Sunday Guest Post: Retirement Hours

I’m thrilled to contribute a second guest post for one of my favorite blogs, bloggers, and friends. Thank you, Donna, for asking me to participate. You have such a loyal following and I always enjoy the lively discussions that posts on your site generate.

During our trip up to Northern California over the Christmas holidays, I spotted this sign hanging on a locked fence in front of a shop:

retirement hours

At first I thought it was merely amusing, but then I realized that I could wear a similar sign around my neck now that I’m retired. Since I no longer keep ‘business hours,’ my retirement schedule is almost as… ummm… flexible.

Retirement Hours

Most mornings start at about 7:00 or 7:30, occasionally as early as 6:30. But sometimes I am able to sleep in and find myself getting up as late as 8:00.
Not being a slave to my alarm is a luxury. Although I would love to be one of those lucky people who sleeps through the night and wakes up early refreshed and raring to go, I’m not. I had hoped that when I retired, I would no longer lay awake up in the middle of the night. Unfortunately, my monkey mind has switched from dwelling on work-related issues to thinking about things like blog posts.

By 4:30 or 5:00 in the afternoon, I like to slow down and relax. But sometimes something fun will keep me out and about until 9:00 or 10:00 in the evening.
Even if I’ve relaxed most of the day I still need to switch gears for evening relaxation (yes, there is a difference). If I go out, I try to avoid rush hour – on the road or at the grocery store – so I like to be home by 4:00 or so. But, give me a good reason to venture out in the evening (happy hour with friends or book club come to mind) and I will brave the traffic.

Some days or afternoons I’m not around at all (or maybe I just decide not to answer my phone).
This will be our little secret… voicemail is my best friend. I really dislike talking on the phone under most circumstances, but if I’m busy – doing just about anything – fuhgeddaboudit. Leave me a message (or, better yet, text!) and I will call back when I’m ready… or not. It’s not you, it’s me… really.

If I’m somewhere else, I’m probably traveling.
This is my favorite place to be. Whether we are out exploring local areas of interest, taking a long road trip, or flying off to visit other states or countries, we love having an adventure. Retirement has given us the ability to change our plans at a moment’s notice and stay away as long as we wish. I love coming home but, before too long, I’ve already started to plan our next trip.

Retirement is not all fun and games, we actually have some projects to complete, schedules to adhere to and, on occasion, we even have to make and keep appointments. But, overall, we relish the flexibility we have at this time of our lives. Living in retirement is satisfying and fulfilling… and you can’t beat the hours.

Janis
Retirementally Challenged

retirement hours

From Retirement Reflections: I have been a long time fan of Retirementally Challenged and am grateful that Janis has agreed to Guest Host here again. Her posts are always insightful, inspiring and highly relatable. If you haven’t yet checked out her site, I highly encourage you to drop everything that you are doing (yes, even reading this blog) and check it out now! Up next week, we welcome back Dee from Grammy’s Grid. Dee is another inspirational blogger who you won’t want to miss. I look forward to seeing you then.

103 Replies to “Sunday Guest Post: Retirement Hours”

  1. A great post! You’re bang on again, Janis. The flexibility is priceless, and many adventures await. I’m thinking of getting a couple of ‘robots’ to do house cleaning so I can free up some time to do more of what I enjoy. Thanks, Donna, for continuing the series.

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    1. Thanks, Natalie – We have a Roomba vacuum cleaner (named James). I agree — this is an awesome time-saver! Thank you for your kind words about this continued series. I am grateful that so many outstanding bloggers have agreed to contribute!

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  2. I absolutely relate to this post. Instead of commuting three hours a day to the city, I now work from home with flexible hours. My back doesn’t hurt from sitting in front of the computer for eight hours straight. My stomach isn’t in knots over stress. I can enjoy the weather outside instead of experiencing it after 5 p.m. The only problem is my cat jumps on my keyboard and messes up my work at times.

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    1. Hi, Cathi – Sounds like you have a very clever cat….and an ideal work situation! My husband used to have a long commute into the city as well. Although he never (or at least seldom) complained about it at the time….he is now in awe of how he ever managed it. Having flexibility over our own hours is an incredible gift that I’m not willing to give back!

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  3. My voice-mail message says “this is Pat’s phone and as usual, she’s not answering it” . When we moved, we dropped the land-line and only have mobile phones… and since mine is not surgically attached to my hand, I often don’t know which room or coat pocket it’s in. [I’m not sure how anyone would contact me in an emergency.]

