Well, I’m a little over two months into this retirement gig, and have to confess that it all still seems a little strange. The summer has drifted by pleasantly enough, but really has felt like an extended vacation, that I keep waiting to end.
These past two months are the longest consecutive period of leisure I have experienced since leaving school, when the halcyon days of sweet summer drifted so languorously by. I must have been better at drifting in those schoolboy days, since I don’t recall ever being troubled by a recurring sense of ennui, that somewhere there were tasks to complete and deadlines to be met. Then, I was content to while away a lazy afternoon reading, daydreaming, or just doing nothing.
Many former clients, colleagues, and business associates seem at least mildly interested in the progress of my lifestyle shift ,as evidenced by the almost universal greeting I receive whenever I encounter them – “so, hows retirement treating you?”. Many are quick to offer advice, mostly about finding new activities to fill the void left by the absence of paid legal drudgery.
Well, my many advisers need not worry, as I have found a project, or, more accurately, a project has found me. Co-incident with my retirement, there was a second, less happy retirement at our place. Our beloved heritage cherry tree, that had graced our back yard for, we guess, in excess of 90 years had finally, despite our valiant efforts to preserve it, become unsafe, and had to be taken down.
The tree, in its glory towered over our three story house, and had a circumference of close to 5 feet at its base. In its death, it left a massive stump in the middle of our back yard, exactly where its replacement is to be planted.
And so began my retirement project (dubbed by some neighborhood wags as the battle of “The Old Man and the Stump”). Armed only with an axe and a spade, I have traded my lawyer’s robes for lumberjack suspenders, and have joined battle with the stump.
Truth to tell it has turned out to be a larger project than I had initially envisioned, but, as they say, growing old is not for sissies, so the battle continues, notwithstanding occasional helpful comments along the lines of “for gawd sake, give it up and rent a stump grinder “, and a number of trips to the chiropractor.Ever so slowly, the stump is diminishing. Eventually, i will prevail.
As I chop, (did I mention that cherry is a very hard wood?) my thoughts sometimes turn to my fellow new retirees. As I mentioned in my valedictory newsletter, I share my retirement date with CBC’s long serving news anchor, Peter Mansbridge, and sometimes I wonder how he is handling his new idleness, and whether, like me, he has found a worthy project to occupy his time.
My project list also includes learning how to use one of those new-fangled smart phones, so, as soon as I learn how, I may send him a text :
“HEY PETER, YOU GOT STUMP?”