Shallow Reflections
Guest Posts, Retirement

Sunday Guest Post Series: Shallow Reflections

I made plans to retire on September 1, but after I submitted my resignation, I felt restless and unsettled. My friends and family were excited for me, but I wasn’t happy and wondered what was wrong with me. After crying while I wrote a tearful goodbye to my thirty-eight-year nursing career, I admitted I wasn’t ready for full-time retirement. I pitched to my company that I could job share with another experienced nurse who also wanted to work part-time, and they agreed. My new schedule consists of working two days, with five days off. I go to work Thursday morning with enthusiasm, saying, “I can’t wait until Friday!” I get to stay in touch with coworkers, keep up to date in my profession, and bring home a paycheck which keeps my hand out of the retirement funds cookie jar. My husband still works full-time and our next step is to transition him into a part-time schedule.

I appreciate Donna’s blog and how she presents not only the joyful side of retirement but the challenges of transitioning from a full-time career to full-time retirement. As much as I’ve looked forward to this stage of my life, I discovered that for me it is a process, not an event. I’m honored to share my perspective on semi-retirement in her Sunday Guest Post series.  Below is a recent post where I grapple with how to best spend my ‘new found’ time. All suggestions and comments will be warmly welcomed!

My Falliable Plans for Semi-Retirement

Patrick says I romanticize life events, like my semi-retirement, but I don’t agree. I think he’s negative and sprinkles acid raindrops of reality on my rose colored progressives.

My theory is he’s jealous he had to postpone reducing his work schedule because apparently, he romanticized about our finances.

Anyway, I’ve read that you need to make plans when you experience more unstructured days of freedom to ensure you don’t grovel in the corner drooling. Or worse, start looking for a full-time job.

Here is a list of my plans with foreshadowing of how some pesky nettles could give the shaft to my Garden of Eden.

I’ll cook healthy meals during the day so we can eat before 8:00 p.m.

Patrick splashes cold water on this fantasy when he says, “I can see what is going to happen. You’ll get an invitation to meet a girlfriend for dinner and leave a box of Captain Crunch on the table with a note that says, “Pour your own damn milk!’”

“Crunch berries or plain?”

“I hate crunch berries!”

“So plain.” (Adds to grocery list).

I’ll grocery shop on weekdays saving Patrick the trouble of going with me.

Patrick is balancing the checkbook and shrieks, “Four hundred dollars for groceries this week! Are we eating caviar and filet mignon morning, noon and night? I better start going with you so you’ll stick to the list.”

“If you think you must.”


I’ll keep the house spotless now that I have time to clean and declutter.

After about a week of drudgery, a sliver of resentment jams into my psyche causing significant pain. I thought I was going to work less, not sign on as a chambermaid.

“Patrick, can we squeeze in a budget item for a cleaning service?”

I’m sure his response includes some boring details about making hard choices with my reduced income, but this is what I hear, “No.”

Undaunted I move to Plan B.

Dangling a wine glass in front of Patrick, I promise to pop the cork on some love nectar as soon as we spend quality time cleaning the house together. I remind him of how much it excites me to see him wearing Playtex gloves while scrubbing the shower.

I won’t need to buy as many clothes.

Who am I kidding? I’m still going to need cute and comfortable clothes for special occasions, i.e., days I wear clothes. And since I’m not going to join a nudist colony that would mean every day.

I’ll shop for sales.

Since I feel nauseated imagining myself traipsing through stores, pawing racks of drab items to find a single gem, I have to confess something. Having more free time is not likely to transform me into someone who loves to shop any more than it will turn me into a gardener or a camping enthusiast. Alternating between J. Jill mail order and Stitch Fix ought to keep me from wearing sweatpants every day.

I’ll save money on gas.

Patrick’s daily inquiry, “Where are you going today? Will it be under or over a four-hour drive? Just curious.”

I’ll get in shape.

The only drawback to this plan is how much time lies before me to exercise later, after I’ve attended to social media, writing, meeting friends for lunch, napping, etc.

