It has now been two full months since my retirement. I wanted to wait a while before I wrote how my new life is progressing. I have been working steadily for over 50 years with the longest downtime being no more than 3-week period. So, I thought 2 months would give me enough time to really come to terms with my changing life. The “good” things I have learned:
- Morning routine – Previously it was wake up with alarm, coffee, breakfast, shower, dress, and go to work and on good days I would throw in a gym workout. I started with not setting the alarm and just having the day proceed as it would based on circumstances. I found myself still getting up early (habit I guess) , have too much coffee, do whatever came to mind in the house and at some point go to the gym or go for a walk, then have my shower and get dressed. It could be 2 o’clock in the afternoon and I’m still in pajamas. I had to reconsider and make a morning schedule which includes still not setting the alarm but when I get up, I go to the gym or workout at home, then do the shower, dress, coffee and breakfast routine. Then the day can begin.
- Self-Care – I now have plenty of time for self-care and it changes daily. I schedule the day based on gym classes available or whether the weather outside is pleasant enough for a long walk. Some of the classes are Yoga, Stretching for Senior, Balance and Pilates. It is nice to plan my day for “me” and not for somebody else. I had made the determination others needs or their time was more important than mine.
- Golf – I’m playing more golf because I can play at times other than after work or on the weekends. Most of my friends are retired so there is always someone I can meet for golf and usually lunch.
- Scheduling – I can schedule appointments with ease. I don’t have to get permission to be off or schedule my appointments around others. I can also schedule them and run other errands during times when most everyone else is working so it’s not so busy and traffic is less! Heaven!!
- Meals – I find I do not snack between meals. At work, there was usually some “goodie” in the break room and I helped myself. I have more time to plan meals and cook healthy. I no longer have to eat lunch in the break room or out at a restaurant but can sit in my own little kitchen, watch the birds and squirrels, and peacefully enjoy lunch. I no longer have to rush home to cook and eat late. My meal schedule is my own.
- Projects – There is time for all the projects I kept putting off….cleaning out closets and getting rid of unused clothes, going through the kitchen and rearranging, and pantry. I am getting more into minimalism at home.
Now for some of the “bad”…well not exactly, just different.
- “What day is it?” I get confused on which day it is and have to consult the calendar to figure it out. I called my sister one day and she said she was driving home from work…I thought it was Saturday. We got a good laugh about it. I have been known, more than once, to put the garbage out on the wrong day. If I didn’t have the DVR set for my favorite TV shows, I’d miss them for sure.
- I can’t get it through my mind that I don’t have to have to do something productive all the time. It’s OK to read a book, take a nap, watch daytime TV or just sit on the patio and watch the birds.
- I have to be careful to not get bored. If the weather is OK, I just take a walk but we have snow and cold.
- Budgeting and money issues are challenging. With a steady paycheck, I did not think about buying what I wanted within reason. I tended to buy too much food and it would spoil before I had a chance to consume it. If I went shopping, I spent money on things I could do without. It was more of a “want” instead of a “need”. I reduced my income and am taking less out of my retirement funds than my previous paycheck. I now consider every penny I spend and I believe I am at the point of being “cheap”. I have a budget and doing pretty good sticking with it but it still needs work. I’ll write more about budgeting later.
- I could become a hermit. I love staying at home but I make myself go out. I purposeful go to the gym because there are people around. I also go out a few times a week with friends or family. It doesn’t bother me to stay in for days on end. Maybe this is because it’s cold outside and so comfortable inside.
People ask “What do you do with your time”? I answer with “I’m just being retired and do whatever catches my fancy for the day.” Enough said!