Are you wasting time?

Does it ever feel to you that even in retirement life there is just not enough time in the day? How often have you paused for a moment to contemplate your accomplishments for the day and found yourself at a lack for anything of merit? It’s not so much that we have a lot to do but more about looking back as another sun sets to find our to-do lists have not budged. Obviously something must be “getting done” since at least 12 hours have ticked off the clock. Tell me if this sounds at all like your world:

– Do you get caught up in a frenzy of busy activity, overlooking the beauty and wonder that is right in front of your nose as you rush through your duties?

– When you look back at your day, is it just a blur with no meaningful accomplishments?

– Do you listen without hearing when your spouse talks to you caught up in other far away thoughts?

– When a friend calls on the phone and has something important to discuss, do you find yourself hurrying the conversation so you can get back to what you were doing?

– Do you scratch off one item on your to-do list only to add three more?

All of these can add to a day that is out of control as you react rather than act. Unfortunately it is often the case that we have no one to blame but ourselves.  Wasting time is too easy and as the saying goes, life is like a coin – you can spend it any way you want but you can only spend it once. And how are senior citizens typically spending their valuable time?

 

According to the Labor Department, senior citizens age 65+ spend 400 hours on average on “Other Leisure” time, which includes anything that’s not TV, socializing, relaxing and reading. Where is the rest of the time going? TV sucks up about 4.4 hours each day from the average senior citizen, more than the 3.3 hour Americans of all ages watch when the weekend rolls around.

Not only does TV dull your mind but as a sedentary event you get zero exercise (unless you are a fan of the Wii). And you can bet you are not honing your social skills as you sit zombie-like staring into the few minutes of content that are tantalizingly interspersed between hours of endless advertisements.

Just say NO!

Where can we spend “quality” time? The ‘ol clock is ticking away…

  • Give a call to your mom, dad, son, daughter, friend or acquaintance just to say hello. Out of the blue with no special occasion your thoughtfulness may just make their day. It is impossible to stay in touch with everything that goes on in the lives of those around us. But just showing an interest can go a long way.
  • Get away for the weekend or weekday since retired folks have that luxury. You can find great deals on sites like Travelzoo or in Via Magazine from AAA. A little planning ahead and you can spend for two nights what you normally pay for just one. And if there is no TV, so much the better! I find that having something on the calendar every other month or at least once a quarter keeps the excitement up as you anticipate the next adventure.
  • Donate your time – my step daughter has spent the past nine months in Haiti working with Grass Roots United to help local residents recover from the massive earthquake. You don’t have to go quite so extreme but there are local shelters and organizations that could use your help in an instant. Bob at Satisfying Retirement works with ex-convicts to help them adjust to life after prison. Bill at Adventure Retirement traveled to Peru for a year in search of volunteering opportunities. Retirees have the time, there are MANY worthwhile causes, if volunteering works for you everyone wins.
  • Share your expertise with the next generation – we all had careers in the “early years” and provided that the industry has not changed drastically our knowledge can still help others to avoid pitfalls we learned by experience.
  • Don’t waste any more time – do what you really like to do.  What is it that you do or have done in your life that REALLY gives you pleasure? Is there something that when you think about it brings an involuntary smile to your face? With my recent return to the working world (I found the perfect start up company with great people and am really enjoying doing it again) I find myself with less time to blog. But every now and then an idea comes to mind and with a smile on my face I endeavor to put it to words. I really enjoy it when I find precisely the right way to express a feeling I have and share it with my readers. Are you a writer? A painter? A hiker? A biker? Is photography your gig? Restoring old cars? Gardening? It is up to you and there are no rules!

24 hours in a day – 60 minutes in an hour – 60 seconds in a minute.

Don’t waste another…

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About LoveBeingRetired

Dave Bernard is a California born and raised author and blogger with an extensive 30 year career in Silicon Valley. He has written more than 300 blogs for US News & World On Retirement and his personal blog Retirement – Only the Beginning. He has authored three books: "Are you just existing and calling it a life?"; "I want to retire! Essential Considerations for the Retiree to Be"; and " Navigating the Retirement Jungle". Dave was also a contributing writer for the books 65 Things to do when you Retire (“Positive Aging – Old is the New Young”) as well as 65 Things to do when you Retire – TRAVEL (“Travel to Discover your Family Heritage”). He lives in sunny California with his wife, his Boston Terrier "Frank" and a passion for the San Jose Sharks.

8 thoughts on “Are you wasting time?

  1. The work with ex-cons has been very rewarding but there are opportunities to help if working directly with a released prisoner is too far out of one’s comfort zone.

    I am also working with the fellow who travels all over the state to visit prisoners. He has asked for my help in managing his in-office paperwork and correspondence while he is on the road. That only requires the ability to run a computer and write some letters.

    You are absolutely right, Dave. The clock is ticking. Try something completely different. You may discover a whole new passion.

  2. The main point here is certainly a good one. Retire to DO something rather than retire from life altogether.

    However, I don’t know if I’m reading into it a sense of incurred stress and over-intensity. While I certainly have chock-filled and wonderfully busy day, I also enjoy the huge luxury of not HAVING to do anything. Sit and enjoy a long leisurely meal with my wife. Relax in the backyard and watch the grass grow while mind mind wanders delightfully.

    But you are so right re: TV. It’s amazing how little TV we watch (not having cable helps 🙂 ). Very few movies, too. Of course, I never saw TV as a relaxation but as an escape…..and who would need to escape from retirement!

  3. At the moment, I’m busy as a bee working on a couple of projects. I tell myself that this is temporary and that, before too long, this too shall pass. I hope I’m correct, because I wouldn’t want this level of busyness to continue for more than a few months. Time will tell. Bill

  4. Bill I think that by being aware of the degree of busyness you maintain a perspective that helps you say – hey, time to slow down a bit. A little busy can go a long way!

  5. I think it depends on the person. Some people want to just shut off from the world when they retire. Sure it might not be the healthiest option but for some the rat race took such a toll that they just want to relax.

    • It is hard to fault relaxation as an option especially after years of hard work and lots of time sinks out of our control. In the end it is all about doing what you want to be doing, whatever that may be. 🙂

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