I won’t procrastinate.

See above.

I feel so much better now that I’ve become more realistic about planning my time. Now, if I could just find a way to improve Patrick’s spirits, I think things would be perfect.

How do you think retirees or part-time workers should spend their newfound extra time? I need some achievable suggestions.

Meet Molly:

Molly Stevens believes humor is the emollient that soothes life’s rough patches and promotes these convictions in her blog: Shallow Reflections. She is the author of an adult picture book called, Boomer on the Ledge™, released in October 2017, published by Humor Outcasts Press. She won third place in the 2017 National Society of Newspaper Columnists writing contest and is a contributing author for These Summer Months: Stories from the Late Orphan Project, edited by Anne Born. She is a featured contributor for Humor Outcasts and part of the Bangor Daily News blogging network. Her guest posts have appeared on: Erma Bombeck Writer’s Workshop, Better after 50, Sizzling Towards 60, Mostly Blogging, and Sixty and Me. Molly grew up on a potato farm in northern Maine, where she wore a snowsuit over both her Halloween costume and her Easter dress. She lives in central Maine, and when she’s not writing, working or watching the New England Patriots win super bowls, she and her husband, Patrick, love to spend time with their son, daughter-in-law and two perfect grandsons.


From Retirement Reflections:  I can never sneakily read Molly’s posts when I am supposed to be doing something else. Her writing always makes me snort with laughter (not pretty, I know)! If you are new to Molly’s writing, I highly recommend her site to you. I double-dare you not to laugh-out-loud. Up next week is Suz from Global Housesitters X2. Suz is another blogger who brilliantly models creative lifestyle, extensive travel and thinking outside of the box. See you Sunday!



47 thoughts on “Sunday Guest Post Series: Shallow Reflections”

    1. Thank you, Ally. I’d like to think my to-do list is universal and relatable. It’s not all fun and games when you semi-retire. Sometimes you have to take extreme measures to keep yourself from becoming a chambermaid!


  1. It takes time to adjust to retirement. My wife and I have things to do six days a week. Some together and a few separate. We like movies so a movie pass suits us (one price per month, one movie each day if we choose). Great in the winter. Swimming and exercise consume many mornings. Afternoons are consumed with mahjong or cards and home projects. We travel as the spirit moves us! Having no schedule we must adhere to Is great. I work parttime for a local dealer. I may work five days one week and none for awhile. The extra money is nice and gives us separation at times.


    1. Hi, Craig – I agree with you fully. It does take time to adjust to retirement. Seemingly without rhyme or reason, it takes some people longer to adjust to leaving their jobs than others. I love the examples that you give of how you and your wife have made retirement work for you. The options are endless. Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting. I greatly appreciate it.


    2. Wow! You and your wife go to movies! I haven’t been able to get through a movie without falling asleep since the late 1990’s. I love your description of your free spirited lifestyle, Craig!


  2. I love seeing Molly as a guest on your blog, Donna! She cuts right to the chase on her “shallow reflections of semi retirement. Your series has shown such a unique variety of what retirement looks like, and Molly’s job sharing is a great example!


    1. Thanks, Terri – I also like Molly’s job-sharing example. There are so many options in retirement — the choices are endless! Thank you for commenting.


    2. I am so delighted my job sharing proposal worked out, Terri. I am really ready to go to work by Thursday morning and I leave saying, “I can’t wait until Friday!” I can do most anything for two days/week and do I ever love my 5-day weekends! It is a joy and a great balance for me at this stage of my life.


    1. Thank you, Jill. I have always seen the funny side of life and I so enjoy sharing that with people. My mission is to help people laugh in a world that is fraught with so much sadness and tragedy. I also try to make people think, and once in a while I write something that might bring on a tear. I hope you’ll come visit me at Shallow Reflections!


