Why in the Heck Am I so Busy?!!

It’s been three full years since my retirement. I can still (faintly) hear well-intended voices saying, “You’ll regret leaving work early.” “You’ll be utterly and completely bored!”

Now that ample time has passed, I can honestly reply, “No” and “Not one little bit!”

You’ll be bored…if you choose to be.

Boredom never crosses my mind. As a matter of fact, it’s quite the opposite. A few friends and I were discussing this topic earlier. We are always busy, but can’t always say why. As the purpose of this blog is to record my reflections on retirement, I thought I’d look a little more closely at my calendar. What in the heck have I been doing?

Let’s look back at this past week, shall we?

Yesterday was my turn to host cards over at my place. It’s been a busy card-playing week. That’s highly unusual for me. I did also prepare snacks. That’s a very common activity. So much so, a retired friend recently mentioned that she has made more appetizers during the three years of her retirement than she had made in all previous years of her life.

Retirement reality: Appetizer, anyone?

Sunday – This is the final holiday weekend of summer. It is also the first Sunday since June that Richard and I did not have a commitment (or two…or three…) on our calendars. I attended my favourite morning yoga class (first one this month) while Richard went to the gym. We then took a 14 km (3 hour) round-trip walk from our home. If it sounds ambitious, we did stop at the half-way point for a drink at the Marina. Incentives always work for me!

Saturday – We managed to take in a pancake breakfast, a Farmers’ Market, and a Fall Fair. At breakfast, we ran into good friends. My girlfriend was doing her best to model retired life…she had mistakenly left home still wearing her fluffy slippers! When we left breakfast, she was in search of a new pair of flip-flops so that she could redeem herself for the remainder of her outings.

 

Friday – Richard and I went to visit a friend in the hospital. We have been inspired by our friend and his wife’s incredibly positive attitudes. When others may focus on what they’ve lost, they both have focused on what they have. It’s been a powerful reminder to live our lives fully and to hug everyone that we hold dear (you now have been sufficiently warned)! The calendar reminded me that today was officially “Eat Outside Day.” We grabbed some salad and drinks from our fridge, picked up some cheater-chicken and headed out to the beach. We both wondered aloud why we don’t do this more often!

 

Thursday morning was our weekly hike with the Muttley Crew Walking Group. It was also Part Two of teaching friends to play euchre. That finished just in time for me to attend another friend’s home for dinner…sneaking in the last of the traditional BBQ season. (Just in case said friends are reading, I need to mention that the evening could not have been more lovely.) In between walking and euchre, I also put out the recycling (some jobs you’ve just gotta do) and mailed off winter clothes to our youngest son who will be moving from Singapore to England.

busy - laundry
A change of climate. Brrrr!

Wednesday was Book Club #1 (I’m in two book clubs). We had an engaging discussion of Nancy Horan’s ‘Loving Frank’ (centered around the relationship between Frank Lloyd Wright and Mamah Borthwick).  This biographical fiction invites a large variety of opinion and is an excellent choice for debate. Wednesday was also consumed with washing the previously mentioned winter clothes and sweaters.

Tuesday was Part One of the euchre lessons that I am helping to teach. It was also Richard’s and my weekly volunteer work at the SPCA. Looking to add more unconditional love into your life? There is someone who would like to meet you here or here!

Monday was catching up with a friend who lives part-time on Vancouver Island. Both of our schedules have been so crazy that this is the first day since June we were able to book in together. This friend has recently returned from an ice-breaking voyage to the North Pole. I have (vicariously) experienced many incredible travels through her rich and compelling recounts.

And we thought we were adventurous travelers. It’s all relative!

Sunday I returned from my babysitting stint with Charlie (where I wrote my previous blog post on the Ferry). If you missed that post, you can find it here.

BC Ferries: A great place to eat, browse, nap…or catch up on your blog posts!

