Retirement Anyone?

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“Wholeness does not mean perfection … it means embracing brokenness as an integral part of life.”
Parker J. Palmer
On the Brink of Everything

Our move last fall into a townhouse has changed my life in many ways … some good, some not so good.  But I prevail and am not allowing the chronic pain that began during that challenging time to take over my life. After working my way through two orthopedists and a neurologist who didn’t help much, I’m back to my usual “fringe medicine” ways of taking care of myself.

I’m working with a physical therapist, a chiropractor, and doing egoscue. Several months ago I joined our local YMCA and am working on getting there three times a week to use the recumbent bike and the indoor track. My workouts are short, but get a few minutes longer each time I go. I’m feeling much less pain now and plan on going back to my favorite yoga class in the next month. I also plan to in the future to try water aerobics and get back to pilates.

I’m not sure that the pain will ever completely go away. Some say that with time it will, but I’ll not count my chickens just yet. I’m in pain management mode and we’ll see what happens.

The other very helpful thing I’m doing is taking CBD oil twice a day. It not only helps to control the pain, it also helps to reduce my anxiety which has been a life long problem. It’s an oil made from cannabis flowers and is lacking the element that gives you a high and is not addictive.  It is legal here in Virginia and is getting great press all over the country for those with cancer and helps people who suffer from seizures. 

As a result I’m much more relaxed and find it easier to accept my health issues and aging dilemmas. That alone is a major change in the way I spend my days. All of the things I thought I’d get done in the last few months including getting back to writing are still on my to-do list and are slowly getting done, but now when I feel I need to take a nap I just do it without feeling guilty or anxious that I’m not completing the tasks on that list. 

This relaxed way of being is what I’ve been longing for all along.  Before our move I was on my way toward being more mindful, listening to my body, and taking care of it. But the move crushed the boundaries I’d built up to protect myself and once again I became a raging Type A, insane workaholic, bashing myself to death for not being able to do the amount of work I used to do.

My anxiety was off the charts. I was holding myself to very high standards and expecting the same from others.  Bill was exhausted from the move and couldn’t keep up with me and my perfectionist ways.  The boat was rocky for a while, but we’re happily enjoying life again and feel the move was necessary and well worth the struggles.

I recently proclaimed that I’m officially retiring. That means no more speeding through my days. I’m allowing myself plenty of time to swing in a hammock, read a book, write a story, make art, be grateful, and simply enjoy every single day for its gifts.

I may swing back and forth occasionally and become crazed with anger and impatient with the ways of this very frightening world.  It takes a lot of practice, but it’s a process well worth the effort and brings me peace and lots of hope.


  1. Good for you, Joan. May you continue to live as a “human being.” —- There’s a reason we’re not called “human doings.”

    • Joan Rough says:

      Thanks, Janet. I’ve been a human doing for too long. Have been thinking about our get together in Chincoteague lately. Miss you and the others!

  2. Joan, I’m sorry to hear about the chronic pain, but glad to hear how you’re managing it. My thoughts and prayers are with you. Enjoy your retirement!

    • Joan Rough says:

      I appreciate your best wishes, Saloma. Sounds like you’re having a good time in the valley.
      We’ll have to meet up one these days. Lunch in Staunton? Maybe Shirley would come too!

  3. Joan — A great big, hearty YAAAAAAY for you!

    • Joan Rough says:

      And YAAAAAAY!! to you too for your new book and all the hard work you’re doing! I appreciate your cheering me on!

  4. It sounds like egoscue (never heard of it) will help rescue you from life going askew. Ha!

    Our move sent me into a tizzy for awhile too because we had been in the same house for 37 years. Even easy-going Cliff felt off balance for months. I’m glad you are getting used to life in the slower lane.

    • Joan Rough says:

      Yes, moving is a pain in the you know what. I can’t imagine what it was like after being in one place for 37 years. Moving as often as we do makes us purge more often.

  5. Bring on the CBD oil! 🙂 Sounds wonderful.

    What we have, if we can only help ourselves enjoy it, is “time affluence.” That phrase, that I picked up yesterday, resonated with me. It takes so long to get old patterns, based on scarcity, out of the system. Sounds like you and Bill are well on the way to letting go.

    • Joan Rough says:

      Thanks, Shirley. I think we are getting close. Bill is finally getting rid of a few things he refused to let go when we moved. There is just no room for them here.

      Let’s get together sometime! Are you home for a while??

  6. Bravo, Joan for doing what you need to do and with such style and grace! Enjoy your newfound freedom.

    • Joan Rough says:

      Thanks, Kathy, for your Bravo. You deserve a Bravo too for getting your second book ready to go out into the world. I hope all is well with you and yours! I think of you often.

      • I’m with you all the way. Can’t walk by myself and have to go to hemodialysis three times a week but I’m relatively pain free and retirement appears to be the best time in my life.