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Day By Day: Now that it looms, waiting for retirement is tedious

It is hard to think that we are almost halfway through the summer of 2012 -- that Booster Days, the Fourth of July fireworks and the Minnesota Orchestra have all come and gone. These rites of summer in Hudson used to be things not to be missed. These days, if I make it to one of the three I'm pleased.

But really I'm not. I think it has to do with this turning 60 thing. I haven't been in a very good mood since that happened. Of all the so-called milestone birthdays I've already experienced, none has hit me as hard as 60 -- it is the new nothing if not the biggest drag I have yet to learn to live with.

All kinds of things have happened since my birthday. I've developed an annoying pain in my right foot that comes and goes but mostly comes. I will see a doctor but I just know he is going to suggest something like orthotics or special shoes with plenty of support. What says old more than that?

The gym where I could go and usually have all to myself closed its doors -- not enough aging overweight types like me around I guess. I liked it there. The equipment and I were about the same age and there weren't so many mirrors or fitness freaks mugging in them. Everyone there knew to stay away from me when I exercised. It was only partially because I couldn't talk and work out at the same time without passing out. It was also because I just plain hated being there and sweating makes me exceedingly crabby. Kevin and I have joined the Y where the equipment is a lot newer and I will likely see more people I know so I will have to behave. Besides the Y has a pool and if there is one thing I can do, it's float!

The hardest thing to get used to is being this close to retirement but not being there yet! None of this would be so bad if I still didn't have to come to work on Monday morning or I got all the discounts. I was in the garden this weekend and it suddenly hit me that it is only a few years off. My first thought was about Sunday nights -- what it will be like when they are just like any other night and not filled with angst or stress about something I have to write or do?

I have enough retired friends to know that stress doesn't go away at 62 or 65 -- it's just that you don't have to take time off of work to make all those doctors' appointments. A lot of those friends appear busier in retirement than they did when they were hard at their careers. I'm not sure exactly what they are doing but I'm afraid I won't have enough to do. I'm not a woman with a lot of hobbies. I don't quilt or play cards or golf. I sort of like to cook but because I already eat too much, I'm thinking that's not something I should expand on in my golden years.

I was reminded of how little I do in the way of extracurriculars when I attended the wake for Tom Evenson, a man and a plumber everybody loved. As I waited my turn to talk with the family, it was clear that Tom was a man with a life with that was packed with things he loved to do -- from Booster ball to the Raiders chain gang to bowling and golf, and apparently plumbing. There were pieces of all those things set up all over the place. And while Tom left us way too soon, he obviously packed a lot of living into his 70 plus years.

I left there loving what I saw but also knowing that it won't be like that when I go. First off, I think I need to destroy every picture of myself ever taken with the exception of my seventh grade class photo -- no slide show of Meg from birth to whenever. They can put that seventh grade pic on top of the ashes.

I'm thinking Kevin and the kids could bring in bowls of my favorite chocolate stuff -- Snickers, Almond Joys and chocolate covered peanuts and maybe some wine. Would that count?

I guess they could bring in a remote control -- I have always watched too much television. And maybe a stack of "People" magazines for people to thumb through. I like that magazine because the articles are short and that's all I want to read about famous people. They are always the high point of a trip to the dentist's office. I was just too cheap to buy the thing when I was alive.

But I'm getting ahead of myself -- retirement first, then the hereafter, hopefully in that order.

Meg Heaton

Meg Heaton has been a reporter with the Hudson Star Observer since 1990. She has a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and Native American Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

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