What do you do on rainy days? Do you take the opportunity to slow down? Several years ago I made the decision that rainy days would be my day off. A day off from retirement? Sounds crazy, but it works for me.
The Luxury of Time
When I retired several years ago, I enjoyed the unlimited time stretching in front of me. I had not had the luxury of time since college. I reveled in my free time. I binge watched HGTV and movies. I read every book I could and filled my Kindle and my bookshelves with more just waiting to be read. I discovered podcasts and audio books and listened to them when I could not hold a book or Kindle.
I stayed up late and slept in. I ate when I wanted. Lunch at 3:00 in the afternoon? Sounds good to me. Morning shower at noon? OK! No makeup, third-day jeans, house shoes, stained but comfy tee? Count me in.
Like all excessive things, the novelty of this soon wore thin. I realized I needed some structure to my now unlimited time. And this is the story of why my Rainy Day holidays began.
I always hated to go to work on rainy days, or icy days, or dark and dreary days. I had a deep and visceral conviction that rain and other inclement weather were designed to tell us to take a rest, to slow down. Of course, reality dictated that I had to go to work on these days. I had a living to earn and mouths to feed and a home to maintain, etc., etc. So every weekday morning I got up, got ready, and got on my way to work regardless of the weather. Weekends were only slightly slower with clothes to wash, a house to clean, family time, church, and fun to squeeze in.
I always felt like I was running. I always felt like I was behind. I always felt tired. I never felt like I got to do things to give me pleasure.
When I retired I decided I would stroll, not run. I was determined to sleep at night and nap in the afternoons. I planned to do the things I never had time to do when I was working. I decided to put aside clocks and calendars.
This is when the novelty of time began to wear thin. I discovered that, without a schedule, I am a very lazy person. I either have a lot to do or I do nothing at all. I got bored with being retired. Not bored enough to return to work, but certainly bored enough to make some changes.
It seems I can do nothing in bits and pieces. I went from full stop to full speed ahead. We remodeled our house. I embarked on a period of being involved in two book clubs, a garden club, the library board, the museum board, the community theatre board, church trustees, hospital council, community leaders partnership, the Chamber of Commerce, a summer stock theatre production, and the list goes on. Later, I also became a grandmother and recently I started this blog. I still have to clean house and do laundry. My days are packed!
To be fully productive I have found that I need to manage my time. Otherwise, I get sidetracked by interesting things: books, movies, internet articles, online shopping. I am like the dog in the movie “Up!” Squirrel! (You must watch this movie!) See! There I go again. Distracted.
Anyway, back to time management.
I use both a paper calendar and an electronic one. This calendar stays on the kitchen counter so my husband knows at a glance where I am likely to be at any given time. I use the calendar on my iPhone and iPad to keep handy as I flit from place to place and meeting to meeting. I enter plans as they are made so I don’t forget.
I love the look of a full calendar so I block out time for everything on my electronic version. Laundry? On the calendar. Blog time? On the calendar. Travel time to orthodontist? On the calendar. Everything, even meals, is blocked on my calendar. When I say my days are packed I mean it literally, visually, and electronically.
So where do rainy days come in? Am I off the track again? Not really. Rainy days came in because I got as tired of being scheduled as I got of being lazy. I told you I can’t seem to do just a little bit of anything.
I realized early on into my time of being busy that I needed some down time. I also knew myself well enough to know that I should schedule it in or it wouldn’t happen. So, I declared (officially and finally) that rainy days and other inclement weather days will be my days off from retirement. They are my days to slow down.
Time to Slow Down
What do I do on my Rainy Day holidays? I don’t do anything on my schedule if I can help it. There are always exceptions; I do have to keep appointments I have made and sometimes I am forced by circumstances to do laundry. (I don’t wear fourth-day jeans. One must have standards.)
Usually, I have a leisurely morning coffee time and breakfast. I read. I watch movies, preferably old ones. I stare out the window at the rain and let my mind wander. I regroup and refresh. I set no goals. No tasks are performed. No projects are done. I simply enjoy the luxury of time.
I try to limit these slow downs to one day at a time. We are in the middle of a rainy period right now and yesterday was my official Rainy Day holiday. Today, I am sitting at my desk in the early morning writing this blog and watching sprinkles make waves with the leaves of the crepe myrtle outside my window. The squirrel who visits me in these early morning writing hours has returned to his nest to stay dry. The birds have had breakfast and retreated into their own nests. I am cozy in my writing nest with a hot cup of coffee refreshing me as needed.
I have slowed today, the second day of rain, but I have not stopped as I did yesterday.
Why do we need these times? Because we all need time to rest. We need time to step back from our crazy schedules, our scurrying around, our daily chores, our electronic obsessions. We need to set our creative powers free and we can only do that when we have cleared the decks, emptied our minds, refreshed our bodies. We need to take a deep breath and close our eyes.
Much like the old Etch-a-Sketch toys, we can only create something new when the old has been shaken off.
I use my rainy day holidays to do just that. I shake off the busyness and clear out the old so I am refreshed to pick back up with my busy schedule. I get the best of both of my extremes this way. I stay busy, happy, and productive. I slow down, rest, and refresh.
How do you use rainy days?
The links shown are affiliate links to products I like and use or want. I hope you like them, too. Please see my full disclosure policy here.