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The Villages
Monday, September 27, 2021

Filling up those hours of retirement

Lisa DeMarco

I never realized how long 24 hours a day could be until I realized I had absolutely nothing to do. I could honestly say that I have been so regulated to follow a schedule – some kind of schedule for the last fifty or so years of my life. Now, with Grace and Glory, I am free to occupy my time in whatever fashion I choose. Yet, instead of simply enjoying it, the fact is, it is more chaotic than my usual chaos.

Learning to just “BE” is a lot harder than it sounds. Especially when running around in perpetual motion is what you do. I am in my “happy place” when I am serving others and being productive. 

My Joey, it’s the exact same way. Unfortunately, the two of us now home alone with nothing that NEEDS to be done is unacceptable. Nearly 30 happy years together, and we have successfully always worked opposite shifts. Now we find – especially with our grandson, Jeremy, back in school – and out of the house for 9-hours a day, Joe and I need to find something to do for at least another 15-hours a day. Sure we sleep at least five or six hours, but do the math?! That leaves at least 8 to 10 hours a day that is still unaccounted for. My dear, loving husband has already realized that tallies up to far too many hours alone with me daily. “Absence makes the heart grow fonder” has always been a motto that worked for us. Therefore despite our plans to retire my apron and his bar keys, “Joey D” is back in service! 

Barely a month into retirement, and he has already chosen to go back to work.  Yes, he will have rings on his fingers and bells on his toes, I might add. Why? Because he loves me enough to know that it is in his best interest to find some form of outside activities to keep our relationship balanced.  We like to believe that this will ensure we genuinely appreciate our time together by not overdoing it all at once.

Joey used to joke around with my old bosses that he paid them to keep me employed, at least in a part-time status. This way, I had the chance to share all my fabulous personalities with anyone other than only him.  According to Joey, he has already identified at least ten different characters sharing space inside my head. 

Number one, of course, is the perfect ME. The gal he fell in love with at first sight. #2 is the fun girl. #3 is a great cook. #4 is the hopeless romantic. #5 is the nursemaid. #6 is the compulsive cleaner. #7 is the mother hen. #8 is the control freak. #9 is the Jersey girl (sailor’s mouth included), and #10 we won’t even mention. 

Although my hubby is a “Mixologist” by trade, even he knows certain concoctions are just too dangerous to play with. So, having me all to himself for almost a whole month, he has already decided to abandon ship and swim to shore. He feels it’s safest to leave me on the boat to micromanage myself in whatever OCD fashion I choose. With that, I guess I can try to be the “good, little Stepford Wife” for a while. 

I don’t mind waking up at 7 am (instead of 5:30 am), and I will gladly serve my husband freshly brewed coffee each morning.  I will also gladly prepare him and Jeremy a delicious healthy breakfast every day before sending them both off on their way. Funny,  now I can actually say, “I serve the same people every day.” In my pajamas, no less! 

As for Joey, although you will not find him wearing his “ever-so-appealing” gold suspenders like he wore while working in the Village’s Brownwood Square. You might catch him looking his very best behind some bar near the Bradenton area?! 

I know I am impartial, but he is looking pretty good for a proud AARP member. He is sporting a great tan, a clean haircut, and a new starched and pressed uniform. If I didn’t know any better, I’d swear he was on his way to his first day of Prep School. Meanwhile,  I hate to admit it; I look like the “empty nest mom” still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up? So far, all I can really be sure of is that I am getting OLD!

Laugh on. Peace out.

Lisa DeMarco is columnist for Villages-News.com

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