My First Day of Retirement

I woke up early like I usually do. There’s something about the stillness that gets me up. After seven hours of sleep, I don’t need to lie down anymore (until my nap).

Around 7:00 AM, I biked to Quality Dairy to get some cash. I planned on treating myself pretty well and that would take moolah.

Marv picked me up for breakfast about 8:00 AM. He retired from teaching in Owosso over a decade ago. Even though he and Peggy were leaving on a vacation that day, he offered to take me out to breakfast, so I suggested Golden Harvest in Lansing. The place has its lessons to teach: patience (be prepared to wait), accepting differences, listening while still looking around at all the crazy stuff on the walls, and appreciation for good food presented in an aesthetically pleasing manner. We only waited 10 minutes outside, but the food took over 45 minutes to come…but that’s okay since I am retired. And with a friend. I had a simple French toast, hash browns, and bacon meal (all favorites of mine) and loved it.

Here’s a link to a photo I took of Golden Harvest (that’s Marv coming out the door).

To understand my next activity, you need to know that we had been away over the long weekend. And that even before we left, the grass needed mowing.

So, yes, I mowed the grass on my first day of retirement. The grass was dry nice and early in the day and I zoomed through it. It always feels satisfying to complete a task and it was as close to “work” as I was going to get that day.

I had just enough time to take a shower and get to the highlight of my day: a full body massage. If you’ve had a massage, you may understand why I was looking forward to it so much. It’s a chance to relax, to be pampered, and to slow down. Kathie Kuhn knows what she’s doing…and she helps me be in the moment and chill out to the max.: the soft, Japanese music; choices of a variety of essential massage oils; her caring questions about what areas I needed her to focus on; her gentle, slow attention to those areas; the minimal, though personal, conversation; and unique uses of a couple, delicate, percussive instruments. It all combined to leave me pretty damn blissful. As a matter of fact, the last part of the massage ended up being my nap for the day. Bonus!

Sure, I did other things that day (a spontaneous tuna macaroni lunch at Foods for Living, continued reading Taylor Mali’s Bouquet of Red Flags poetry, and listened to a bunch of James Taylor), but that massage was what I remember most. I left it thinking that if everyone had a massage once a week and a nap daily, the world would be a better place. It’s going to be a difficult task, but I hope to make that change in the world before I leave. Any suggestions or help, should be directed to

P.S. As you can see, I made it a relaxing, fun day. It was also a nostalgic, difficult day. I found myself texting several former colleagues to keep in contact. It’s hard to have less contact with people I consider good friends. I’m sure I’ll keep in touch with many of them and that day I needed to check in. No tears were shed, but I will miss the daily banter and the supportive atmosphere.

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