Even though I’ve talked about “having time” - I’m realizing how much it is about having energy. I did have time for myself before…but not always energy during that time. I was often brain-drained during the week from the multi-tasking, detail-oriented, and just demanding nature of the work. Saturated. Too many synapses firing. (Did I mention that I did conflict resolution/collaboration for environmental issues where federal agencies were involved? Enough said about the “demanding” part). And I was generally tired - worn down - from repetitive, unresolved work-place aspects that didn’t work for me.
That mental burnt-out created a physical drag. I was tired from keeping up. (And I’m single, no kids. I have NO idea how most others do it. I’m in awe of them - you?). So, I “wasted” a lot of time on weekends recuperating.
I also traveled quite a bit (for work and a couple personal trips a year) and that probably contributed. Almost always running up to a trip or re-grouping after - including a couple days of a little jet lag. Hard to settle, have a routine for any length of time. I probably was a little disconnected a good bit of the time.
Before, I kept up with priorities: work, travel, friends, family, a little exercise and household stuff like bill paying, grocery shopping and laundry. In the last couple weeks after retiring, when I have had nothing but time, I reconnected with many friends, slept, read, but got little else done because of low energy from the need to de-compress and recuperate.
And there is motivation to factor in. Seems as though I could – and still can – muster up the energy when I WANT to do whatever (or need to, because there are deadlines - with consequences - that make me “want to”.)
I’m sure there is a formula that could conjugate the Time/Energy/Motivation quotient for a given task or event or lifestyle or ... whatever. It would go something like this:
Some time + stress/burn-out = low energy - motivation + disconnectedness = the essentials get done and a lot of time is “wasted” recuperating
Shortly after retiring:
A lot of time - energy - motivation = a lot of reading, resting and socializing
What’s beginning to happen now (three weeks out):
- A lot of time - energy + motivation = energy kicks in and some things get done
- Little time (a deadline) = motivation = energy = essential tasks are slowly getting done
- A lot of motivation = energy = things get done no matter how much time there is.
I wish I was good at math so I could get all clever and create a formula that pulls these all together. But suffice it to say that having a balanced, meaningful and happy life is not all about “having time”. And then there is attitude to factor in.