For Richard and I, this summer has been filled with driving (Victoria, Vancouver, Kelowna, Edmonton, Rocky Mountains) hanging out with friends and family, as well as TONS of BBQs! Looking at our upcoming calendar, there will be even more BBQs. Richard and I will combine our birthdays and celebrate them together (131!). We will then do more driving for our annual home-exchange in Palm Desert. On top of this, we are getting more serious in our planning for our 1000 kilometer (621 mile) hike across Italy next spring. We also need to add in reading, cooking, cleaning, and… home maintenance among other things.

Perhaps it is simply Parkinson Law, but many of the items listed above seem to consume more time than they once did. My husband and I also outsource less than when we were working. I hand-wash instead of dry-cleaning, we eat more meals at home, and I’ve become my own IT department (groan here). When Guest Hosting for Mr. Money Moustache, Darrow Kirkpatrick addressed the issue of ‘retirement busyness’ with incredible insight. He wisely stated,  “All the projects, goals, and activities that were not possible when you were working, now become possible.” So true! Resonating even more strongly for me, he wrote, “Research and writing is the backbone of my new weekly routine….Blogging lets me produce something creative…. it has plugged me into a network of like-minded people.”  I believe that this can be true for any passion, not just writing.

I am grateful to have the opportunity to live a retirement filled with family and friends. Living in a highly walkable town that offers a wide range of things to do in all seasons has been an incredible advantage. I am always surprised how different each week is from the others. Last month, I managed to squeeze in 22 yoga classes. As I mentioned above, this month was not great for my yoga attendance…nor my gym attendance. At least, as this post confirms, I did remain active.

How was your week?

 

94 Replies to “Why in the Heck Am I so Busy?!!”

  1. Wow, you’ve had some busy days Donna! I am impressed but not amazed at how busy life becomes once you retire. It is so different and the days seem to pass much quicker too than when I was at work! I agree with your findings and always enjoy reading your posts. That walk sounds like an awesome adventure!!

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    1. Hi, Debbie – The days do seem to pass by incredibly quickly, don’t they? It’s likely suddenly our clocks and calendars are on overdrive! I have loved reading your recent travel adventures. You have helped add a few more places to my bucket list!

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  2. I am retired 7 years and my life is busy too. Some of my friends have not yet retired but are close. They keep worrying about being bored. I can’t imagine being bored but I have a lot of interests, many I haven’t even touched on yet. There is always something to do and opportunities around.

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      1. I wasn’t worried about that. The other thing people worry about is being with their spouse 24/7. I found that not to be a problem either. We each have some different interests. Then again, I really like him! 🙂

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      2. I feel the same, Kate! One of the reasons that I chose to retire early was to spend more time with my husband who had chosen to retire. I haven’t been disappointed with this one little bit. Like the two of you, my husband and I have shared interests and different ones as well — and we still really like each other! Who knew this could happen?! 🙂

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  3. Hi Donna – I enjoyed reading this wonderful snapshot of your retirement. I agree that ‘you’ll be bored if you choose to be’. There are endless things to do or try. It’s the time and energy that are finite. My week was absolutely fun-filled with many family meals and my cousin’s wedding in Paris.

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    1. Hi, Natalie – I knew that I was missing something in my sentence about boredom being a choice. I absolutely agree that time, energy, finances and heath are limited and impact the choices that we make. Thank you for adding this.
      I read your return post last night. Your recent trip sounds amazing — I can’t wait to read more.

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  4. Sounds like a great week – and retirement lifestyle you’ve designed for yourself. I’m almost about to post thoughts on my recent week (not turning out as planned). I’m not retired, but had 6 days with originally no calendared obligations or activities – and was as busy as ever!

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  5. It’s so true – boredom never crosses my mind. Life is full. Summer was bookended with road trips, one to Saskatchewan and one to BC. There was a week at home after the BC trip when it was time to play catch-up with yard work, food prep, the monthly play date with friends, a house concert. The past week was spent with my delicious granddaughters, aged 8 & 10 yrs. In between the 3.5 hr drive one way to fetch them then deliver them home – slow mornings, playing outside, crafts, library & reading, movie nights, wiener roasts, card games, scrabble, photography, baking, school shopping, garden harvest. In the words of my SIL – there’s always a list of things left undone so there’s no boredom.

