A journal of healing

Archive for the ‘old age’ Category

Pulling the trigger

I pulled the trigger. I started the timer. I made a difficult decision with no going back. I put in my papers to retire. It still has not hit me that in three weeks, I will not be working. It was not as easy a decision as one would think because it is so final. But it is done!

I have worked my entire adult life. I actually started working as a nanny and babysitter when I was only 11. I worked summers until I was 15 and then went to work in retail. I never stopped working. In 1986, I was downsized and worked on my house for four months. I got up every day and painted, scraped and papered. Again in 2002, I spent three months doing the same thing on this house while I looked for a new job. Looking for a new job is a fulltime job in itself.

But this time, it was on my terms to leave and I am not going to another job, nor am I going to go crazy looking for another job. I am being careful not to say I won’t ever work again, because I am not sure of that. I plan on spending the next few months in an effort to clean out this house and that is going to be a lot of work all in itself. I also will not have to drive in the snow and I can take naps.

The stress of working in healthcare is not for the week of heart. There are so many regulatory changes coming down that it makes it almost impossible for an agency to be successful. The agency I work(ed) for has not prepared for the new requirements that need to be trained and enforced in less than a month. The agency lost over 4.7 million dollars so far this year. They are bragging because it was less than the 5.2 million they lost last year, but they have not done the year end and I am sure it will be just as bad. They fired one executive in an attempt to lower their costs two weeks ago. “She was paid way more than she was worth.”

I oversaw three big divisions of the agency. When I started, I only had two. One was a brand new division. Then I got another one and now, I have to laugh, they are going to divide my work load back amongst three people. That makes me smile. But what is even better is that these three treated me like crap. They are young and on the rise in the agency. Now that they are seeing the workload and responsibilities, they are my best friends and so super sweet. Gack! One of them has a millennial ego and was so cock sure she would be able to do a better job. Now that she is seeing it for what it is, she has set up four training sessions with me to “learn my job.” Ha…. If she thinks she is going to get my years of being in organizational development in a few meetings, she is sorely mistaken.

I am also leaving after 36 years of being an educator. They all think being an educator is just standing up in front of people and delivering lessons. The VP of Clinical thinks that creating courses in the on line training system I implemented is just data input. OH, you have no idea how that statement tweaked me. “Yes, that is why I have a Masters in instruction technology because it is just data entry.” Jerk. I am not teaching anyone how to do that. “Go to school and get in debt like I did to learn that.” I am not teaching any little shit in an afternoon what took me a Masters and eleven years of working in the technology to become proficient.

Do I sound bitter? Yes, in a way I am. The weight and value they put on people, and not just me, is hard to take. The VP also made a bold statement that “the only way to change a culture of an organization is to get rid of anyone with twenty or more years of experience.” I wonder if John Kotter would agree. Systematically all the senior people are leaving or have left. They made it so uncomfortable for several senior nurses they went to the competition. My Clinical Educator left in October after twenty-seven years with the agency. They have fired two executives and three directors in the last two of years. I was the oldest in age director left. They have replaced the positions with people from the Med Center. It is a matter of time before the Med Center replaces all the support departments to save money.

My only regret is for my team who has been divvied up. My Education Coordinator is the one I worry about the most. She is going to the new manager with the ego and no experience. My EC needs a lot of hand holding and this young chicky is not going to be able to deal with her. I worry because she is even older than I am, but enjoys her job and is not ready to retire. I give her six months before she changes her mind and leaves.

My original plan was to wait until I was 65 to go. I am leaving a year earlier. But things financially came into place and so why wait. I am not sure I could have gone through another year of the crap and BS. I know I could not. It was making me very sick. I was not sleeping. I worried constantly. I worked constantly. (Wait until these three replacements see the hours it takes to make things run smoothly… HA!) My health was getting very bad. My doctors recommended me to retire and destress. No amount of mindfulness or meditation could resolve the crap I was facing.

Maybe I am too old!  I just know that I want something I have never had in my life ever.




Being a hermit

I take such joy in things such as nature and the environment when it is beautiful. And I take such offense when it is not. I relish the joy emanating from small children and yet have no patience for the hedonistic tendencies of the twenty to thirty something age group. I can sit in peace and quiet all by myself for hours and cherish those times. I freak out now in crowds and with loud noises. I struggle with incongruences. I have no tolerance for lies. In truth, my patience level is very low; not that I had a lot to being with. Sometimes, many times, I just want to be left alone. This is when I love my garden the most.

Garden at night

I used to be a people person. I am not sure when I got to hermit level, but that is about where I am. I used to entertain every weekend with parties and picnics. It was nothing for me to host a dinner for twelve. In fact, if I did not have something planned for the weekend, I felt like something was terribly wrong. I used to do things also during the week at night. No more. I do not want to nor do I have the energy to do much after working all day. I am up at five and at work shortly after seven am. By eight pm, I am asleep in my chair, in my garden.

It took a long time for my husband to understand alone time. He felt we had to do everything together all the time. Now he gets it and has learned that he also needs time and space by himself. We do not enjoy the same activities after dinner. He is a TV watcher, I am a reader. He goes to his man cave and I go to the garden.