    1. It has worked out pretty well for me, Kate, except for hiring a housekeeper. That didn’t work out too well, but on a good note, I just bought a bottle of wine and new pair of Playtex gloves for Patrick. LOL


  3. Donna: Thanks you for introducing me to Molly! I can’t believe I hadn’t found my way to her blog before.

    Molly: So very nice to meet you! Your list reminds me very much of mine… except that my husband had the audacity to retire before I did so he got all the “me time.” I’m loving my retirement and much prefer my rose-colored glasses to the “acid raindrops of reality” too. I’m now off to read and follow your blog.


    1. Hi, Janis – I’m delighted to introduce Molly to you. I agree that ‘rose-colored glasses’ beat ‘acid raindrops of reality’. So glad to hear that you are off to read/follow ‘Shallow Reflections’. I know that you will enjoy it! It’s so funny!


    2. Thank you so much, Janis! It is amazing that anyone has found my blog in this world of millions of blogs, so I am always grateful when someone like Donna give me a chance to guest post, and someone like you checks out and follows my blog. I’ve had a lot of fun doing this writing thing for the past almost 3 years and look forward to meeting many more friends as I move forward. I don’t think I could handle it if my husband retired before me, but then again, he is excellent around the house, so I could probably adapt. Does your husband do laundry?


  4. I’m smiling ear-to-ear after reading this post. I have grand plans for how productive I’ll be once I retire. I’ll work out energetically in the mornings, instead of when I’m exhausted at the end of the day. I’ll do “blogging stuff” at my leisure, instead of cramming it in one hour before work. And still have half a day left over! Yeah, we’ll see. I know for sure I want to travel more.


    1. Your plans for retirement sound realistic to me, Christie. Going through your list, since retiring, I definitely exercise more, travel more freely and blog more (actually, I didn’t blog at previously). Thanks so much for stopping by and checking out Molly’s post.


  5. I wish you luck on all your retirement plans, Christie. I’m still adjusting to my newfound free time and am living the cliche of “How did I ever have time to work full time?” I do exercise more, I do have more time for writing, and I still detest housework and shopping. I didn’t include travel in my to-do list as I am not big on it. Though I’ve never experienced it without it being crammed into a vacation when I had to return to a full time job. Might be more enjoyable with less pressure on each side of it. I’ll give it a try. Keep your grand plans. You have to start somewhere!


  6. Thank you so much, Donna, for inviting me to do a guest post for you. You offer such an important resource to those of us going through the process of reaching retirement. It isn’t as simple or easy as I’d hoped it would be. And I’m happy to share my experience and humor with your readers. XO


  7. Hi, Molly – Thank you so much for Guest Hosting. I greatly appreciate it. I hope that your Grandson’s birthday party was tons of fun today!


      1. 🙂
        My husband and I will be be babysitting our Grandson (Charlie, aged 2) this coming weekend while his parents are away. I can’t wait!


      2. Have a blast, Donna. We have so enjoyed our grandsons. It is quite a lot to have two of them but now that they are getting older it is a little easier – no diapers and they can dress themselves. Still plenty busy though and the house looks like a bomb went off!


  8. Hi Molly! I am always in awe of bloggers and/or writers who can make people laugh with there words…I’m FAR too serious when I write but that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate humor. Thank you for a nice laugh this morning and congratulations on your new book! ~Kathy


    1. Hi, Kathy – My apologies for my late reply. I had replied earlier but my comment must have been lost in the blogosphere (note to self: quit blogging in the car)!
      I too greatly admire others who can make us laugh — and Molly definitely does that! Thank you for stopping by to read her post here. I greatly appreciate it.


    2. Thank you, Kathy. Some people are wired to be serious and that is a good thing because not everyone can or should be funny. I’m glad you got a chuckle from my essay and appreciate you stopping by and leaving a comment.


  9. Hi Molly I do love you and your writing always brings a smile. However, underneath I can feel the apprehension of retirement. it isn’t easy making such a life change and I think part-time is a great way to ease I to the next phase of life. I’ve been very unsettled since my recent trip to Europe and wondering what will the future hold. I’ve been retired four years but still at times can’t relax into this new life. have a beautiful day my friend.
    Thank you Donna for sharing another lovely lady with us.


