by Pauline Buck, Contributor
It’s not too late to talk about New Year’s.
For me the New Year hasn’t started yet. It won’t until the end of January.
I don’t usually get excited about the regular New Year’s. In the past I’ve done all the traditional stuff: made resolutions, wise and ridiculous (that 10 pounds just won’t quit) and gone to the crazy parties with the hats and horns. But I’ve never really been a devotee of the fact that the next day has a totally new date.
My birthday is toward the end of January, and that’s when I usually do my serious reflecting about the new date, especially if it’s a significant birthday; one with a 0 on the end. Or in this year’s case, one that ends with five.
This year, on the morning of my personal New Year I will have a totally new handle. I will wake up Pauline Buck Senior Citizen.
Also, I will no longer be Pauline Buck, communications manager for a health care foundation.
I will be Pauline Buck, retired – unemployed – out of work – lady of leisure – house mouse and caregiver.
Many people take this turning point in their lives hard. For me, I have never been so excited.
Retirement means so many new beginnings, and so much that is fabulous – starting with the fact that I will no longer have to join the early morning commuters on Highway 1 crawling across the construction zone that is the Port Mann Bridge.
And every evening I won’t have to reverse the process. My life will pick up three hours a day. I feel younger already!
And when the weather man calls for 20 cm of snow, which I know will prevent my car from leaving the driveway easily, I will run for my hidden stash of bon bons and curl up in front of the fireplace.
Then there’s the part where I can see my grandsons more during the week – maybe pick them up from school sometimes and spoil them at Dairy Queen.
In grandmother parlance, they call this revenge – get the kids hopped up on sugar then send them home. (I never said I will be a good person. Just a retired person.)
But to me, the most important part about being retired will be the fact that I can stay home and look after my husband.
Two and a half years ago, he was diagnosed with dementia and his downhill slide has been rapid.
Initially, I could leave him all day when I went to work. Then I needed to enrol him in adult daycare two days a week; then organize in-home care for the other two days each week that I worked.
My heartbreak, other than my loss of the man he was, was that 40 years ago when I started my career I had to take my daughter to daycare.
To end my working days taking my husband to the adult equivalent was more than I could handle.
I am thankful for the tremendous support we received from Fraser Health’s excellent program for caregivers, but I love being the stay-at-home caregiver/wife now.
Bill will continue to go to his day program twice a week, because he loves the activities there and the friends he has.
And I will spend those two days pursuing my interests. I’ll see friends, work on my photography and research how to grow a better vegetable garden.
On non-daycare days, we may just loaf around all day – at least ’til planting season starts.
This New Year is going to be wonderful.
Pauline Buck is a local blogger who writes on urban/rural living topics. Her blog can be found at www.pauline-homeontheranch.blogspot.com