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Column: Retirement means learning the fine art of juggling

I am challenged when it comes to juggling. When former Sudbury Theatre Centre Artistic Director David Savoy left STC more than a year ago, he left me a set of juggling sacs. I had no idea this was a metaphoric message.
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Juggling
Judi Straughan may now be retired, but she's still juggling her calendar. Supplied photo.
I am challenged when it comes to juggling.

When former Sudbury Theatre Centre Artistic Director David Savoy left STC more than a year ago, he left me a set of juggling sacs. I had no idea this was a metaphoric message.

Why did I need to learn to juggle at this stage of life? I had never revealed my plan to climb out the window and run away with the circus.

Wise David must have known I would soon be contemplating living the F-word (Freedom) and was ill-equipped for that life. He knew I had to learn to juggle or I would fall flat on my face.

Here’s the thing: When you’ve worked all your life, juggling a day filled with work tasks becomes a no-brainer. My daily agenda proved I could juggle with air-traffic- controller expertise. Retirement juggling is not even close to that.

Full disclosure. I furrow my brow every time I hear someone say, “I’m busier in retirement than I was when I was working.” Are you kidding me? I want to say, “What the heck was your job? To man a lighthouse?”

No, you should not be busier in retirement unless your profession was cemetery security, midnight shift.

The challenge is juggling. I am now trying to navigate meetings, appointments, commitments, gatherings and social events across a wide geography each day. My STC work desk is no longer ground zero; my kitchen calendar is … and the small squares on the calendar are failing me.

As with many retirees, I am still experiencing a hive of frenzied activity in this honeymoon phase and, thank heavens, am still on a few people’s radars. And as with many new retirees, people are throwing some savory morsels my way. Who knew?

It was both fun and challenging to be part of Playsmelter in May. Each year, directors and actors gather for couple of weeks of new script development. Thank you for those days of creative play, Matthew Heiti.

Life at Dynamic Earth is indeed dynamic! I am just wrapping up a five-week contract working with guides as they navigate an impressive renovation to the underground tour. The added technology has made this iconic Sudbury landmark more exciting than ever.

Don’t wait until you have out-of-town guests to check it out. Thank you to Julie Moskalyk for inviting me to be part of the fun.

My journey with Eastlink has just begun. Thank you to Stewart Gagan for inviting me to be part of a brand-new series airing this fall. More to come. So far, I have not been given a trailer or make-up team, but I’m sure it’s coming.

I am juggling a new cast of characters in my life: a chiropractor, a trainer, a massage therapist and a physiotherapist, to name a few. Being retired means having some time to be the best I can be — thankfully, my standards are low. No iron man this year; I’m a work in progress.

At this moment, I am putting the juggling sacs and health team aside while I head across the pond to the world of kilts and haggis followed by shamrocks and Guinness.

It’s my retirement treat to me. My juggling curve can wait. Is it still called juggling if I use only two sacs? Life is good.

Judi Straughan is the former education co-ordinator at Sudbury Theatre Centre. In this series, she explores the challenge of being newly retired.



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