The sun is so bright on these crisp fall days. My garden bench 2014.
I awakened this morning wondering if I had plugged my iPad into its wall socket last night. I use the iPad everyday and charge it every night. I suspect others have a similar routine. These days, I am retired from the workforce, but having spent most of my working life using one form of electronic gizmo or other, using my iPad, laptop, or computer each day seems normal. It’s as if I never left work or school. Perhaps that’s the key to a happy retirement, to establish a routine that fills some basic need for order and continuity.
In the 1950s, I watched I Led Three Lives on TV. The protagonist had one life as a husband, one as a spy, and a day job that served as his cover. I led three lives also, one as a homemaker, one as a student, and one as an office worker. I enjoyed all three, and at different times one took precedence over the other two.
The first part of my adult life, until I was 28, homemaking was my main activity. A teenage mother, I had teen aged friends who married young and had children around the same time I did, one of whom, Sherry is a friend today.
Those were good days in many ways. We were a military family and we traveled. I raised three children to their tween years, learned to cook southern style, improved my sewing skills and made all my own clothes, including evening dresses, and raised a vegetable garden and canned and froze my summer produce. During this time, I held a series of part-time jobs outside the home to earn money to pay for school. After I turned 28, I did this while attending classes.
Toward the end of this period, I would rush home from school, turn on the TV and watch the Watergate hearings. Little did I know that a few years later I would work for the U.S. Congress.
One of my part-time jobs was in the college library, and when I wasn’t reading text books, I read inflammatory material like Simone de Bouvier’s Second Sex and Betty Friedan’s Feminine Mystique. (Years later, I met Betty Friedan and Margaret Mead at professional meetings in NYC and almost swooned.)
I have written elsewhere about my break with my early adult life. I am not going to repeat those posts. I figure if my kids and grandkids are curious, they will look for them. To me the past is a cancelled check. Let’s just say the Women’s Movement caught up to me.
My next life involved college where I worked on and completed several degrees while simultaneously working in an office and carrying out residual homemaker activities, albeit, sans husband and large garden and with teen age kids.
Because I was a teen age mom, I had never completed high school, so these degrees were major accomplishments for me.
Simultaneously, I held several jobs, at one point, three part-time jobs, while attending day and night classes. Eventually, I cut back to one full-time job and school. I never left school, completing my last graduate degree after I retired.
The entire time I was working in an office, I was working on one degree or other. My employer, AT&T, paid for my coursework, and let me work flexible hours. My oldest kids were in college by now. Those were good days.
In my late 40s, I retired from the Bell System, and went to work for the Census Bureau for several more years retiring from the government with 17 years service about 8 years ago.
Now after a busy “outside life” I am happy to have the time to read or reread all those books I accumulated over the years. Am never I bored. I can always find something to do as long as I remember to plug my iPad, computer and phone into their wall sockets. And yes, I have recipe books on my iPad because I still cook.