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  6. Donna, Lovely to hear about your busy days. Mine are not quite as busy as I am consciously trying to BE more and DO less. That said, looking at last week – yoga – check, walk & talk -check, zumba – check, BBQ – check, SUP – check, yard work – check, wine tasting evening – check. Add in a couple of wild & crazy things…. and OK, maybe I need to work better on the “BE more”. LOL. I like your re-phrase “time, energy, finances and health are limited and impact the choices that we make”. But we can always choose to be happy.

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    1. Hi, Pat – That does sound like a very active week. I’m jealous about the SUP — I am WAY. TOO. CHICKEN. I agree that we cannot always control our circumstances, but we do usually have choice about our attitude towards them. IRL, and in my blogging life, I try to hang out with positive people. They are usually awesome models of how our approach can affect all around us.

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  7. My dad always said, “retirement is a full-time job”. Splitting time between two beautiful locations with added in travel is my kind of ideal. Thanks for sharing your week.

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    1. Thanks, Ingrid. Your Dad sounds like a very wise man. My husband and I do not have a vacation home or RV, but we do try to squeeze in as much travel as possible. That is also my kind of ideal! Thanks so much for reading and commenting. I greatly appreciate it!

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  8. I can imagine that when I am fully retired I will not be bored either. I can think of so many things I’d like to do and even if we are not able to travel much, I can always read and work in my craft room. I never tire of that! Nice post Donna!

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  9. Hi Donna! As you know I’m not yet retired…more like semi-retired…but everyone I know feels the same way as you. How did they ever manage to get things down when working! Call me crazy, but I’m actually finding that I do better when I “schedule” my relaxing downtime. It is amazing to me how activities expand according to the amount of time you have. As I’m out of town on a vacation, I “scheduled some reading” and in a little over a week have polished over 2.5 books (fiction) which is a real treat for me. I also scheduled some great “guest poster” for my blog and even though that still requires checking in to manage the “backend” of a blog, it give me a sense of freedom. IMHO the only time staying busy is a problem is if we are making ourselves crazy AND/OR avoiding something we don’t want to face. Otherwise it makes for a fulfilling life. Enjoy! ~Kathy

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    1. Hi, Kathy – I always look forward to your comments. They are incredibly insightful and help to ramp my thinking up a notch. I don’t think that it is crazy to book in downtime. If I didn’t schedule time for reading, I know I wouldn’t get as much done.
      I’ve greatly enjoyed the Guest Posts on your site. They have each taken the Rightsizing or S.M.A.R.T. principal and have shown how others have applied these concepts to their lives.
      I look forward to catching up soon. So much to chat about!!

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  10. When you’re retired, it appears that you’re as busy as always, just with different things. I notice this about my mom as well.

    Boredom is something I have and will never experience. There’s so much to do and see in this world and just living life keeps one busy. I had the same feeling living on our boat… I’d run errands (all much slower than “normal”), like grocery shopping on foot or doing laundry by hand, and the day would be gone. “What did I do all day?” I’d ask myself, each and every day. The days were filled, yet, when writing my diary at night, I had a hard time remembering what it was I did all day…

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    1. Hi, Liesbet – I completely agree that “just living life keeps one busy”. Your statement is amplified when trying to live life as fully and meaningfully as possible — something that you model very well! I look forward to seeing you and Mark soon.
      BTW – Do you know where you will be in October/November?

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  11. Boy those appetizers look delish! My weeks are filled with bridge (3 days a week), water aerobics (2 days a week), hiking every chance I get, reading (I’m only in one book group, and that’s enough). Though my weeks have similar schedules, I know what you mean, no two weeks are the same. I love that about retirement.

