Sunday, June 5, 2011

Nana Reflects on Retirement

I recently wrote a comment on a blog that said something like “If I’ve learned anything from retirement, it’s…” Which got me to thinking about what I have learned over the past two years of being retired.

  • There are very few things that can’t be done tomorrow, or never if I don’t get around to it.

  • Activities expand to fill available time.  It now takes me three times a long to get something done that I used to do after work, while I made dinner.  Activities that used to be tacked on to other chores have become primary activities. Whew! Sometimes you just need to take a nap.

  • There are very few things that I absolutely have to do. I no longer have to spend time with people I don’t like or respect. My social calendar is smaller, but much more enjoyable. It takes a lot to nudge me away from home. I no longer attend “duty” events. If I don’t want to do it, I don’t. With no excuses necessary.

  • It took me two years to be comfortable letting go of my work identity. I can now say simply “I’m retired” without going into what I used to do. I’ve let it go.

  • It was difficult to let go of the “busy” excuse. I am no longer “busy” in the sense that my time is externally controlled, but I’m still not cooking gourmet meals, keeping a spotless house, or organizing get- togethers with friends. I can’t blame these failings on being busy; I just do only what I want to do now. I’m not busy, face it...I'm just a bad cook, careless housekeeper, and a recluse.

  • It’s okay to stay up late. I don’t need an alarm clock to wake up. I can take a nap if I want to.

  • I still don’t know what I’m supposed to be doing in retirement. I don’t even have a Bucket List of adventures and challenges to accomplish. In fact, I’m less interested in travel now because I don’t have to get away to be able to relax.

If I had to do it over again, I'd probably plan better.  Or, maybe not.  There's nothing to stop me from planning now, except I'm so busy...



  1. It sounds to me you've worked this retirement lark out pretty darn fine, so far! Now the children are older, I consider myself "semi-retired" (smile), and I completely understand how most activities tend to expand to fit the day - isn't that so frustrating?

    I am a very happy house hermit, too! On the rare ocassions I do venture out, it's because I WANT to (though I don't include my Shrinky taxi service in that, a compulsary chore I'll happily leave behind once - please God - my little cherubs eventually learn to drive).

    It did take me years to stop justifying my worth by informing folk that "I used to be.." - it's a sad fact we do tend to value ourself by the job we do, and I found it hard to be viewed as "just" a stay at home mum. It took a while for me to get over myself, but I have to admit I LOVE being in charge of how I choose to spend (most) of my time. The only big drawback is I no longer have any excuses as to why I don't achieve all those things I always said I would "if only I had the time"..

  2. I actually wonder how I ever managed a full-time job, my life is so busy today. Everything you said here is true for me, too. I don't ever do much housework, never did, but hubby likes things neat and does the cleaning and cooking.

    Thanks for taking the time to enumerate all this, it has made me think...

  3. I love this post and I agree with it 100%! You get 5 stars in 'retirement'!!!

  4. Excellent list!

    I'm still a list maker, but almost anything can be moved down or off the list.

    I've always loved to read. Now I have time.

  5. I have been retired since February. I am becoming a recluse. I had been such a people person/pleaser, that I just don't care to see everybody I used to associate with; only the ones I truely care about. Life is too short to waste time on those who waste my time.

  6. I love this post! I am two and a half years away from retirement and can't wait! Do you mind if I live vicariously through you for a while?!

  7. Great last line! I think as long as you find some joy in each day, you're on the right track.


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