Even at work, I am isolated and by myself. My office is hidden and off the beaten path. People do come and visit because it is a nice office and I take the time to listen. I run fans all year long to block out the sound of anyone near me and to help muffle the talking in my office. Our building is such a piece of crap. It is dirty and stuffy and no windows open.  The ventilation system does not work well and in my area, it does not work at all. In winter I freeze, in summer I cook. Hence two of the four  fans have heat. We are supposedly building a new facility but that is a least two years off and I probably will be retired. Why I love my space is because I have a huge window. There are only ten windows for the whole building.  I have plants in my office. Most cannot grow anything in the building. But however nice my space is, by the end of the day, my head is stuffed up and aches. I long for being outside in the fresh air.

Full moon over garden

People keep saying that when I retire I will be bored. I do not think so. My tolerance for hustle and bustle is nil. I am a completely different person when I do not have a schedule and “must-dos” on my list. It is not my intention to just sit and rot when I retire. I have a list of things to do, like cleaning out the prolific amount of STUFF in this house. I want to go to the recreation center which has a series of exercise classes for people with arthritis. I have so many crafts that I have not touched in years. And I will be able to spend the time I want in my garden.



Retirement is a carrot on a string

I know I am not the first one to turn 63 as I did two weeks ago. It should not be a big deal. But somehow, and I am not sure if it is the age or just the energy around these days, but it does seem harder and harder to get through the day. And it is not just me.

There is a HR manager who actually hired me. To look at her, you would think she was maybe early 60’s. She is small in stature and her still brown hair has never been dyed. She had eight children and 19 grandchildren. She has also been a ball of energy since I have known her.

But when I came back from vacation, she sat down at my desk with a heavy sigh. “You were missed,” she said. Heck, I was only gone three days. But we had a training class going through that was from hell. I thought there had been more issues, and there were. But that was not what she wanted to chat about.

She said, “I think it is time for me to retire.” I almost fell out of my chair. In truth, I did not expect it. She has been with the agency for over thirty-five years. We had just celebrated her birthday which marked 78 years. She has earned by all rights her retirement. But she works part time and has always said the job kept her going. I figured she would stay at least two more years.

She said she just did not have the patience to deal with stupidity any more. It was something I totally grasped and embraced. She was tired of seeing the repetitive efforts of our agency dealing with the same issues over and over with no better outcome. She said in general, she was tired of everything being a fight or lengthy discussion. She was also tired of the outcomes or consequences having no impact. She was tired of staff getting away with what they have been getting away with lately, like piss-poor documentation with no repercussions. I got exactly what she was saying. Management has an “everyone is a winner” attitude and coddles the clinical staff. But it is costing us dearly.

Earlier in the month, my dear friend and I had a similar conversation. She is one person who always looks to the good in people and is the very non-judgmental. But as we sat out in the garden chatting, she revealed her frustration with just getting through it all. She said she just does not have the patience for dealing with, (and I paraphrase), people.

I am right there with them both. I struggle with my impatience with the attitudes of people who seem to have no comprehension of way of things. Maybe it is that the way has changed and no one told me. I have no patience for those who are coming up who think they know everything and have no problem saying so. I listen to them at meetings coming up with things that have already been tried and failed. But they feel they are amazing and Einstein. They are rude and talk over people.  I really am turned off to their arrogance which they seem to drip with. I too struggle with the agency doing the same thing over and over hoping for a different outcome. And I am just tired.

They did a big injustice moving the retirement age up. I pity the next groups as I see them continuing to move the age of retirement up. It won’t matter as there won’t be any social security money anyways. There are a going to be a lot of folks in the next generations who will have a horrible time in their old age. They do not have clue about saving. Heck, they are still living at home until they are thirty.

What do I want truthfully? I would like to have an on-line flexible teaching job. I would like to have good health benefits that will continue with the treatment I am on. I already know that I will go to the recreation center which has wonderful programs for people with arthritis but the classes are for seniors and are in the morning. I know I am going to join the senior chorus that currently meets at 2pm. I have other plans for things but…. No can do now.

I need medical coverage. When I retire and go on Medicare, the drugs I am on that keep me going will not be covered. And Medicare is certainly not free. It costs my husband almost $300. 00 a month for it and his supplemental insurance. They take it right out of his social security monthly payment. NO choice. And the once a year, he hits the donut hole. The donut hole is now up to $4900.00 that you have to pay out of your own pocket annually. This is a whole other blog. But this is another reason why senior citizens are nasty and angry. We worked all our loves to get screwed by Medicare. My step-daughter who works on average 20 hours a week is on government insurance and she gets great coverage and it is FREE. That train ride will end soon.

Turning 63 and being close to retirement is like being on a diet in a bakery. Everything looks so wonderful and yet, you can’t have any. Am I turning into a curmudgeon? Absolutely.  But I am not alone. That gives me solace but it does not resolve my getting through it for at least the next two years. Some days I feel like I am being held hostage and have no choice about the direction of my life. I have to work and I have to work with the people I work with. And that gives me an attitude and I know it.