Looking back on about three months of working for myself, I've been more aware and more intentional about what my desires are each day. I've become a fairly good estimator, too, about which and how many tasks are going to fit into each day - down to what kind of energy I'll likely have late evening after getting the kids to bed.
Complice prompts me "Is this enough?" at the daily outcome reflection level. I've been predominantly marking "yes" in the conventional "did I meet my sprint goals" sense. I haven't had too many "doing" (vs being) intentions, either: being who I want to be, in relationship to myself and the people I'm connected to, has been enough. But in the last few weeks I've had to downscale my momentum further in supporting remote school and, dear reader, I've started to feel that urge for greater traction.
I might call it a sense of urgency, even. But I think it's more accurately described as momentum: that sense that each day moved something on my path forward a bit. Several recent days have felt purely reactive. Filled with supporting others and the random overhead tasks of life (e.g. iridotomies, not just taking out the trash), I don't put a me-task on the slate for the day. It's not bad or un-fun, either! I like being present for my kids as they learn and grow. I feel some fulfillment enabling my wife to both work and get a master's degree currently, especially after all the time we spent in more traditional household gender roles. I can just tell, though, that this isn't the fullness of what I'd be content with indefinitely.
So when folks ask "What's it like to be retired?" I laugh and say that I don't know. It has felt like a bit of a summer break, I suppose - perhaps I still have a sense of that cadence even though it's been a few decades since that was my life rhythm. Perhaps that's throwing the last few weeks into relief more, with the rest of my family ramping up in the September "back to school" season and now it feels like I'm not sure what I'm playing hooky from but musn't there be something?
I'm sensing that there's a minimum "me time" that I'm missing here - and that I don't need to impose on others to get it. I've managed to "do something" exercising my body for about 98 of the last 100 days. Analogously, I think the keystone here is a habit of reflective awareness - call it the daily review, meditation, "quiet time", there's something about keeping up with my own self here. Making the space to do the inner work to continue in conscious evolution rather than building up "debt" of... mental integration? Much like tech debt or regular monetary debt, it smells like keeping up with my feelings, or my experiences, or my awareness of my intentions. It feels like the same kind of debt we can trigger when we run ourselves ragged and get trapped in the "too tired to take proper care of ourselves, just numb with Netflix or doomscrolling instead, and we fall further behind" trap. I think there's a "it's costly to be poor" dynamic there.
It's not that I have too many commitments. What I just saw was that I was mixing up my "personal processing" work with my "feel productive" work and, when I paused the latter, missed the former. Maybe. I'll try to test that out!