It’s All Uphill From Here

On Thursday, I was in the middle of a meeting. While I was listening intently as one does, I shook my shoulders slightly to loosen them up. I realized in that moment that my shoulders weren’t the only thing that was loose because I had forgotten, after almost 40 years of getting dressed in a specific order, to put on a bra. I was shocked but also strangely comfortable. Luckily, I was wearing a flowy top and we’re currently in the middle of a heat wave so it wasn’t apparent to anyone else but me. At least I hope it wasn’t. But still, it was a little confounding that for the first time in living memory, I had unintentionally forgotten to don a foundation garment:

Me (shimmying): I just realized that I forgot to put a bra on this morning.
Ken: Nice. But seriously? It’s not even the weekend.
Me: I know. So weird. I’ve never been so footloose and fancy-free at work.
Ken: See? You announce your retirement and the standards immediately begin to slip.

And yes, it occurred to me that my wardrobe mishap may be a subconscious result of my intention to retire from the secret agency at the end of September, an intention that I made public last week. I love my job, don’t get me wrong, but Ken’s retiring at the end of June, and we have a lot of plans. I have writing to do, he has photographs of trees and clouds to take, and we both have the antique business to maintain. (Just kidding about Ken’s photos—he’s an amazing photographer but he DOES take a lot of tree pictures–see the one below titled Sunrise). If you want to see more examples of his awesome photos, search for him on iStock—his last name isn’t hyphenated and it starts with the W part). Then there’s travelling—eventually. Our anniversary cruise, the one we couldn’t take last year, also got cancelled this year, so here’s hoping for the fall, or at least January.


And then to double down on my subconscious reaction to retirement, on Thursday night I dreamed that I went to a retirement workshop, but it was about FUNERAL PLANNING. I was seated between a really young boy and a very grumpy older woman, and we were given categories to make decisions about like “Materials” and “Location”. I distinctly remember examining a brochure and thinking ‘I’ve never been a fan of dark wood but this Mahogany looks pretty sweet.’ Then the woman next to me said, “For Location, make sure you specify high ground, and watch out for salt levels. High salt content causes you to decompose faster.” When I woke up, I researched this and it’s patently untrue. According to Google, bodies decompose faster in fresh water than salt water, although I get the high ground thing. I don’t want my beautiful mahogany casket to turn into a boat. Plus, since Ken will be building me a mausoleum, I want a room with a view. But all of this is beside the point, which is ‘Why the hell am I equating retirement with death?!’ I mean obviously, the bra thing is a metaphor for freedom but choosing a coffin? Then again, I’ve heard that the Death card in a tarot deck isn’t really an indicator that you’re going to shuffle off the mortal coil, but more about moving from one state of being to the other. So I guess if that’s true, I’m fully invested in the transition from work life to a life of leisure. And on Monday morning, I will stare into my bra drawer, pick out the prettiest one and sigh.

Here also is a picture of the cemetery at the top of a hill that I mentioned in the video I posted last Wednesday. I got a couple of requests so here you go. I bet there’s room up there for a mausoleum…

50 thoughts on “It’s All Uphill From Here

  1. What’s a bra 🤔 let it all hang loose girl. I didn’t see your post regarding early retirement …. That’s brilliant we only have one life so we need to enjoy it bra less ☺️ Thanks for yet another laugh 😹

    Liked by 2 people

  2. As George Michaels would say….”Freeeeedoommmm, Freedoooommmm!”
    Omg how positively awesome Suzanne, I’m so happy for you and Ken.
    I can’t wait to hear about all your adventures in retirement. 😎🤩🤞

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  3. Ken’s sunrise photo is stunning, Suzanne. Wow. No wonder his photos are on istock. Now, on to the important matter of the bra and retirement! Congrats!!! Freedom. Travel. No more uncomfortable clothing. Writing… I have to say that retirement is wonderful and be prepared to be busier than ever!

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  4. I know it’s said that if you do what you love you’ll never work a day in your life because no one’s going to pay you to do what you love, but that’s what retirement is for. And it is strangely fitting that you would be thinking about coffins because when you leave a job you pack all your things in a box. To borrow a line from Jerry Seinfeld a coffin is just your last moving box.

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  5. Whenever my wife and I decide to go somewhere, her response is, “Give me a minute to brush my teeth, and put on some lippy and a bra.” Happy retirement. Enjoy your writing. And your clocks. And dog. And husband. And time. Etc.

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  6. I totally get the bra thing. Ha! I was in a meeting with management on Thursday and told my male boss that the best thing about working remotely is not having to wear a bra!
    Congratulations on retirement! Life is too damn short, so I am thrilled for both you and Ken. Love his photo of the sunrise, by the way. Keep kicking ass, Suzanne, and thanks for the laughs!
    Ps…I am being cremated and told my friends to just put me in a coffee can🤷🏻‍♀️

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  7. I wish my dreams were as clear as yours. Death in a dream indicates the end of one thing and the beginning of another. A major thing, of course, or we’d be dreaming of death every time we bought a new car.
    So you’re a little anxious about whether retirement will turn out to be what you expect? It might not, but it will be great whichever way you go. And Ken will help you sort it out when he’s not taking absolutely gorgeous photos…

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  8. I like Kens’ picture, I end up taking a lot pictures of trees and sky – I don’t know why but I like it. Does he make much off of iStock?

    I think it’s just a dream, funny how you brought up that fact though.

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  9. Over the years, I’ve worked with some people who were afraid to retire. I’m not sure if it was the idea of a big life transition, the feeling of the Reaper coming closer. or both. I’m not saying that it’s true in your case, but change, good or bad, can be stressful. I think your husband’s phot and will have to check out his work.

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