    I too love the flexibility of retirement hours. I’m not a morning person, so try not to book even a coffee date before 8:30AM! And nothing is scheduled that requires me to go at rush hour if I can avoid it. Happy hour or a dinner date before the theater can’t avoid rush hour, but that is the price you have to pay for those fun events. And even then, I try and think about where we go to avoid the worst traffic.

    Great sign and I love how you turned it into a compelling blog!

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    1. I’m not sure why I even call it a “cell phone” anymore. It’s more like a very thin camera/text machine. I love your voicemail message!

      The only event that gets me out in rush hour traffic on a regular basis is my monthly book club meeting… and I’m considering finding a new group whose members live closer.

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  4. Hi Janis! (and Donna!) I wonder how many of us writer/bloggers feel the same way about talking on the phone. It is ALWAYS my last choice if given a choice. That’s why even my husband knows it is better to send me an email than to try to reach me by phone. And thanks for the little “window” into your life these days. While I’m not fully retired, I do appreciate nearly every one of the things you also enjoy–maybe that’s why we are friends! Looking forward to seeing you soon! ~Kathy

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    1. Hi, Kathy – I always thought that my resistance to talking on the phone was exclusively mine. It is interesting (and very reassuring) to see that trait shared by so many others whom I admire. I haven’t had a landline for years. And, if I don’t recognize the number for who is calling, I always let the cal go to voicemail to deal with it later….or not! 🙂

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    2. I remember when texting was first a “thing” (and before I had a smartphone) and I thought it was a silly idea. Now, I think it’s the best thing ever! Judging from many of the comments, we who disdain talking on the phone are not that unusual at all.

      We are looking forward to our desert meet-up too!

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  5. I still wake up far too early and get up in time for work – John’s work that is – but once he goes, I settle back down with a fresh cup of tea. I don’t turn out for anything that starts before 10am if I can avoid it! I love the slow start to the day.

    I’ve never liked the phone either. I used to think I was odd, but it appears to be more common than I thought.

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    1. Hi, Janis – Thank you so much for agreeing to Guest Host again. This post is already proving to be VERY popular….and has only been published for a few hours.
      BTW – I am glad to hear that you slept in today. That goes well with this post!

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  6. What a wonderful post, Janis! I have seen signs like these in less western countries and I love how you have created your guest blog around it. Wonderful ending as well. You write well and have your priorities right. Flexibility is one of the virtues of our life as well, even though we are not retired. The alarm clock, however, is still a part of it.

    I agree that around 5pm, the focus shifts in our household as well. We usually walk the dogs before that and at 5, the work/activities stop. We either have a drink and a snack, or tea and a snack and hang out together on the couch.

    Like you, I don’t like talking on the phone (I’m better with written words). It is one of the reasons I don’t have a phone. No need for voice mail or to turn it off. I have two Skype calls a week, usually, one with my parents and one with my best friend. Our current life is not very social. Although, San Diego was an awesome exception. 🙂

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      1. 🙂 I keep forgetting how young you are (or how old I am)! The Partridge Family was an early 1970’s American musical-sitcom featuring (heart-throb) David Cassidy. One of their songs was “Point Me in the Direction of Albuquerque”. Embarrassingly enough, I can still sing it word for word!

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  7. Love the sign. I am working my way toward complete “retirement” although for me that will be more crafting time to make cards and things to sell in my Etsy shop. That doesn’t feel like work to me. I am looking forward to being able to take more day trips and things. Lovely post and hello Donna!

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    1. Hi, Janet – Thank you so much for stopping by to read Janis’ post here. Congratulations on your upcoming ‘complete retirement’. I love how your passion for cards and crafts that you sell in your Etsy Shop does not feel like work at all. I will stop by to visit your site as soon as I reply to comments on this post (Janis is very, very popular)! 🙂

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    2. Hi Janet! I agree that working on art/crafts (even though they are a source of income for you) can be very relaxing and a fulfilling way to spend your time. I imagine that a complete retirement for you will still include that aspect of your life – in fact, I think that a “complete retirement” is more a frame of mind, not necessarily one that is free of generating an income.

