It is nice being retired. To this point living my post-employment life is pretty much what I have always wanted. I don’t miss ‘the job’. It is amazing how easy one can adapt to no stress, no deadlines, and no meetings. And since I still keep in touch with the important people, I have the best of both worlds. I am happy exploring all my second act has to offer.
What I do with the days is in my control. My calendar is filled only with those events I choose. When the phone rings I may pick it up or I may not. When noontime rolls around you may find me still wearing sweatpants or maybe jeans if I want to dress up. I can read or watch TV or go for a walk or blog or take a nap or garden or… You get the idea. It is truly wonderful to wake up and know the day ahead is mine to manipulate and shape into the best possible for me.
My wife and I are blessed in that we both have our health and should be able to make ends meet financially (knock on wood). We never take either of these for granted. That said here are a few major perks that come with being retired.
Lying in bed as the sun lights up the bedroom there is no need to look at the clock. I don’t have to be somewhere at any particular time. I can enjoy the peaceful moment relaxing beneath the warmth of the covers as long as I want, perhaps even falling back to sleep. When I finally decide I am ready to get up I do – not before. My routine is no longer dictated by a job but rather by what I choose to do.
Rather than what must I do, my day can focus on what I want to do. I decide what hat I want to wear – productive citizen or slacker, seeker of adventure or happy observer from the sidelines, light hearted joker or deep contemplative. I am happily becoming accustomed to this new freedom of choice.
Without a hectic schedule set in stone I am able to go with the flow, my own personal flow. One day I may feel energized ready to be productive and attack to-dos I have accumulated. On the other hand I may feel lazy preferring to savor that second cup of coffee and revisit that engrossing new novel I just started. As a retiree I can be as productive or as lazy as I want. The only one keeping track is me.
Each day is a brand new 24 hours. How I choose to spend those hours is entirely up to me. I am only limited by my imagination and capabilities (and of course what is legal!). One day I may wake up full of energy and raring to go. On such a day I might jump in the car and head somewhere previously unvisited to hike and explore. Or I might attack a gardening project or find an exotic recipe to make for dinner. What I decide to do need not be anything monumental – just something I get satisfaction doing.
Time to take care of Dave
I know the importance of sustaining a healthy lifestyle and have always tried to do my part. I have my routines that cover weight lifting, cardio, and stretching. Although I have had to make some adjustments as I get older, I plan to continue as long as I can. While I no longer run for miles, I make time for a long walk wandering the neighborhood and nearby golf course along a path that follows a little babbling stream. I don’t lift what I used to but I still lift. And yoga has opened up a world that can help my flexibility and balance for the long term. Before I was retired I was forced to juggle my day and prioritize responsibilities in hopes I could get to my exercises. Often times I just could not squeeze in that time for Dave. Now I have the luxury to not only consistently get to my exercises but do so when I feel most motivated. If I don’t feel like riding the bike first thing in the morning, I can mount up later in the day. The good news is I have time. Of course now there are no excuses for not getting it done!
In addition to addressing the physical I am also able to make time for the mental side. In days gone by the frantic pace of life typically precluded any time for reflection or meaningful introspection. It is hard to pause when you are running at 100 miles per hour. Now in retirement I have the time. It can be something as simple as spending twenty minutes quietly in the backyard or taking that walk with my mind free of any burden or meditating peacefully in the front room. I now have the time to do it and I do.
I love waking up retired. Who knows what the day may hold. If I try to live each day in the best way possible doing what I really want and what matters to me the day will have been well spent.