

    Lots of love,

  3. Right on. Enjoy your vacation and if you decide to retire early, enjoy your well-deserved retirement, too!

    And stuffing yourself silly with your parents' wonderful cooking...that's something I'll soon get from my mom once our holiday starts and we'll be back in Indo he he...:-) Can't wait! It's been three years since we last met!

  4. I wonder if it's tied to the Depression and being worried about money stemming from that. That idea that you can never prepare enough because you have no clue which way the economy will go. That said, people retire, obviously. And you should whenever you feel ready. Just thinking aloud to give context to your mother's comment?

    Have a wonderful, relaxing vacation. Recharge!

  5. @Lollipop: My mom was born after the Depression (early 1940s) -- although it is certainly an influence. A friend (of a similar age to me, who also grew up in small Prairie towns) & I were once talking about the "Prairie Depression mentality" that we inherited from the people who did go through it. I certainly go through wondering myself whether I should retire early, because you never know, etc. On the other hand, everyone I know who HAS retired early tells me not to wait, and that retirement is not as expensive as you might think. ;) We'll see what happens...!

  6. Was perusing FB last night and I take it that you are now officially retired whether you like it or not. However, you can still work or get more involved in something else if you decide to. Take your time, breathe and rediscover.

    I love that note by Anonymous - you really touched her. Something your words have always done for me. Perhaps a sign of things to come???

  7. I should add that my mother worked in schools (part time) for about 25 years. Meaning her day went from 9 to about 3:30, & she had summers off, as well as Christmas & spring breaks. (I just had another similar conversation with her... Can you tell this is a sore spot with me?? lol)