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  8. Great post Janis. I’m not fully retired…and I’m beginning to think I don’t want to be…I think I actually like doing work, provided I do it on my terms, with generous dollops of the flexibility to which you refer. I do think there are a great many people (OK…my dh), for whom retirement is a vast and scary blank canvas. jx

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    1. Hi, J – Thank you for stopping by. You make an excellent point about today’s many ‘retirement’, ‘semi-retirement’, and ‘non-retirement’ options. I agree that doing what you love, on your term and with flexibility, sounds ideal. I love the title of your site and am off to visit it now.

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    2. I know a lot of people who were afraid of retirement, but then wondered what they were worried about once they actually did it. But, I also agree that retirement is more a frame of mind. If you continue to work because you love it (and you can choose to stop if you want), then that’s a form of retirement too. It’s all a matter of flexibility and feeling fulfilled.

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  9. I love this Janis. I haven’t experienced the full impact of retirement yet since my husband still works full time and I work two days a week. So most of the time I’m in bed by 9 or 10 and up by 5 or 6. What I love is having the luxury of time in the morning to do what I want, sip on that second cup of coffee and relax. And no, I don’t want to talk on the phone either!

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    1. Hi, Molly – I still find the ‘luxury of time’ to do whatever I want to be an absolute miracle. I’m no longer sure how I was out the door each weekday morning by 7 a.m. …. and usually answering work related emails to 11 p.m. Who knew that this other life actually existed?!

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    2. Hi Molly! I really wish I was an earlier riser because I truly love the quiet of the morning. Maybe I should start setting my alarm again 🙂 I also envy you for having a few days each week of complete “me time.” I love hanging out with my hubby, but I also like the silence and freedom of being alone in my house.

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  10. Great to see you here, Janis! I have a feeling after I retire, I’ll still be waking up at 3:30 a.m. Growing up, my best friend and I used to talk on the phone for hours at a time. These days, I love that we only have cell phones which can be turned off whenever the urge strikes. Thanks for inviting Janis, Donna!

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    1. Yikes, the only 3:30 am that I’m aware of is the one I spend in bed wishing I could go back to sleep. I am a little surprised that after years and years of getting up at 6:00 or 6:30 to get ready for work, that I adjusted quickly to waking up later. I turn my cell phone off every evening and will often forget to turn it on the next day… oops!

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  11. Reading your post made me smile! I could have written exactly that. And add to the whole thing is discovering that I’m part of a community of phone-resistors-dislikers!

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  12. Sounds like a great schedule! I am awake every day usually by 4:30 – 5:00 am, even on the weekends. The weekends give me that early morning solitude that I also enjoy. As for commuting after I retire, I am not sure how I will get my daily adrenaline shot from the idiot drivers around me who are speeding or texting or both. I very much enjoyed this post!

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    1. I would really prefer to be an early riser, but I am not a good through-the-night sleeper so I guess I make up for it by sleeping longer than I’d like. I do like getting up early (it does happen now and then 🙂 ) and having the calm and quiet all to myself. As for as not having that adrenaline shot when you retire… just have some extra couple cups of coffee (much safer).

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    2. Hi, Kristine- I admire your (incredibly) early start to your day and your very positive attitude. I am sure that you will be able to find another adrenaline rush…and one that is a bit safer than fellow drivers who are speeding and texting! 🙂

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  13. Lovely to read more info about you, Janis. Like you I don’t particularly enjoy talking on the telephone, our lifestyle now that is not a problem. The Squire is far more eloquent on the phone, and I am more proficient in writing. Though I do have a great telephone voice, so I am told 🙂 Wind-down time, especially a last jaunt around the neighbourhood before retiring for the night, bliss 🙂 Lie in’s is dependant on whether we have four-legged alarm clocks!

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  14. I so enjoyed reading this, Janis. I am looking forward the the day I can keep retirement hours. I have a three-day weekend this week with no hard and fast plans, and I feel like a queen–choosing what I’m going to do when.

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  15. That sounds like me. I need to find a sign like that, place it on the front door. It will explain to them, why I don’t answer the door, OR phone sometimes.

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  16. Oh Janis, you have summed it up perfectly! I am just writing a post about something similar. Since retiring I sometimes think I’ve become too flexible and can’t seem to settle at doing any one thing!
    I’m trying hard to focus more this year 🙂 But it’s such a wonderful feeling not being a slave to work hours, work dramas and all the accumulated angst. I also time my trips to the shops when it’s not as busy and enjoy sleeping in and reading a good book when the urge hits me. Thanks Donna and janis for another highly entertaining and interesting guest post.

