Uncork the champagne and get ready to celebrate!  Today marks the first anniversary of my retirement.  How’s it going?  Well, some of my plans came to fruition and some of them fizzled.  Overall, my job-free life has been full of surprises.  And the inner me has turned out to be someone I didn’t know quite as well as I thought I did.

Early on, I discovered that my authentic self cannot sleep in past 7:30.  Some days, she bypasses the shower and “goes commando.”  Her house and car are no cleaner than they ever were.  She eats out more than in, and has a fondness for hole-in-the-wall ethnic joints and food trucks.  She pledges allegiance to yoga, but has yet to sign up for a class.  The same is true of remedial obedience training for the dogs.  She wastes countless hours scrolling through FaceBook.  She put aside her disdain for TV and blew through seven seasons of The Mentalist in just seven weeks.  She dreamed of a blissful year of cross-country RV travel, but made it only as far as Chicago and Kelley’s Island before clicking the heels of her ruby slippers three times and hightailing it back to base homesick, exhausted, and ready to call it quits.

On the positive side, she has embraced regular meditation and prayer.  She lives in the moment and glories in simple pleasures, like watching the cream slowly diffuse into her morning coffee and sliding into bed between crisp, line-dried sheets.  She walks everywhere—for exercise, with her dogs, and on errands to the market, library, and post office.  She reads the paper, keeps up with the news.  Best of all, she writes.  She jumps at the chance to take classes and attend writing workshops.  She journals.  She composes poetry and short stories for her blog.  She hops out of bed and jots down words and ideas that bubble to the surface in the wee hours.  She submits to literary magazines and gets published. The biggest surprise was this card-carrying introvert’s eventual ease in reading before an audience, which began with an acute case of nerves at a local coffeehouse:


When I go on stage, I tell myself,
Slow down, honey, slow down.
My stomach folds in on itself,
Slow down, honey, slow down.
The room is dim, the spotlight bright,
A sea of faces waits, polite,
My head feels dizzy, my throat is tight–
Slow down, honey, slow down.

My heart is beatin’ double-time,
Slow down, honey, slow down.
I wish I’d picked a poem that rhymed,
Slow down, honey, slow down.
That cup o’ joe was a stupid plan,
I have palpitations and shakin’ hands,
And now I gotta use the can–
Slow down, honey, slow down.

I strive to moderate my pace,
Slow down, honey, slow down.
If I raise my eyes, I lose my place,
Slow down, honey, slow down.
I hear my voice miked way too loud
It booms above the gathered crowd,
Still, I did it!  And I feel so proud–
Don’t slow down, honey, don’t slow down.

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11 thoughts on “SO, AM I LIVING THE DREAM?

  1. Kathy November 29, 2015 / 8:01 am

    Joan, That was awesome!


  2. Laura November 29, 2015 / 9:47 am

    This was great Joan. Hope the 2nd year of retirement is just as good to you!


  3. khowardsblog November 30, 2015 / 9:18 am


    This is awesome as always. I think you have had a very successful first year of retirement, and everything is just as it should be. You have successfully done the most important things (the positive side) and added some pure pleasure things as well. I don’t know how it could get much better than that.

    Your poem sounds a lot like Dr. Martin’s rendition of “Jump back honey, jump back.” It is very cleaver and so cute! I love it! Well, enjoy your busy schedule and try not to work too hard…after all, you are retired now. Hope to see you soon. Lunch or dinner sounds great.

    Keep writing



    • Just Joan November 30, 2015 / 9:40 am

      Thanks, Karen. The poem, a parody of A Negro Love Song, was written as a thank you to Dr Martin and entered in a parody contest at his urging. Judging is still in progress.


  4. Ursula Kender December 6, 2015 / 2:40 am

    Happy Anniversary, of retirement that is. You do sound content and restless at the same time. Welcome to the real world.


  5. Lennon Carlyle March 23, 2016 / 5:47 pm

    Reblogged this on Fabulous With Glitches and commented:
    ~Reblogging~ A new friend….Do you ever stumble across someone that you have an immediate connection with? All Hale To Joan…love her style and have quite a few things in common with her. Check her out 🙂


  6. sonofabeach96 March 23, 2016 / 6:38 pm

    Nice to meet you! I’m sonofabeach96. I have to say, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this. More power to ya’ on the open mic thing. That’s one thing I doubt I’ll ever do. Wait…drunken karaoke doesn’t really count, right? 😃


    • Just Joan March 23, 2016 / 8:04 pm

      Nice to meet you, too. I can do poetry, but no singing, drunk or otherwise!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Anacrazyfuturewriter May 13, 2018 / 11:11 am

    Absolutely brilliant! Very relatable too… I remember the first time I went on stage, I froze entirely, and the crowd was only like like 20 people! The last line especially is spectacular… Honestly, “Honey”, never slow down. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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