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-4 + 4 Weeks: Buds and Blossoms and End of the Line #retirement #cats #thelastManicMonday

My husband doesn’t like my math. He’s argued that, with respect to a countdown, this should be week 1, not week 0. But it is the week in which I become untethered, set adrift. To me, it’s a 0.

In a perfect world, it would be a relaxing week, the last three-and-a-half days of employment spent tidying up my desk (or my desktop as it is), having casual chats with coworkers over Microsoft Teams, skipping down memory lane during a phone call or two. But we all know it’s not a perfect world.

I will spend most of my remaining days in meetings, either assisting in kickstarting new assignments or transitioning old assignments to new people. I will likely put in a bit more than my regular hours, but will stop on Thursday shortly after my surprise retirement party.

By the way, if you want to surprise someone with a retirement party, do not display “Marie’s Retirement Party” on your Outlook calendar, especially since Marie is often responsible for setting up meetings and, thus, is likely to see it.

About noon, I will shutdown my laptop, gather it and all its necessary peripherals and make the commute that I haven’t had to make in almost a year.

With any luck, the only person I will see at the office will be D. to whom I’ll hand over the state government property and engage in a brief exit interview. Then, weather permitting, I plan to take a walk around the ponds and see if there is any trash to pick up.

After that, who knows?

Well, I do know that I’ll be studying iPhone photography again, tending to my plants, and taking walks in my neighborhood and beyond. For now, there’s plenty catching my eye around my hood, starting with my front yard which hasn’t been mowed in months. (Greg wants to sweep for insects before he mows.)

Some might call this delicate flower a weed but I call it … a delicate flower.

Our azaleas are starting to bloom but in fits and starts. We’ve never taken the time to shape our azalea bushes as some do. They’re a bit scraggly right now but only for now.

A nearby neighbor’s Dogwood is in partial bloom. Years ago I was driving along a road lined with Dogwoods in full flower, all snowy white and surreal. This Dogwood has a ways to go, but it’s early yet.

Now, if anyone knows what the bush below is, please tell me in the comments! I think it’s gorgeous but I don’t know what it is.

I suppose since it’s on the street side of the fence, I could steal a snip and take it to my local nursery for ID. But I’d rather not. Usually there’s two yappy dogs in that yard. They put up a ruckus even when I’m way over on the other side of the street. I hate to think what noise they’d make if they saw me so close to their fence.

The next few days will be an emotional roller-coaster. We weren’t able to hire a replacement for me so I’ll be feeling some guilt at leaving my staff with no buffer between them and “the boss.” I know that guilt will leave me as soon as I leave the office building for the last time, but I have to get there first.

My staff are a tight team, dedicated, creative, and industrious. They will be fine. And I will miss them. These last few months as their section administrator was the first time in a very long time that I felt part of something, that I felt I was really making a difference, maybe not so much in the world of public health, but at least in the work lives of these truly wonderful people.

So I do feel some sadness at leaving and a part of me is wishing I wouldn’t leave, that I could stay and shepherd them a while longer. But I’d be breaking my commitment to my husband if I did that. What makes me truly sad is the knowledge that no matter how much my staff feel they need me (maybe not me personally, but the constancy, the continuity of my presence), I just don’t have the mental and emotional will to carry these responsibilities much longer. I’m not a weak person. I’ve proven that.

I just don’t like my job. It’s nothing personal, nothing to do with my staff as I obviously think the world of them. It hit home a few days ago when I was revising the job announcement for my position. I realized that I never would have applied for such a job and yet here I was, doing exactly what I had intended not to do.

And then there’s my husband who’s willing to live as simply as we need to in order for me to retire. Gotta love that guy. And this guy:

That’s right, folks! Time for a Raji update. As you can see, he’s become rather relaxed around us. He drives our other cats crazy during feeding time because he paces and rubs against each of them! He has no fear. Whenever Maxine or Wendy slap at him, he looks at them like, “What? Don’t you find me cute and adorable?”

Raji and Junior are now pals, chasing each other up and down the hallways. At some point over the past week, Junior’s bullying turned into playing. I believe Raji has helped Junior to discover his inner kitten.

My dear friends, thank you for reading. Thank you for still visiting me although I haven’t been visiting you. I might be soon set adrift (in a good way) from my job, but you all keep me moored. Love you to the moon and back. Stay safe, well, and embrace happiness.

Categories: Cats Nature

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Marie A Bailey

Writer, blogger, knitter, cat lover, and introvert.

22 replies

  1. Even though you don’t enjoy your job retirement may take some getting used to…it took me several months before the “new normal” was established and I finally felt at ease with a less structured existence in which my role was less clearly defined. But don’t worry, there’s a whole new world out there, just waiting to be discovered, once you’ve turned your back on your old life. Enjoy!

