Retirement: Carbon dating of a different sort

I can barely remember what I ate for breakfast so remembering purchases or events needs help. Big time help. I keep notes but you can’t make notes on every facet of your life (at least I can’t!).

I have my own version of carbon dating. It doesn’t require equipment or isotopes. I use life landmarks (if I can remember them). They have to be big ones like retirement, residences, jobs and definitely cats. (I lived at this house when I had Magic and Lacey. I lived at that house when I found Jake.)

Since I’ve retired, it’s often (but not always) before or after retirement.

I recently did another clothes cleaning out. I don’t buy much. I have a nice funeral dress, a wedding-attending dress (you can’t multi-function the funeral dress for a wedding), a summer dress, a jacket or two and the rest is all casual. I have long ago eliminated anything that I didn’t love or wasn’t comfortable. Everything I have from my work days I love and fits well. However, it’s all at least seven years old. Before retirement. Some a few years before retirement. Sadly, it sits in the back of the closet collecting cat fuzzies.

Styles change making donation an easy decision (I’m sure homeless people love decade old styles like shoulder pads!). I have a Calvin Klein double-breasted gabardine navy blazer with brass buttons that looks like a hundred bucks on although it predates retirement by several years. It will never go out of style. Even with that description (and run-on sentence), I haven’t actually worn it in a long time. Why do I keep it?

Some of my clothes may be pre-retirement but my desktop, laptop and Kindle are post-retirement. (That testifies to the short lifespan of computer equipment compared to jeans and tee-shirts!) My car is post-retirement too. Some house renovations were done prior to retirement. I worked longer to pay for a porch renovation that was worth every penny. The pond was pre-retirement too.

Retirement was the last big event but it’s not the only time identifier. There are more current things.

There is old gym or new gym. I have friends from both.

Before Gracie (newest cat) was adopted or when Jake (oldest cat) was alive is a big one. Life was very different with Jake. His last few years were filled with medical accommodations. Vacations were short and far apart.

I have personal medical landmarks that I don’t use at all. I keep them out of my mind. I don’t use my mother’s death either. I moved to another state a few months later making that the landmark. I don’t like sad landmarks when I can avoid them.

How about you? Do you use life events to remember time frames?

 

62 thoughts on “Retirement: Carbon dating of a different sort

  1. I do this – absolutely. Now I also have a cool name to give it – life landmarks. It’s also how I remember dates. 2011 was the last really significant landmark year – my youngest son broke his hip snowboarding, my mother passed away, I lost my job and retired, … and I got Theo. It was a turbulent year and right now everything is balanced before and after 2011.

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  2. Oh yes, I definitely date/place things by life landmarks! I can barely remember dates and years and things. Too complicated! For years I go by life events also – moves, jobs, cats, etc. For time of year, I generally don’t remember months either. Much easier to remember – it was snowing, we were so hot that day, that sort of thing. Love the cartoon!

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  3. I hadn’t actually thought about it, Kate, but I do! Births, deaths and weddings! I can’t believe that I have officially been tired two years this month! I am surprised at how quickly the time has passed, and I have started my own closet purging recently. I have some really nice items I haven’t worn in two years. I have friends who are still working and I’ve given them an opportunity to help themselves.:-)

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    • That is nice that you can give to friends. My work clothes are at least 7 years old and no one wants old styles. None of my friends are my size either. I have to be stronger and give up some of the really cute blazers. I always think I’ll wear with jeans but I don’t. I grab a hoodie instead.

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  4. Kate – I go by when I started working from home. I got laid off, my mom was ill and I was unemployed for a while, then hired back to work from home. So that is my before-and-after way to gauge events/milestones, etc.

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  5. I remember stories, but not names or dates. At my job people will say so and so is calling. And I’m blank. They tell me its the woman who is picking up her dog from the airport then I have a memory of the caller.

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  6. Oh ya. I use where I was living. For more recent memories, I use where I was working. I was at one job for about 10yrs but I often went to help start up new clinics, so it still works well for that era.