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  12. Retirement the Donna way sounds divine! I have known so many retirees who say they don’t know how they ever had time to work. I imagine I will be one of them some day! Here’s hoping anyways….thanks for sharing how fun and busy retirement can be, with us.

    Deb

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    1. Hi, Deb – Your phrase “Retirement the Donna way” made me smile. This has been a heavy euchre-playing week for me, and I have a horrible tendency to over trump my partner. My circle of friends call this move “pulling a Donna”! I much prefer your expression! 🙂

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  13. You have been busy, Donna! Though my summer was more laid back than most while I recovered from a concussion, my schedule has gone into overdrive with the new month. I still work two days per week and will be going back to 8 hour days this week. I also begin picking up my younger grandson after pre-K two days a week and will babysit him for the afternoon. One of those days, he and I will go pick up his older brother after his full day of school. My church choir practice is Thursday night and I have a book group on Tuesdays. Yikes! I’m afraid to retire. I can’t take on any more activities!

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  14. Loved the diary Donna! I notice many photos of food or writing about it! Your life sounds full and fun – and I bet the days just fly by. Kudos on that 3 hour walk! Bliss! Life is busy here too … barely a moment to breath. It’s spring here in South Africa and I’ve been tending to the garden a bit. And packing – off to Cape Town tomorrow and attending to last minute things, like bills to be paid … and ensuring that my husband KNOWS where the food is, in the freezer. (at least I hope that’s where I put it – I better check the dishwasher)

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    1. Hi, Susan – Yup, I’m that girl in the restaurant diligently photographing her dinner, while her husband groans impatiently in the background!
      Enjoy your trip to Cape Town. Too funny about putting the food in the dishwasher. There are days when I could totally do that! 🙂

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  15. I love your busy life and you prove that life does not stop when we retire. Like you, my months are full of activity although I do crave the times I can lay down and read a book. I suppose the key is to enjoy what we are doing. As I read your post, I was thinking about ‘Balance’ in life. Some would suggest that we should find the balance between activity and rest, however, you sound so happy and alive that I feel instead of ‘balance’ we should all concentrate on what works for us as individuals. If you are happy being busy with enjoyable activities rather than getting caught in the busyness of life to justify our existence, then I say ‘GO FOR IT’. Have a beautiful September and thank you so much for being part of the #MLSTL group. 🙂

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    1. Hi, Sue – Thank you for your very thoughtful comment. I agree that we all need to find our equilibrium — and that the recipe is different for each of us. If I am too inactive, I find that I am more out of balance than I am on more active days.
      BTW – I’ve switched the timing of my posts to line up with #MLSTL. I’m a true fan!

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  16. I, of course, agree with everything you’ve written here. I feel very busy too… except I often have a hard time quantifying what I do if I’m asked. I rely on our household hand written calendar to remind us of appointments, commitments, and those glorious days when nothing is scheduled. I loved your little aside about your friend in her furry slippers… I often have to do a clothes inventory before I leave the house (it’s not forgetfulness, it’s that I love wearing comfortable clothes that aren’t always appropriate for public viewing 🙂 ).

    I really look forward to seeing you later this year… I know we will have much to talk about.

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    1. Hi, Janis – That’s the consensus that we reached in my last book club … and the reason that I wrote this post. I always seem to be on the go, but when people ask what I’ve been doing with my time, I am sometimes stumped!
      I’m all for comfortable clothes. It’s a rare day that I don’t wear yoga pants.
      I’m really looking forward to our catch-up. So much to discuss!

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  17. After a week with family who were experiencing various illnesses we were glad to pack up the caravan and drive to Queensland for warmer weather. With the kayak on the roof and the fold up bikes in the back of the car plenty of exercise was planned. On the first day I came down with a massive cold so have spent my time reading books and checking out coffee shops. Today I’m getting on my bike to start building up my fitness again. Getting away from the busy retired routine at home in our RV is one way of escaping that busy calendar. It’s also great to get back to the aqua jogging and yoga classes when I get home.

