Recently I had coffee with a friend who is now teaching at a different school. Although I haven’t shared this information with my current school yet, she knows that I plan to retire at the end of this year.
“So what will you do?” she asked.
“Nothing,” I answered.
She stared at me. “What does that mean?” she wondered.
I thought for a moment before answering. What that means is that I don’t plan to have my days metered out, each hour accounted for, every chore at home squeezed in between the race at school and the desire to have a life outside of work.
I will relearn how to cook, not just the quick and easy recipes but also the ones that take a bit more effort. I will get out the good china and silver more often and use cloth napkins because I will have time to keep them clean.
I will also keep my house and my car cleaner than I do these days. I will change the sheets on my bed more often. My husband will have a more pleasant environment to come home to after work, because I will be a better homemaker (and a happier soul).
It means that I will make a list of all the people who have been influential and instrumental in my life, in making me who I am today. And then I will plan visits with each of them, for lunch if possible.
There are community groups I will be a part of, and church committees to which I will make meaningful contributions of time and energy that I don’t have now.
There are day trips I will make to places I hear about or read about in the paper. I will help my daughter with her stationery business when she needs me. I will get to know my neighbors better. I will be a better friend.
And I will be able to write more, and I hope I will finally get started on all those art projects I dream of doing.
I will take more deep breaths.
So what I said to my friend was, “Well, I don’t have to have another job lined up for me. I have some dreams I hope to follow.”
But it won’t really be nothing. As Allison Glock wrote in the December issue of Southern Living, “It’s hard for Southern women to do nothing. We like to feel useful. It’s how we show we care.”