Relishing retirement and “conscious squandering”

The beloved husband in warmer weather.

The beloved husband in warmer weather.

People ask me about retirement. Do I enjoy it? Hell, yeah! Really, I’m lucky! Very lucky!

No white-knuckle driving! I was grateful during the last record-breaking snowstorm. I didn’t have to drive or worry about parking. There was no need to get to a job. All I missed was my Starbucks Joe.

The beloved husband dug us out before the commercial contractors. My help was limited to getting to the bird feeders and buying him snow pants to keep him warm. The latter happened several years ago and I still take credit for that. I’m hoping that thoughtful action will give me winter credits until we move to the nursing home.

Some people worry about spending time (a lot of time) with their spouse. I like my spouse. He has interests that keep him busy and happy. I have other interests. When we come together there is always something to talk about. I do more talking but he is a great grunter. Great primordial grunts that I get. I’m very lucky.

He’s a great partner for idea bouncing. He doesn’t freak out when I say, “I have an idea.” Secretly he is trying to figure out how to talk me out of it. Sometimes he will embrace it. Sometimes it really is a pipe dream. Sometimes he does the pipe dream anyway just because I want it. So lucky!

My mother lost my dad before either of them were retirement age. They would have enjoyed retirement together. That makes me especially grateful. Really lucky.

Working people (obviously envious!) often ask what we do all day. I do all those things I’ve always wanted to do but never had time. Some of them I didn’t know I wanted to do.

I enjoy my cats. I take photographs of them, most are blurry because they are cats. I have thousands of pictures of butts and tails.

Sometimes we (the cats and me) will catch up on a missed program or snuggle and read a book. (Yes they can read! You think I have dumb cats?)

Occasionally I have a project to do. Projects are of my own choosing. I don’t do things I don’t enjoy. You hire people for that.

My curiosity takes me all sorts of places. YouTube is the best thing since sliced bread and so is Google. I can do all sorts of things. If I’m curious I look it up and watch how it works. Anything…it’s all there. (There is the Kamasutra for that other stuff. I wonder if there’s a version for achy joints.)

My appointments are conveniently scheduled during the day time hours so I’m not squished in with working people. I get in sooner and get out quicker. The risk of getting a double or triple booked time isn’t as great.

Life is not as intense. When I worked I had to be frugal with my time. I worked from a list to get things done. Never deviating (mostly). Saturdays were days when I shopped at crowded stores with other cranky workers.

I love weekday shopping! Aside from getting run over by walkers or hit by canes, it’s good. Seniors can be cranky too…just saying.

I squander time as my interests guide me. I call it “conscious squandering.” It’s quite a luxury. The concept would have given me night terrors during my working years. You know…a purpose for every minute! Accomplishment! Onward!

I’m never bored. There are a ton of things I haven’t yet gotten to. There’s no hurry. Maybe I’ll get there and maybe not!

Some of you are retired. Were you disappointed? What are your favorite three things about retirement?

 

60 thoughts on “Relishing retirement and “conscious squandering”

  1. It took me a while to finally relax and accept that it’s okay not to be productive. Too many years of hitting deadlines, managing people (and their endless quirks and personalities), and always having so many plates spinning at one time that it’s surprising I never completely collapsed from exhaustion. It actually took me about two years to finally get to the point where I was okay with having a schedule that wasn’t packed with “necessary tasks”. These days I’m enjoying have the choice about how I squander my time. And really appreciating the gift of some of the simpler things about life, such as feeding the birds or listening to the wind tickling the wind chimes.

    My favorite thing, probably, is having so much more time to spend with my pups. We snuggle and talk and play all the time, and it’s such a luxury to fritter away an hour just giving them puppy massages or throwing the stuffed monkey. They absorb affection like a sponge, and always seem to end up making me smile. Lucky me. 🙂

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  2. I’m lucky to work when I want to … which is teaching yoga and coaching clients every morning apart from Thursdays.
    My husband is returned now after a few consulting jobs. He is so happy.
    It makes me happy that he’s happy.
    We meet for lunch most days in the kitchen, and sometimes go on a date after the supermarket shopping in the afternoon. We laugh because we do what old people people do and we love it!

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  3. We are semi-retired, but I love the idea that I don’t feel as frantic about getting up and going off to work. Afternoon walks feel more leisurely, and also having more time to putt around literally and figuratively, that’s pretty cool too. But most enjoyable, is the fact that I get to spend more time watching our youngest grow in his appreciation for music and playing in an orchestra.

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  4. I too, love retirement Kate! Your descriptions are perfect, especially the one sided conversations with husband. It’s really all about freedom. But it has taken me over 20 years to realize I can get up late in the morning and not be late for work! I also love going out for dinner early so there are never any crowds. And living waaaay out in the country and not worrying about a long commute to work.

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    • This list of things I miss is very short. I miss the paycheck….sometimes. I don’t need to buy a lot of stuff anymore so it’s less of an issue. I miss a built in challenge although my house does that sometimes. Like I said, short list.

