Here I am packing for another trip. In the past, this would not have been unusual if it were official vacation or even business travel. But, it’s simply a random get-away. Insert light bulb going off here: ‘I am retired!!’
As strange as it may seem, I often forget that I am no longer employed. This isn’t only due to my ‘ingrained work patterns’ (although I definitely have them). It’s more that the things that I do in retirement have become my job (both my passions, and my responsibilities—the exciting, and the mundane). After all, I retired from a position…not from life.
This blog, cooking, house/yard maintenance, dog-walking, budgeting, exercise, travel and taking care of the ones that I love…are all part of my current job description. It’s a flexible, fluid list that shifts and is modified daily. Still, there are moments when reality strikes me, and I blurt out loud, “It’s true…I really am retired!” Here are few of my defining retirement moments.
Loafing and Puttering: It’s a brand new skill for me…but I honestly believe that I am getting the hang of it.
Realizing that Other People Still Work: When I take out the recycling, I am always surprised to see people walking onto the school bus, or getting into their cars, briefcases in hand. I am reminded that it is no longer a holiday. Seriously, it jolts me every single time.
Does Anyone Really Know What Time it is? I am frequently unsure of what day or date it is (except for garbage and recycling days…because I have an email reminder sent to my phone)!
Casual Friday Anyone? What I used to wear for “Dress Down Day” at work is now what I wear when I want to dress smartly. Me in jeans is now me gussied up.
Empty Store Syndrome: I now know what the inside of a mall looks like on a non-weekend, non-holiday. There is so much space — it almost echoes! Really, who knew?
Forbidden Fruit: My Book Club meets on a Wednesdays at…wait for it…1:30 p.m.! My walking group also meets midweek and midday. In my previous life, I had no idea that this would ever be possible…or allowed. (In a future post, I will mention more about the average age in our small town. Spoiler alert: It’s old!)
How Early is Too Early? Richard and I regularly eat dinner three hours earlier than we did during our work lives. (And I say ‘three hours’ because I don’t want to embarrass myself and admit that it is sometimes ‘four.’)
Open Classroom: On a previous post, I received a very insightful comment from a reader named Marilyn. A lifelong learner, she wrote that one of the best features of her retirement is that she now gets to choose her lessons….and her teachers. This is an aspect of retirement on which I wish to capitalize further.
Task Completion: Similar to the freedom to choose your own learning, is the freedom to complete your tasks at your own pace. I can binge-task on one day, and play hooky the next. (I also have ‘pajama days’, like today, where I just get stuff done…without ever getting out of my PJs). I can abort an unfulfilling task half way through, or simply shelve a project for a very long time. Ignoring tasks in front of me was an unfamiliar concept to me during my work life. But, like with loafing and puttering, I believe that I am quickly catching on!
24/7: I now get to do things in ‘real time,’ with much less need to delay gratification. A perfect example is the day that our first grandchild was born. He arrived earlier than expected. The moment that I got the call, I was on the next ferry (literally) and was able to meet Charlie shortly after he was born. I plan to do this again when our next two grandchildren are born (this November and December). Now, how cool is that?
So, what are your defining retirement moments (real or imagined)? I’d love to read them!