By Judy Alter
Before I retired as director of a small academic press, I worried a lot about waking up in the morning, retired, and thinking, “What am I going to do all day?” As everyone told me, it has proven to be absolutely no problem. Some days I meet myself coming and going.
November 3 was an ordinary day after an extraordinary weekend with all sixteen of my family members and a lovely banquet one night. I slept until about eight, an indulgence I now allow myself. And mostly in the morning, I piddled–something as a compulsive, work-driven person I’d never learned to do or enjoy. I read the newspaper over a leisurely cup of coffee and a low-fat yogurt, then read e-mails. Because I belong to Story Circle Network and several branches of Sisters in Crime, I get a lot of e-mails–some I can read and delete, some are amusing, many informative, and I’ve learned a lot about the world of writing and publishing mysteries, a far different world from academic publishing I’ve done for most of my career. Household chores and yoga, and it was time for lunch with a friend. We talked politics after yesterday’s election (a big disappointment to both of us) and grandchildren and then we talked about her book recently published by TCU Press. We laughed over a “Congratulations” cookie she’d brought me, and I saw some good friends to stop and give a hug to.
Afternoon is my time to work–write, read, whatever needs to be done. In fact, I’m writing this in the afternoon. I often don’t write my blog until evening but today I knew what I wanted to write about–making and using pesto–so I did that. And had a nap–another retirement indulgence.
This evening: sushi with a friend. We go to dinner once a week, only occasionally talk in between, but we have the best time and more laughs at our dinners. And we choose upscale, down-home, whatever we feel like that evening. Tonight it will be our favorite sushi place, and I already think I’ll have a double order of salmon sashimi and a house salad–slightly sweet, which I usually don’t like, but I do like this one. Then I’ll come home and get a start on dinner for a friend who comes every Thursday for supper before the memoir class I teach; she’s a class member. The class will bring snacks and wine.
The remainder of the evening is wind-down time–check emails, read Facebook, read whatever I’m currently working on. Sometimes if I have a whole evening clear I write.
My days are full as I teach two memoir classes, until yesterday volunteered at a political campaign office, usually have lunch and sometimes dinner plans, and try to write the great American mystery in between, in addition to blogging and trying to establish my internet platform. Retirement is anything but boring.
Judy Alter is an award-winning author and retired publisher. She lives in Fort Worth, Texas, and is currently working on a cozy mystery. She is also the single parent of four and grandmother of seven.