On December 3, 2020, I retired. Quit my shitty retail job at Gloomingdale’s and just walked away.

I felt immortal. I was finally in charge of my life with no more schedules, no to-do lists, no time limits.

True, there was an expiration date somewhere down the road for me, but in the meantime, everything was fluid. 

I had the time to accomplish great things. Monumental things.

Starting with the cat tree in our rented loft. In the space of one year, my two frisky felines had reduced the once proud, multilevel structure complete with a ladder, play rope, several sleeping platforms and two carpeted cubbyholes to something that looked like it had been chainsawed by a logger with severe cataracts. New scratching material was sorely needed. Then there was the exhaust fan in the bathroom. Not only were the mounting brackets loose, but it was covered by layers of dust dating back to the Civil War. My challenges were clear.

From out of the blue, came a tiny, nagging voice inside my head that said I didn’t work 40 years just to repair a cat tree. Or fix a fan. Aim higher, the voice said. 

Okay. I love to read, so I set out to conquer the intellectually challenging doorstop novels that everyone raves about, but never finishes. Don Quixote, Infinite Jest, David Copperfield, Ulysses. I plunged into Don Quixote, enjoying some of the humor, but the florid prose and the 1000+ pages told me I wasn’t going to finish this one soon.

Movies. I was going to watch every movie made by Japanese director, Akira Kurosawa and Spanish director, Pedro Almodovar. Hamlet with Lawrence Olivier … again. Citizen Kane. 

I’d learn to play the acoustic guitar I bought last year, tried for about two weeks, then figured that only musical instrument I could handle was the kazoo. I had time to give the guitar another try. 

I would work out in our home gym, transforming myself into a sexy senior citizen.

I’d to learn to speak Spanish more fluently. 

The voice in my head returned, but this time it was more insistent. What are you doing about saving the whales? Climate change? The deforestation of the Amazon jungle? Shoot for the moon it implored.

Yes, I was going to tackle those too. I could do anything.

Then, one night while I was brushing my teeth, I looked at my reflection in the bathroom mirror. Who was I kidding? Tackle climate change? Save the whales? I stood up straight and told myself, why not? Sure I could. 

Right after I shored up the cat tree and fixed the exhaust fan. No need to rush things. I had plenty of time, didn’t I?