October 17, 2018

Counting the Cans

The View from My Hill


I retired last week.

Been waiting to say those four words for a few years now. I know someone who swore the last two years before her retirement were the most difficult to get through. She said she was cranky every single work day leading up to the momentous day. I definitely can relate to that statement.

For two long years now, I have been counting down the days until my retirement. Not only the days, but the weeks. The number of holidays, the numbers of vacation days. The number of Mondays. Any which way one can count down time, I have been doing it.

I even counted the number of tuna sandwiches left until retirement. My spouse makes the best tuna fish in the world. Hands down, my favorite kind of sandwich, and one that she would make not often enough. But to get me to go to work with just a little enthusiasm in my soul, she started making those tuna sandwiches for Monday’s lunch – and thus began the tuna fish can countdown. It started at 20 weeks. There must have been a 10 for 10 sale at the grocery store because she bought 20 cans of tuna, and each week, as my incentive to drag my butt out the door and go to work, she mixed up the contents of one of those little cans with some mayonnaise, sometimes adding a bit of relish, a dash of pepper and a shake of salt and sent me on my not so merry way. We told the story to many friends and family; even our financial advisor got word that I was counting the cans. Indeed, instead of asking me how many weeks I had left until I retired, people would ask me how many cans left.

So now I don’t have any more cans, but I do have time. I have time to make a dentist appointment for the middle of the day. I have time to go out to lunch with my daughter. I have time to get a stack of books from the library, and finish most of them before they are due.

I have time to research and try new recipes and plan my Thanksgiving menu a full month before the big day. And now I will have time to put more thought into Christmas, a holiday that I once loved, but in recent years it seemed to be another chore to get done. Already I am planning to make some decorations using more natural ingredients than those I have purchased at big box stores in years past. I may even make my own wreaths this year, something I have always wanted to do. And I hope to shop at smaller, locally owned stores.

Time is on my side now. And I want to slow it down. No more count downs. Most likely, I will still want a tuna fish sandwich every week. But instead of packing it into a lunch bag to go to work, a picnic basket will be just fine.


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