Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Going back to my hobbies

Now that I have a lot of time in my hands, I have dusted off the boxes containing my Japanese origami paper dolls, with the intention of continuing where I left off, 9 years ago. I even registered with Flickr's origami group, took photos of the remaining dolls and greeting cards, and uploaded them in my photostream. My origami books are still on the shelves but I have to retrieve all my "washi" papers (my Japanese son-in-law once said I wouldn't be able to use all of them in my entire lifetime) from the storage boxes. And I have to unload the piles of books and training materials sitting on my work table and find a place for them in the other cabinets and shelves.

I have also made acquaintance again with my stamp collection, started when I was still single, way back in the late 60s. Whenever I got new stamps, I just shoved them into this huge box and never had the time to organize them. Now I have the time and even registered in one of the existing stamp exchange networks. I am now being flooded with requests for Thai and Southeast Asian stamps from all over the world!

I have got to prepare for my teaching assignments this month and next, so I have to allocate time for that too. If I'm not careful, I will end up complaining about not having any time, after having celebrated my retirement and saying I have all the time in the world. Oh well! Here I go again!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Had I known that retirement would be enjoyable, I would have retired earlier. No more waking up early, no more meetings, no more "earth-shaking" decisions to be made, no more rushing in airports and living in hotels! I'm free!

After having worked for 40 years of my life, you'd think I would be at a loss as to what to do with all the time that I have now. Not so! Because all the time is MY TIME now and I can do whatever I want to do with it. That is such a liberating feeling.

Of course, I still teach and do consultancies occasionally, but only when I choose to do so. Otherwise, time is spent being quality controller, inventory manager and all-purpose assistant of our youngest daughter (whose on-line wholesale garments business is run from the house), making my origami handicrafts, playing my favorite computer games, communicating with friends, reading, enjoying music, walking around - the possibilities are endless!

After having my last major surgery (multiple bypass) in late 2006, I now look at things in a different light. There is beauty in simple, ordinary things. I have tremendous patience and don't stress easily now. What happened to the hyperactive Teng? She's still there, but the "hyper" has been toned down. You can say, she has mellowed with age. There have been other changes too. Whereas before, exercise was not in my vocabulary, it is now a must, albeit only brisk walking (following my cardiologist's instructions). The downside is that I am not allowed to dance for more than 10 minutes. What a change for the former "Disco Queen"!

Retirement means sitting back, relaxing, enjoying life in general and reminiscing about both the good times and the bad, the "what ifs", past glories and embarassments, far-off relatives and old friends, and chuckling at some of life's ironies. But most of all, doing the things one had postponed to do, when one was busy working, and relishing every minute of the time we spend with our family.