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    1. You are right that the flexibility we savor in retirement can also be a problem. I usually have some sort of a to-do list, but without hard deadlines, it can be harder to accomplish tasks (especially the less desirable ones 🙂 ). But, given the alternative, I’ll take fewer accomplishments over drama and stress any day! I’m looking forward to reading your perspective.

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    2. Hi, Debbie – I love not being a slave to fixed hours, or work dramas. I am very cautious to avoid volunteer positions and social groups that are inflexible and/or entrenched in their own dramas! So far, so good (she says as she knocks on her wooden desk)!

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  17. Hi, Janis. I copied and pasted what you wrote about not wanting to speak on the phone and sent it to my wife. Her daughter has told her in umpteenth many ways how much she hates talking on the phone, so I though it might be helpful for her to see it from someone else not related to her. 🙂

    As someone with a (one-day-a-week) part-time job, I can tell that the best thing about it is that I make sure to leave AFTER rush hour is over. Retirement has its privileges. Great post!

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    1. Hi, Marty – Thanks so much for stopping by. According to the comment section of this post, reticence to speak on the phone is a fairly common thing (much more common than I had realized). I’m glad that you were able to share this for Gorgeous’ daughter. I also agree that being able to avoid rush hour is a great perk of retirement (and semi=retirement)!

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    2. It’s funny how some people take our phone-o-phobia personally – I guess they can’t imagine why we feel this way. My mother-in-law doesn’t understand either. Fortunately, her son (who she probably prefers to talk to anyway), is much better on the phone. I hope my post (and the many comments in agreement) helped your wife understand that it REALLY isn’t her.

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  18. Oh my gosh, Janis, this was so fun to read and love how you added your perspective on the statements from the sign! Now that I’m teaching a night class I can sleep in (whatever that means). I usually awake before my 7am alarm. I, too, would dream about blogging and wake up at 3am with ideas! Great post! Hi Donna!!

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    1. Hi, Terri – Thank you so much for continuing to follow and comment on our blogs even though you are on a (big) blogging break. I would miss you too much if you disappeared completely! 🙂
      Up before 7 a.m. when you teach night classes?? That is true devotion!

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  19. I think you’ve summed up retirement perfectly for me – it’s about doing things at your own pace and in a way that works for you. It’s about not having to keep to someone else’s agenda anymore. I’m getting close to that stage – but still have a couple of days a week where I dance to my employer’s tune (like an organ grinder’s monkey!)

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    1. Hi, Leanne – I cannot remotely imagine you as ‘an organ grinder’s monkey’! Following your posts this past year, I know that you took a negative situation at work and created /presented a proposal that was respectful to all…and allowed you to continue working on your own terms. I am glad that you now have increased time to do what you please at your own pace.

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  20. Hi Janis,
    I love my dogs but when I read posts like this one, I admit to just a teensy tiny bit of regret that I have them. They impose a structure to my day that’s fine. Without it I’d probably be in the house 24/7 reading books, writing, making art. It’s good to have to go out and walk with them and I enjoy it when I’m out there.
    However, I’m not at all free to travel. Shylah is improving by leaps and bounds – she ate out of a bowl yesterday for the VERY FIRST TIME and I’ve had her for almost a year – but she regresses like crazy and she’s afraid of my mom. (No we’ve no idea why.) So flexibility is out the window, at least at the moment.
    Still, there are many aspects of your post that resonate for me and there’s hope that more/all of them will be true for me one day, some day, soon.

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    1. Hi, Karen – Thank you (once again) for your very wise comments. Congratulations to Shylah for achieving her recent milestone — that is great news! Pet ownership is tricky on both sides of the coin. Richard and I lost our dog to illness fifteen months ago. While that technically gives us more freedom to do whatever we want, whenever we want….we would trade that all in in a heartbeat for a bit more time with him.

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    2. Not having a pet was a hard choice for me to make (much easier for my husband) but when my cat died several years ago, we decided that we wanted the freedom to pick up and go whenever we wanted to. I don’t regret that choice, but I’m sure there will be another pet in my life sometime in the future. I have friends who lost their dog last year and have (for now, anyway) decided to go petless for a while so they are freer to travel. They are now exploring pet/house sitting so they can combine the two desires.

