It has been 6 months since I stopped working. On the job, I felt like I had no time to myself. I was always playing “beat the clock” and losing the struggle with my schedule. Until I was diagnosed with cancer, I did not really care that I never seemed to have time to think about things and meditate on life. Now that I have settled into this new lifestyle, I feel much more at peace with myself and less stressed out. My friends and family thought that I would not deal with retirement well and that I would “be going crazy”. This turned out not to be the case at all. I was concerned that I would focus too much on my cancer and symptoms. This did not happen either. Don’t get me wrong; I still have major gastrointestinal, fatigue and nutrition absorption issues but they are becoming more like my new normal. I've gotten used to them.
Also, now that I am not working, I am getting enough sleep and I think that is making me feel better. I am not always running around worrying about what I have to do next. I am eating healthier foods and more home cooked and smaller meals. This helps with some of the digestive issues.
I go out with friends sometimes when I'm feeling up to it. I've been to movies, plays and day trips outside of the city. I've started doing a little bit of volunteer work as well. Some days though, I don’t do much except read, putter around the house and maybe pick up some groceries. I just don’t have the energy level that I had prior to my surgery. It’s amazing how fast the day can go by even when one is not busy in the conventional working sense.
I also had thought that I would be spending more time on my blog and on the cancer message boards but I do not really dwell on my cancer. I haven’t been spending much time on anything related to it. I am currently in maintenance mode with monthly Sandostatin shots and regular scans. Other than that, not much is going on in my cancer life.
All in all, I am living in the moment and trying to enjoy life to the fullest. It’s nice to finally get some time to myself! I read a great book called How to Retire Happy, Wild and Free – Retirement wisdom that you won’t get from your financial advisor by Ernie J. Zelinski. Most retirement books focus on financial planning but this one focuses more on how to stay happy and fulfilled and using your time well. One of the best ideas in this book is the “Get a Life Tree”. It’s a chart of activities categorized by:
- Activities that turn me on now
- Activities that turned me on in the past
- New activities I have thought of doing
- Activities that will get me physically fit
An example of a “Get a Life Tree” is below:
Enjoy the holidays and here’s to a happy and healthy New Year to all!