Day three of retirement, and we’re having Snowmaggedon, a Bomb Cyclone, or whatever catchy name they want to call a huge Nor’easter in New England.  Heavy snowfall, high winds that swirl like a hurricane.

(c) AdobeStock Photo

(c) AdobeStock Photo

A complete whiteout.

I couldn’t see outside.  I lost all sense of time.  Of place even.  It was like I had lost my rhythm.

Retirement’s created a sort of white-out too.  The rhythm built into my life has been interrupted.  And as much as I didn’t want to dance to that beat any more, I know I need some kind of rhythm.

How quickly should I establish one?  How do I know what it should be?  Should I move household chores from the weekends, or should I use the “workday” to work on my blog, podcast, and book?  So many questions.

I know if I’m not intentional about creating my own rhythm, it will end up happening anyway.  Others will try to make me fit into their rhythm, their agenda.  Or I’ll just start creating a habit out of what I do at first because we’re such creatures of habit.  We create habits so quickly.

So, as much as I’m resisting structure because my life’s been ridiculously structured, I know I need some.  And I want to create it, or it will just happen to me.

We all have these times in our lives, don’t we?  A new baby, kids move out of the house, a new project.  Something to upset our rhythm.  Something to create whiteout.

What do we do when that happens?  If we’re not careful, we drift into a new rhythm without even paying attention.  We don’t take time to think about how we want our life to work.  What structure will help us thrive and flourish.

After a few days of whiteout, I’m ready to build some structure.  A loose framework – with plenty of room to maneuver.  Then I’m going to regularly evaluate it to see if it’s really working for me.  After all, I’ve never had a choice as to when I did certain types of work.  So now’s a good time to learn from my body’s rhythms.

Is your rhythm working for you?  You may not have complete control over it, but you probably have more than you think.  You may switch when you do certain types of activities – if you have any control over your daily schedule.  Or, how about your morning routine?  What you do when you get home from work? Right before bed? Just spend a few minutes paying attention and see if it’s working for or against you.

Keep in mind that if you do decide to change it, you could find yourself slipping back.  Don’t worry.  Don’t beat yourself up.  Old habits die hard.  Just start again the next day.  Or minute.

Is there something in your rhythm that doesn’t feel like it’s meant to be your groove?  Share what you’d like to change in the comments.


Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Nancy Swanson

    Hey Kathleen,

    Before I retired (still don’t often admit it), I was working from home so the transition was fairly seamless. I tend to have “projects”… gardening, quilting, etc. And has you’ve said life gets interrupted… my Dad getting sick, planning a wedding, etc. Having time outside of work constraints makes it easier to adjust and go with the flow per se. You will find your rhythm before you know it.

    Enjoy reading your observations.


    • Interesting you’d talk about working from home as a transition to retirement, Nancy. I think one of the reasons this is hitting me especially is that I’ve not only been in the rhythm of going to the office, but also of traveling a lot. And as much as I wanted to be home so I could have a life, it is pretty sudden to just stop.
      I know I’ll figure it out. And I like your idea of creating projects with a timeframe. I think I’ll adopt that myself.

      • Nancy Swanson

        Totally can understand it has to be rather abrupt to all of a sudden not be going to the office. Being at home I could spend time getting basic household chores done during the day… throwing a load of laundry in etc. I figured it was fair since I wasn’t hang around the water cooler so to speak.

        The great thing on the project end of things is you now don’t have to cram them into a weekend. It’s easier to spread them out. My husband struggled at first spending an entire day doing something, now he realizes you don’t have to spend an entire day doing something and kill yourself. Better all around to pace yourself. It’s early in your transition, my guess you’ll find it liberating.