Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Day Two of A Lifelong Habit...and Five Working Days Left

I've read that it takes 21 days to make a habit become part of your life... twenty-one days. To put it to the test, today marks Day #2 of getting up at 4am, dressing in my very elegant walking clothes, searching under the bed for the shoes - and hoping that I have a somewhat clean pair of white socks to wear with them - and riding the elevator to the basement where the instruments of torture (aka treadmills) awaits both my dear husband Riley and me.

I have already gained some valuable insight - and this is only Day #2. First, one can really get dressed, press the correct button on the elevator, and actually step on the treadmill and walk about 1/4 of a mile before one wakes up. Second, I cannot fanthom that anyone really looks forward to getting up at 4am to do something such as this. Third, looking in the mirror to detect any changes in the body is only wishful thinking - not even 21 days is going to change that. And finally, fourth - scales can destroy following through good intentions in just one blink of an eye.
There is a fifth - but I'm still working on the wiseness of promoting the use of caffeine before stepping on a treadmill at 4:10am.

While testing out the 21-day theory of making something a habit (personally, I would have preferred testing something more substantial - like eating a piece of pie every morning for 21 days to see if it really can become a habit), today marked the end of my next-to-last week before retiring. Come Monday, five (count them - 1, 2, 3, 4, 5) days left before I retire from federal civil service. Thirty-one years, 5 months and a day or two.

Thirty-one years - which includes four years of military time. Thirty-one years.

I was asked to put together a chronological sequence of jobs that led up to this point - something that could be read at the retirement luncheon that will be held next Tuesday. I was hired as a clerk typist at the VA Center and left shortly after our son was born. Rehired 18 months later with only the thought of being able to afford private school for both daughter (then 5) and son.

Job changes, promotions - and now, thirty-one years later I've discovered a startling concept. I had a career. I've worked for the Air Force for thirty-one years and I look back now and realize - I had a career. It started out as a job and before I knew it, it evolved into a career. Programs I helped create are in place; policies I had a hand in creating still live on - and I had a career.

In a sea of people who have bachelors and masters degrees, and with only an associates' degree (which took me 17 years to complete) I held my own.

And now - that career is coming to an end. How strange and odd to discover all this now - yet, it leaves me with a sense of satisfaction. I had a career. I'm proud of the work I accomplished.

So - end of one career - and the start of making something a habit. All in all, that's not a bad way to start one's retirement.