I love being productive, when I can end a day tired but satisfied with what I've accomplished. When I look back at the days when the kids were all in school, my day looked something like this.
3:30 AM: Get up. Start washer and dryer, put away supper dishes, drink coffee, and get ready for work. Read a chapter of a book while folding the clothes that were in the dryer.
4:20 AM: Go to work. Trip takes 33 minutes. Allow extra seven minutes for emergencies such as flat tires, mountainous snow drifts, and having to stay in the car until “American Pie” stops playing on the radio or a chapter ends in an audio book.
5:00 AM – 1:30 PM: Work day job. Half hour lunch is long enough to return things to stores, pick up things at other stores, get caught by a train, and read another chapter while eating a hot dog from B & K.
1:30 PM: Go home from work. Trip often takes more than 33 minutes because other cars insist on using the road. Pick up things at the store I forgot to get at lunchtime.
2:05 PM – 4:15 PM: Put away the groceries I brought home. Reload washer and dryer and fold the clothes that were in the dryer. Drink coffee. Make the bed. Run the sweeper if the floor feels crunchy. Look at the can of Pledge in consternation, trying to remember why I bought it. Start supper, using mystery meat I defrosted in the microwave. Read a chapter while it’s defrosting. Fall asleep and wake up when Duane comes home. Feel guilty because the house is never clean enough.
5:30 PM – Pick up first child at practice. Five-mile round trip.
5:50 PM – Pick up second child at practice. Five-mile round trip.
6:20 PM – Pick up third child at practice. Five-mile round trip.
6:30 PM: Explain to children that it would be much easier if they all came home at the same time. They could do their homework while waiting for the last practice to end. Glare back at the resultant blank looks.
6:35 PM – 7:30 PM: Eat supper, drop off assorted children for evening activities. Go home and fall asleep during Jeopardy.
7:30 – 10:00 PM: Dry and fold more clothes, do supper dishes, stuff Pledge can behind everything else so that I can never find it again, notice there’s another Pledge can hidden in the same place. Shower and get ready for bed.
10:00 – 11:00 PM: Pick up children from wherever they’ve been dropped off, not getting out of the car because—didn’t I mention I was ready for bed?
11:00 PM: Go to bed. Intend to read another chapter. Don’t even get the book open. Regret never stopping to smell the roses everyone’s always talking about.
(I must admit that Duane did some of the hauling of kids, but since this is my whine here, I felt perfectly fine leaving that part out.)
My schedule is much different in retirement.
Somewhere between 5:30 and 7:30 AM: Get up. Put clothes in the washer. Go to office. Write. Or not. Play Solitaire. Or not.
9:30 AM or so: Eat breakfast. Put clothes in dryer.
10:00 AM – Noon: Write. Or not. Sew. Or not.
Noon – Eat lunch. Fold clothes and put them away.
12:30 – 2:00 PM: Do whatever I want. Fall asleep in the recliner.
2:00 – 11:00 PM: I’m not exactly sure what happens to the rest of the day, but it’s gone.
I also work part time, I volunteer, I belong to things. Much of the time, I’m busier in retirement than I ever intended to be. Productive? Not so much, and even though it’s taken me seven years to figure it out, that’s okay. Sometimes it’s enough just to smell the roses.