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    1. Thank you for sharing your experience. I’ve often said that I’ll have no problem down-shifting into retirement, but, you’re right, I can already feel it is going to take some adjustment. But it’s an adjustment I look forward to πŸ™‚

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  2. Ugh…the dreaded retirement party. I will never forget driving with my father to his party. He said he felt like he was driving to his funeral. There were over 300 people and he had to get up and make a speech. That is not my kind of party. I think that’s a Chinese Fringe Flower bush. They are beautiful!

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    1. Thank you, Jill. Another friend of mine also identified the bush as a Chinese Fringe Flower. Cool! Fortunately, there were maybe 25 people at my Microsoft Teams party (it was remote) and most of those people left early because they didn’t know me (the problem with email distribution lists ;)). It wound up being fun. I work, that is, worked with some very creative people πŸ™‚

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  3. Good luck with your last few days of work, Marie! And it sounds like you really like your team, so I’m sure the “surprise” party will be enjoyable, too. Raji looks so relaxed, and how wonderful is that?!
    All those flowers are so beautiful–it looks like spring is in full swing there!

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    1. Thank you, Merril! Spring is coming along here, nice and slow. We’re still having cool to cold temps, keeping the azaleas from blossoming all at once. I just can’t say enough how fortunate we are with Raji. He and Junior play together! Will wonders never cease πŸ˜‰

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  4. By the way, if you want to surprise someone with a retirement party, do not display β€œMarie’s Retirement Party” on your Outlook calendar, especially since Marie is often responsible for setting up meetings and, thus, is likely to see it. 😁 πŸ˜†πŸ˜ πŸ˜† So true!
    Thank you for the beautiful photos of flowers! Spring feels like a different country right now. But we’re getting there!

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    1. Not only did they give it away on the calendar, but people started emailing me to say “Congratulations! Sorry I won’t be able to make it to your party.” LOL. It worked out very nicely and I think the organizers were actually relieved when I told them I knew. And thank you for your kind words about my photos. I hope Spring shows up for you soon! It has to at some point πŸ˜‰

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  5. When I retired, exactly one year ago, I was soooooooooooo done with my job, there was no loss involved in leaving. 15 years of stress were replaced with the knowledge for at least the next six months I would be able to do absolutely whatever I wanted with my time. That six months stretched to eleven months before I got a part-time job working for a different state agency — work necessary to supplement my pension. In this new job, the stress is almost non-existent.

    One of the things I wish I hadn’t done is this … I’ve somewhat stayed involved in the drama and trauma of the old place. Via on-going conversations with former co-workers who are still there, I’ve continued to be sucked into all of the things that are just fundamentally wrong about the place. It has started to reduce recently, but there are still a few people I talk to regularly and the conversation regularly turns to “this person got fired, this is what they’re doing now, how can they do that?”

    Don’t be like me. πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, that will be the challenge because there are people I’m very fond of. I’ve always liked being a sounding board; all I do is listen because I have no power and authority to do anything else. For some of my coworker friends, that’s all they want, just to vent. So we’ll see. If all they do is talk about work, then that’s when I know we have nothing in common and it’s time to fade away πŸ˜‰

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  6. I felt the same about the people that reported to me on my last assignment. People are people, and once I was gone, the relevance in their lives faded. I think the same will occur with you even though you would hope it wouldn’t. When you leave the building, my advice is to not look back since the mere fact you are gone changes everything. Best wishes on your new life.

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    1. Thank you, John, for your sage advice. I noticed it when my supervisor left. She was mentioned a couple of times in meetings and that’s was it. We were too busy to reflect on the fact that she was gone. No doubt it will be the same with me. They’ll quickly forget because they’ll be too busy to remember. Funny story: I had to return to my building twice. The first time to return my badge, laptop, keyboard, mouse and power cords (I’d been working from home). I was so relieved that I was able to get in and out and only see the person I needed to see. But the next day, I realized I had also turned in the power cord to my monitor! So I had to call and arrange to go back and pick it up. Fortunately, since I had turned in my badge, my coworker had to meet me outside. That experience felt more surreal than when I turned in my equipment. I realized then I had already started to let go, although I didn’t want to let go my monitor’s power cord πŸ˜‰

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  7. Marie, I’m beyond excited for you. And you are correct on your math (starting with 0, I can tell you work with computers. :)). But seriously, I know that you will absolutely flourish in your new world of retirement! Congratulations and enjoy all of that extra Raji-petting time.

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    1. Thank you, Phillip! I’m so glad you agree with my math πŸ™‚ I haven’t done much in the three full days I’ve been retired, but I feel like I’m flourishing πŸ™‚

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  8. “…yet here I was, doing exactly what I had intended not to do.”
    If it’s any consolation, there’s more of us in that position than you might think…and not for lack of being pro-active in trying to change it. So, I at least, ‘get it’.

    I’m thrilled for your launch into a ‘new’ world!

    Looks like Raji is anxiously awaiting your transition into a more pronounced presence in his daily life…HA!

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