    One thing I haven’t tried is cards. I used to play 500 with the family which is a bit like euchre and have friends who play bridge. I suppose I’m a bit anti-social and like having time to myself. I’m thinking about doing a writing course online so I can write that book I’m continually planning in my mind.

    Enjoy your retirement. Now I’m getting over my cold I’m planning on enjoying mine too.

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  18. I am so glad there’s someone else who also goes out with their slippers. I like to think it has no relationship to retirement, but having said that I’m also not aware of my doing that prior to retiring. I only usually go as far as the steps outside, but I’m sure my day of wearing them clear through to my destination is just around the proverbial corner. I never learned euchre, though it was popular in my midwestern home. – Marty

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    1. Hi, Marty – It’s great to see you back in this corner of the blogosphere. From your last post, it sounds like you had a great (well-deserved) break. My friend did go a little further than a few steps with her fuzzy slippers on. But she was incredibly comfortable, so I thought that she should keep them on for the rest of the day! 🙂 Welcome back!!

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  19. Hi, Terri – I often do three separate events on one day, so probably the best description from your list is “all of the above! ” 🙂
    Any chance that you and your husband will be able to meet the gang in Palm Desert this year? Fingers crossed!

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  20. I agree – you’re only bored if you allow yourself to be. Whilever you’re curious, that won’t happen. Ducking over to read more about this hike in Italy!

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    1. Hi, Jo – As is usual with our big hikes, Richard is already pumped…while I am excited and terrified at the same time! The Via Francigena is the 2000 km ancient route that in medieval times connected Canterbury, England to Rome. Richard and I will hike just the Italian section (1,000 km). I am incredibly grateful that Richard did not push to do the whole thing! I will keep you posted. 🙂

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  21. Well your life is definitely very full indeed Donna – I feel the same way about working part-time. I always wondered how I’d fill my days if I worked less. Now I’m down to 2 days a week of work and I can’t believe how quickly the other 5 days fly by! I feel like there should be more hours in the day so I could laze a few of them away! I loved reading about your busy week – you seem to have a very balanced and interesting time – and that’s a credit to you both x

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    1. Hi, Leanne – I agree that days seem to fly by. Thank you for your kind comment. Although my days are definitely busy – they also have a balance that feels right for me. When they get out of balance, I try to adjust them the best that I can. I had a very active day today, and am now lounging on my couch indulging in reading #MLSTL posts!

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  22. Super excited about your Italy hike!! You have so much fun and so much energy. I was exhausted just reading about your week. But you motivated me to expand my card games beyond bridge. I’m open to suggestions!! I used to play euchre years ago in our Ontario days. Not sure I remember now. Great blog as always.

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    1. Hi, Louise – Thank you so much for reading and commenting. It is you who inspires and motives me. I am up early to prepare for my 6:30 a.m. HOT YOGA class. My first hot class ever (I’ve planned on going previously but have always chickened out)! I will let you know how it goes.
      We play euchre on Mondays at 1 pm at the Canadian Legion if you’d ever like to join us! I’d be happy to give you a crash course anytime!

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    1. Hi, Trisha – Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting. I had decided on the theme of this post a week ahead of time. I then wrote it up each day as a diary entry. The funny thing is, last week was not as busy as most. I was afraid that commenters would write, “What is she going on about. She’s not that busy at all!”

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  23. Your week sounds absolutely divine to this retiree-wannabe. I look forward to the days when I can exercise, write, sight see, and spend time with family and friends during the day, instead of squeezing it in before or after work. Of course, I’m trying to remember to live in the present and appreciate the joys of today, but posts like this one make it difficult. 🙂

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  24. Hi Donna, Loved this post! It’s what I’ve said to myself all the years (plus 10) of my retirement. Even with wakening at 5 am most mornings to do my writing, I can barely get it all in! Two things are going on I think—it takes us a bit longer to do things, and we just can’t resist doing some of the wonderful things open to us!