      I’m happy to hear about Shylah’s breakthrough! It might seem like a small step, but I know from reading your stories about her that it’s really quite huge.

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  21. Nothing beats the time freedom that comes with retirement. Even-though like you say, we still have appointments and commitments. Sometimes, I think more now than when we were working. Our calendar books up fast, but with enjoyable things. 🙂 Is there really such a thing as sleeping through the night. 🙂

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    1. Hi, Kathy – I wholeheartedly agree! Retirement is a great gig…and as Janis so wisely states “you can’t beat the hours”. Almost three years into retirement and I’ve just began sleeping through a full 8-hour sleep…so there’s hope for all!

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    2. Despite Donna showing off with her full 8-hours of sleep 🙂 , I think there are more of us troubled sleepers than those who get a full nights rest, at least that’s what my highly unscientific polling indicates. It’s so nice to have a calendar full of fun, with a few do-nothing days sprinkled in.

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      1. 🙂 Oops – I honestly wasn’t trying to show off! I am so used to decades and decades of getting 5-6 hours of sleep per night (including my first year of retirement) that I didn’t notice that this had changed. As Richard recently observed, I am now “sleeping like a teenager”. I am not sure how long this will last…but it has been heavenly!

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  22. Ha ha! My retirement hours make me positively euphoric. I go to bed anytime between 9 and midnight. I get out of bed anytime between 5:30 and 7:30 or whenever the house warms up. If I’m sitting in my favorite chair with kitty and book, I’ll probably nod off around 3 PM, which is just fine. Cat naps are a luxury.

    Some nights, my brain jiggles around too. Usually I can turn on my Audible app. I’m usually asleep before 2 minutes has gone by. It takes a long time to get through a book at that rate. 😉

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  23. What a wonderful post. You sound so relaxed!!!! I hope one day to be able to toss my schedule aside, but somehow I feel I still need the structure. I have so many things I want to do. There doesn’t seem like there are enough hours in the day.

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    1. Hi Laura! I often feel that I should create more of a structure for my retired self. I do have several commitments (book club, exercise, lunch dates, various appointments, etc.) throughout the week, but making a schedule for my creative outlets – so I don’t let them slide – would be helpful. And, you are correct, there aren’t enough hours in the day!

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  24. “Even if I’ve relaxed most of the day I still need to switch gears for evening relaxation “

    Best line ever. Hopeful, and nuanced in a way that I can embrace. I like how you plan your days– or not.

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  25. Inspiring post for someone already looking forward to retirement. I so agree with the phone comments. If I wasn’t required to have one for my day job, I think I would quickly go back to a landline. I’ve already told my kids they are just going to have to come see when I retire because I may just implement a no cell phone rule. Who needs to be available 24/7 anyway? Thanks for sharing – I found the humor strangely motivating!

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    1. I have to admit that I am a little surprised at how many commenters expressed a strong dislike for phones (or, at least talking on the phone). We have a VoIP “landline” phone (Ooma… about $3 a month) whose number I give to anyone that I really don’t want to talk to. I have no interest in being available 24/7… Yikes!

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  26. Janis, once again you have exactly expressed something that is the essence of retirement. I just love the time flexibility that I have now, and especially being able to ban the alarm clock. I confess that as a night owl, my bedtimes and rising times have shifted to be much later: bedtime 11:30 – 1:30 and rising 7:30 – 9:30. Many nights I get 9 hours of sleep, although I am plagued by occasional insomnia.

    My former work required me to get over my dread of speaking on the phone. I used to be especially reluctant to speak to answering machines. Even though phoning doesn’t bother me anymore, I love texting – so quick and efficient!

    Jude

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    1. Isn’t it wonderful to be able to schedule your day exactly as you want!? I’m so jealous of your 9 hours of sleep… I’m lucky if I get 6.

      I didn’t have a problem talking on the phone at work since it was part of my job. I think now that I’m retired, I have come to view many phone conversations as an infringement on my time (especially when talking to people who love to talk and can’t seem to end the conversation). Call me, state your business, and hang up 🙂 Longer conversations? Use email.

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  27. I Love this and can really relate to much of it. We JUST got back from a few weeks in India and on our first night at home what were we doing??? planning our next trip of course!!! I too hate the phone and hardly ever turn it on.. I only use it for text whatsapp conversations with my kids in the States.

    Peta

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