    1. Hi, Sue – I am sorry to hear that you have been feeling unsettled since returning home from your travels. I’ve also felt unsettled after returning home from some of our longer trips. One thing that I love about your blog is your open sharing of the highs and lows of retirement.

      Thank you for stopping by to read Molly’s post. I love her humour and her take charge style!


  10. Thank you, Sue. I do think part time was the answer for me at this stage of my life. I’m ready to go to work by Thursday and the I can let things go that used to bother me at work since I’m only there two days/week. I can see how after a while the two days will start to infringe on my lifestyle enough for me to be ready to give them up, but for now I’m pretty content. I bet it is an adjustment being home after such a long trip and I’m excited to see what your ‘next thing’ will be.


  11. While I am not retired, I have faced different stages in my life of “alternative living” where projects sometimes take more time, sometimes less. And, the same with life taking over. Fact is, whenever a certain era ends, making you believe you will have more time, that “extra” time is easily consumed by other things and projects. “How did I manage to do all this before, when having a real/full-time job?” becomes a valid question with no good answer. Everyone could use more time. And, even when we get (some of) it, it is still not enough. I love this post you shared, Molly! So realistic.

    My approach to your question (and to life) is pretty basic: don’t buy what you don’t need (less time – and money – spent shopping and researching online). If you know your grocery store and the products you usually buy, the shopping experience can be a short one. Time saved there. And, restrict social media to an hour (or two) a day between then and then, opening up the rest of the day for real and joyful alternatives. Enjoy your semi-retirement!!


  12. I do really well on two out of three of your nuggets of wisdom, Liesbet. I shop at the same grocery store weekly with a list in hand and know where everything is, making shopping a breeze with minimal impact on my time. I don’t shop very much either online or in real stores, saving time there. Social media is where I need more work, but I am doing better and love your suggestion to limit the time to 1-2 hours. Did you ever think we’d be making such resolutions just a few short years ago?


    1. Right!? When social media was a novelty, it was fun and exciting. My “saving grace” was that I lived on a sailboat with limited internet for eight years, so I couldn’t spend time on it, even if I wanted to. I miss that “simple” life. Now, social media is a drain on our time, and maybe even on our social life – since more happens virtually than in real life; what a contradiction to the description – it sucks you in. That being said, it is up to us whether we can resist the lure. 🙂


      1. 🙂 I guess technically, blogging counts as social media, but I don’t see it that way, since it involves some craft, sharing ideas and photos, inspiring people, practicing writing, connecting with like-minded souls, and so much more than what is in my opinion a shallow connection on Facebook and the like… These are my personal insights, though. 🙂


  13. Apologies for being very slow to read and comment, Molly and Donna, but I’m glad I’m here now.

    Molly, wonderful post. A sense of humour as finely honed as yours is a gift. I could just envy it, but I’d far rather be able to enjoy it for free by subscribing to your blog which I’m going to do right now.

    Donna, I swear that 90% of the bloggers I follow are people you have mentioned or had guest post. Do you remember Malcolm Gladwell’s book, The Tipping Point? You are a Connector poster child, and thank goodness for that.


    1. Hi, Karen – Thank you for checking out Molly’s post. I am fortunate to have met some incredible bloggers. I am very happy to share them!


  14. Ah, the familiar gap between intention and reality — so funny to read your take on it, Molly. Sad to say, I tend to take these things way too seriously. Therefore, I really appreciate your humorous angle!



    1. Hi, Jude – Thank you for visiting Molly’s post. I love her humour. I also appreciate her softening the very common gap between retirement intention and reality!


  15. I know what you mean about taking things too seriously, Dr. Sock. Despite my penchant for humor, I can get way too serious. That is when seeing the funny side of things saves me from myself and I hope I’ve ‘saved’ you, too!


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