Metropolitan Homesick Blues

Southampton Stories & Other Stuff


with 2 comments

One of the promises of retirement was the luxury of time.

I had lived a professional life of long days and working-weekends filled with projects dictated by deadline after deadline. The allure of time, free of constraints, was one of the key reasons I left the world of advertising. In my retired world, no one would be asking “when can we see the work.” I would be the time keeper. I would do things on my own clock, on my own terms, in my own way.

One of the first was reading Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past, all three, two-inch thick volumes. Six and a half years later I have plowed my way through Volume One and only half of Volume Two. I got bogged down by his complex two page sentences and rambling chapter long paragraphs. Because I had so much time on my hands, it was easy to put the book aside until another day. No doubt I’ll finish it in another six years. It really doesn’t matter.

What does matter is that I made that decision without fear of consequence. There were no outside mandatories hovering over my head. This does not mean that I walk away from all my home grown obligations. I simply gauge the need and act accordingly. One can think of it as Discretionary Time.

Discretionary Time is budgeted according to need and desire. The ratio between needing to mow the lawn and the desire to do so depends on the heat of the day and your energy level. The balance between cleaning out the garage and the desire to sit in the shade depends on whether you want to read more of Proust and how cold the beer is. You get the idea.

Discretionary Time allows you to spend your days wisely without waste. It is an economic model, a simple algorithm, a sophisticated process that helps you regain your sanity while letting you get away with things you never thought you could.

Everyone should ultimately invest in Discretionary Time. It pays great dividends.

Written by metropolitanhomesickblues

October 21, 2011 at 5:35 PM

2 Responses

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  1. Nice…

    I am a self-employed writer, whose income is very much affected by how (un) willing I am, while still working, to sacrifice my personal time (exercise, reading, thinking, talking to friends, all of which recharge my creativity) for additional income. I grew up in Toronto (wrote for the Globe and others), and now live near NYC, but ended up in the hospital in March 2007 (while working on a health story [!]) for Chatelaine, with pneumonia after continuing to work while ill, trying to please the fools who kept snapping their fingers at me and demanding endless changes.

    That experience ended any slavish devotion to income over health, mental and physical.


    October 22, 2011 at 9:19 AM

  2. Congratulations for reading, even as much as you have of Time Remembered. (It’s got a couple of titles). I have never felt up for the challenge, although he is somewhat (although abstract) of an ideal for me to strive for in writing my own philosophical novel. Apart from that, of course, no comparison. Also like you’re idea of discretionary time. Suits my retirement years, but throughout my life it’s always seemed to be the case of doing more than one thing at a time. On your blog about the house, I use the idea of renovating a house, as a metaphor for the need of the central character in Portals, (Penny) to renovate ‘herself’. She thus looks at her body in the familiar connotation of being a house that she wishes to make her home.
    The best in your continued writing.


    November 12, 2011 at 8:20 AM

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