Wednesday, November 11, 2015

The Best Laid Plans

The blog has been on hiatus for a while now. I noticed the last entry was a few days before CJ died. That could have something to do with it. I did some journaling this last year, trying to organize and make sense of this new life as a widow.

I miss CJ terribly, of course, and after 56 years of marriage, things are different. I didn't know at first how different. Not better, not worse, but in a way I felt like I had retired again. The first retirement was 14 years ago. I hadn't done much planning for either one.

Sure, I had checked and rechecked IRA's, other investments, insurance policies, all that boring trivia that keeps us going. I just had not planned what we, or I, would do with myself. But, as the saying goes, "Man plans, God laughs."

After the office retirement, I scheduled time for art, music lessons, swimming, exercise classes, book club, fancy cooking, gardening, sewing, all those things that had been on the to-do list for 20 years. We downsized houses, remodeled the new house and yard, spent more time at the lake. Spent more time with friends and relatives, traveled a bit. But, the biggest chunks of time were spent going to doctors.

Scheduling the appointments, allowing waiting time for each one, working out conflicts, filing insurance claims and arguing over details became a full-time job for long periods of time. We each had different doctors for each body part, and those parts began to wear out and needed repairs or replacement. Both of us with our graduate degrees had real difficulty making sense of the bills.

My filing system has evolved into a model of simplicity. Instead of stacking, sorting, and labeling the reams of paper by type, by patient, I now have a current file labeled "2015." When it gets too fat, I start another. At the end of the year they go in a box. A few go in a file for the accountant. The box goes on the closet shelf, like purgatory, for 3 years.

I'm still figuring out what this second retirement is about. I must make plans. I must make a "2016" file soon.

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