January 24, 2019

Tic Tac Toe - Shirley S. Tye

It’s taken me three months to get accustomed to retirement.  Days have slipped by without purpose in a helter-skelter fashion, with interest in many things diminishing. I envision myself in a comical animated image of the Dodo Birds marching in a row to drum music that leads them to the cliff’s edge where one-by-one they step off plummeting to their death and the end of their species. Oh, my!  There’s got to be more to retirement life!  There must be something of value I can still contribute.     

To avoid becoming a couch-potato, over-weight, out-of-shape, just plain lazy and complacent - not to mention cranky - I contemplated things that still might hold a tiny spark of interest for me; something to fan the flame of passion; something to put order and purpose into my life again.  Doing domestic chores and running errands aren’t exciting or strong enough reasons to unwrap myself from cozy blankets in the morning.  After some deep thought, I wrote a list of various projects I wish to complete or continue, and some to begin. All those tasks fall under the category of art; writing, drawing, painting, music, and, acting.

This to-do list does not operate on a rigid time schedule; after all, I’m retired and sadly there are still those boring house chores and errands that require attention.  I’ve created the list on Excel and I simply type an “x” beside the projects in the appropriate “day column” to indicate that I have worked on them.  This way I’m not wasting paper or recording a lot of detail that would only discourage me and bog me down.  Work days for me are Monday to Friday with no hours recorded so that my days can remain flexible and stress free. And no, I’m not typing an “o” in the “day column” to indicate that I have not worked on a project.  If there’s a week with several “o’s”, I may become discouraged and give up.  Tic Tac Toe can be a frustrating game.      

Once this system was set up, I had to know the answer to “why”.  Why should I bother working on these projects?  Different answers came to mind; to encourage others; to entertain; to teach. Now I need to stay focused on the reasons so that my work will continue and not die off like the Dodo Bird.  I’m sure with prayer the Holy Spirit will nudge me along and I’ll see plenty of “x’s” on the schedule sheet.   



  1. Focusing on the why is a wise way to keep motivation going and not aimlessly walk off a cliff for sure!

  2. I also retired this past year and I agree - I was surprised by the sense of time being wasted at times... Yu have an interesting system. (And I love all the projects you listed - a woman after my own heart!)

  3. Hi Shirley! I "retired" from my formal work in Sept. 2017. It took me longer than three months to not going to "work" on a regular basis. I loved my profession, but it was time to go. I like how your system works for you. I make a list of writing projects I would like to do; prioritize them; work on one or two per week. I love to write but I'm not concerned I may not get to all I would like to do. Setting writing and presenting workshops aside, I also enjoy the freedom to relax now and then from anything others than relaxing. I enjoy taking photos of the area where I live and find this an amazing way to enjoy "being." Shirley, I would love to know more of how your "retirement" journey is moving along.

  4. Shirley, I also need purpose in retirement; I think it’s a temperament thing. Some friends just shake their head at my involvement. My advice is to not rush into too much. Enjoy a later breakfast, time to linger over your devotions, etc. There are all sorts of Volunteer positions that need filling. ��

  5. Short reply. Carpal tunnel surgery. "Great minds and high tides start out slowly."

  6. Your 'whys' will be your motivation. Neat system.


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