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    1. Hi, Diane – Your theory makes good sense to me. Despite the best of intentions, I can’t get everything done that I’d like to either. But I’m having fun trying…and it’s reassuring to know that I can change the rules, my strategies, or my goals at any time! Thanks so much for commenting. I greatly appreciate it.

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    1. Re-energized! I absolutely love that! Janis uses the Spanish word “Jubilación” for retirement. That works too! It’s super exciting to know that it only takes appetizers to get an invitation to visit your amazing adventures. Heck, I’d even throw in dessert! 🙂

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  25. This reminded me so much of the last guest post I wrote for you, Donna. I think boredom only becomes a reality if one allows it to. Even as a child, I never got bored.
    You packed in a lot over just one week. I think many of us do the same, although probably don’t realise it. If we allow ourselves to sit in front of the TV each and every day (and do little else), we allow life to seep past us. I’m so glad to see you have no intention of doing that. Keep on enjoying life to the full.
    Best wishes.

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    1. Hi Hugh – “How Not to Kill Time” was a very popular Guest Post. I agree that many of us pack a great deal into our days without even realizing it. It is so common for retirees to say “I am so busy, but I have no idea why!” Thanks so much for stopping by. I always appreciate your thoughtful comments.

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  26. You are certainly busy!! I don’t think I could ever be bored there’s just too much to fit into a day. Still selling my business last year I haven’t stopped although there’s a slight difference in the way that I now have time to be busy doing some things for myself, such as Yoga, fitness & of course blogging. I’m intrigued about ‘euchre’, I’m not familiar with it at all, will have to look that up. 😊 great post

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    1. Hi, Sam – Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting. I had never played euchre until I retired (it would have never made my “time management cut”). 🙂
      Euchre is a trick-taking card game played with a partner in a group of four. I believe that it is more popular in some areas than others – including Michigan, Ontario, Cornwall and the West Country of England. I am off to check out your site now!

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    1. Hi, Aimer – I usually play euchre at the Legion — so no appetizers are required. As for appetizers at my house, I find that my friends are never fussy — and I can compensate for poor, unsightly or two few appetizers by having a good bottle of wine on hand! 🙂

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  27. I don’t understand those who fear boredom after retirement. I have far too many interests 🙂 It seems like you both have found a lovely retirement routine that make for full, productive lives.

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  28. Hi, Donna,
    You are in inspiration and do a great service to all those who wonder “what the heck am I going to do when I retire?” I know that I am busier than ever, but I think you have me beat. As for my week, Helen and I are on a five week RV trip through the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina and Virginia. We’re trying to take it all in before Hurricane Florence forces us to turn back.

    Sure hope you find something to do next week. (BTW, LOVE your new format) JB

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    1. Hi, Joe – Thank you so much for stopping by. I always love it when you do. Thanks for your supportive words about my post, and about my new format. (It was definitely time for a theme change)!
      I look forward to reading about your adventures through the Blue Ridge Mountains.

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  29. You sure have been busy but isn’t it wonderful? Now you’re able to go and do all that you want to do without worrying about getting home and getting in bed and waiting for the alarm to go off to start your work day. Enjoy every moment, you’ve earned it! Shared x 4 ♥

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  30. Hi Donna, Very glad to know that you are fully engaged even after your retirement. That’s the way to go.
    A few more years for me to enter the retirement phase. While I am looking towards a less hectic phase, I hope to be occupied with something constructive and creative.
    – Pradeep | bpradeepnair.blogspot.com

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  31. Like several others who have commented, I have never been bored in my life. In retirement, I have replaced the many hours of work time with activities that I used to have to squeeze into the margins of my life. My ongoing challenge remains trying to prevent myself from getting TOO busy.

    Jude

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  32. I can relate to this phenomenon known as Crazy Calendar 🙂 This past summer right up to last week has been exactly like this … and I loved every minute of it.

    … but this week? Nothing. Blissfully not a single thing.
    … and I’m wasting every minute of it without guilt 😉

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