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  7. My husband and I were arguing over the age of dog #3, which was dependent on the age of dog #2, which was dependent on the age of dog #1, which was the same age as number of years we’ve been in our house. 🙂 Landmarks beget landmarks.

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  8. Pictures for me are life marker events. I lived in Arizona for so long that I counted life markers by who I was when I took the picture: I was a married lady when I took that one, I was a single lady when I snapped that one, I lived in the Glendale house for that one, I worked in the sandstone house then, there I was on the Navajo Reservation. I never can remember how old my littlest cat is and I always have to count back. Is she really that old? Am I really that old? How time passes!

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  9. Before marriage, I lived in NJ, VA, and SC. And since we got married, we’ve moved every 8 years ~> NC, NJ, MD, FL. So the markers for our life chapters are tied to where we were at the time.

    Love your cartoons! 😀

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  10. I generally peg things by where I lived. It doesn’t help that we lived in the same house for 50 years. I hope the person who accused me of stalking people with my camera won’t read this. My most reliable memory crutch is the file where all my photographs live. They cover 1961 through today. My dating of events vastly improved with digital cameras. Anything you want to know???

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  11. Yes, for sure use life events to remember time frames. Biggest one for us was before CH’s military retirement and after military retirement. Like you I don’t use my Mom’s death or any deaths. I hardly think about my Dad’s death. I don’t think he really ever bonded with me and I never felt much of a relationship with him. But I do use my coronary event in 2005 because there was life before it and life after… very different in so many ways.
    Moving to a tropical climate from a wintry, cold, snowy state made purging clothes easy. And when we sold the house we sold it furnished and I don’t miss a thing. We needed a new fresh start. And now there are new friends that have proven to be real friends that are there for us. In MO we were so isolated that noBODY wanted to drive way out in the country and sit and talk to the cows and the llamas although we found them charming. So there is before the move here and after and it is a huge positive change… could do with a little less humidity!

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    • Those are some BIG events, especially any coronary event. My husband had a mild health blip last spring and some things changed so there is a pre and post blip thing. For 2 years (several decades ago) I lived in a beautiful country home. Never again. No one ever “dropped by” because no one would ever just drive out there for no reason. Some people thrive on that but I didn’t even though I like a lot of privacy and alone time.

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  12. Great question. I remember my life more through furniture and recipes. I can look at old pics, see the table all the people are sitting around, and identify who I was + what I was doing then. Same thing for recipes. I look at some of my oldies and am amazed that I bothered to make it– let alone eat it. Yet it was what we loved.

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  13. I use a variety of techniques ~ where I lived, what my kids were up to, what state my marriage was in… but some things from my childhood are hopelessly muddled and gone. There’s no one around to help clarify, so I have to shrug it off. Anyway, many of the events we believe we remember clearly may be somewhat incorrect, especially if we’ve examined and discussed them multiple times.

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  14. I wish we had used main events to carbondate our lives. Bill and I were trying to remember when some of those events occurred and we both draw blanks. We recall the events but no idea how they fit in to other events.

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    • I have a bunch of those too. We were trying to figure out when something happened yesterday but it didn’t relate to where we were living or which cats we had or even retirement so we were stymied!

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  15. I still have lots of clothes from my corporate days too…need to clean them out. I haven’t worn them in more than a decade. I live in jeans…the cats are just fine with that.

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  16. I totally use life events to remember time frames. Even when I was a wee kid I did it like, “Before I slept with a pillow. After I started sleeping with a pillow.” And, “The year I learned to swim.” Hmm, I wonder if it’s a natural thing that everyone does.

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  17. yes we do… memo-helpers like the summer as granny lost her fake tooth or the winter shortly before uncle alfons bought his car are very helpful… but it is a challenge when it comes to the year as we had this storm or the night as we had the power loss … or the day my father lost his keys (that happens too often , so no memory aid… he even fortgot his keys again as he picked them up at a lost&found office)

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