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  5. Great post, Kate. I’m sort of retired, working at something I enjoy doing when I want to do it. My wife will retire in June and then we’ll do other things together. But you’re right about not having to squeeze everything in on the weekends. Shopping during the week is so much less stressful. It took a little getting used to initially, but it’s really a fun time.

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  6. Although I was nervous about retiring, I have NO REGRETS! Probably my favorite thing about it is being able to stay home during a snowstorm, have some hot chocolate and watch the birds at the feeder. You hit on all the things that I love about retirement, Kate. For me, it boils down to freedom to choose how to spend or “squander” my time.

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  7. We’re not quite to your level of freedom yet. Interesting to read the comments about what retirement is and isn’t. I rarely go to YouTube, never think of it. When I’m frittering my time away on the internet I’m reading articles, like I would have done in the library years ago. [Hence today’s post with all the links.] I wonder if when we get to retirement age, YouTube will suddenly call to me? 😉

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    • Maybe, maybe not. I love it because I enjoy “how to” things. I don’t like to spend more than 10 minutes on my hair but I will watch endless hours of YouTube on how to style or cut it. Any appliance I’ll check if there is a YouTube “how to.” I also like Jimmy Fallon’s clips and a few others too.

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  8. First, I enjoy my grandchildren SO much! One day we were crossing the street and I wanted Owen to hold my hand. I didn’t want to hurt his feeling so I asked him if I could hold HIS hand. He took my hand gently and said, “Don’t worry, Grandma. Cars usually stop for the elderly.” Usually!!! Second, I can paint, exercise, cook, bake, garden, read, or do puzzles Whenever I want!!! Third, my sweet husband of almost 50 years goes out every morning so I have that time to myself. And when he comes home we talk about what he was reading about. He keeps himself busy and so do I. Love it!!!!

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  9. Lovely portrait of hubbie and not blurry at all… I guess you got him to sit still, unlike the cats! My unretired friends seem to be in two camps… the ones who are counting the seconds to their last day at work… and the ones who are afraid if they retire their life will be over. I actually “retired” accidentally before I intended, which was tough for a while. But now I am legitimately retired my life is busier than ever… I don’t know how I fitted all this stuff in when I was working full time. When people ask me how I feel about being retired I always respond: Best job ever!!!

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    • The photo was taken last summer with my old camera. He is easier than cats that way. I find men are more likely to be in the second group with women in the first although not always. It’s scary because you don’t know how you will really feel until after you have committed. I have no idea how I got all the stuff done before. I must have been frazzled.

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  10. NOT disappointed about retirement… NOT! I retired in 2001 from retail, CH retired the first time in 1995 as an Army Aviation Officer and I have to say that I found him home then a little rough. Not ready for not a minute to myself. He started another career after me making him walk two hours every morning so I still had my mornings… he wasn’t going to retire at 44 anyway! So he retired again in 2007 from banking and in 2007 it all worked out fine! I do still need time to myself but he golfs now and has to help his Mom once a week or whenever needed. We both volunteer at our local shelter to socialize the cats and play with the kittens. We enjoy being together and have similar interests. Best part of retirement… the luxury of doing what we want to do when we want to do it. Clean vehicles because we don’t have to go out in stinkin’ weather and I can shop when all the masses are at work and the kiddies are in school. Heading to Florida for a few weeks in winter is a plus too! And then I have to say we love our wine time at 4pm… it’s not so much the wine but the chitchat and laughter.

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  11. Well my situation is a little different because I am in forced “retirement.” I definitely miss working, but I’m also enjoying the flexibility to sleep in, avoid snowstorms, spend more quality time with my cats (in other words, watching them sleep all day). I like being able to make hair appts., grocery shop, etc. during off hours. I think it would be nicer if my husband wasn’t working every day…but maybe not…

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    • I don’t know if I would have ready earlier in life. There were two years when I didn’t work in my 40s. I was married to my ex and we had moved. My job was to manage a house addition so I was very busy. I like the social aspect of work and find that’s the hardest thing to duplicate. Now I am fully ready and appreciate less work drama.

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  12. Having just come back from a client’s where the roads were awful..and someone in front of me went off the road and into the fields…I can’t wait until the days when I don’t have to drive in the snow anymore!

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  13. So glad you are enjoying your retirement Kate. H is retiring at the end of this school year. I’m wondering how that’s going to go. I work from home and may never retire! But he squanders time easily. Me? Not so much. It makes me nervous to see him do absolutely nothing on some weekends! He says he is resting… Resting takes a lot of time. I probably squander more time when he’s not around…how will that ever happen when he’s home? I must pull one of those home projects out of the jar for him. Really…I’m happy for him and I we have lots of adventures planned. It’s easierwhen you make your own hous as I do. ~Elle

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    • It will be an easier transition for you. A friend of mine just closed her business completely. She will be 70 shortly. She spent some years tapering off and picking her clients carefully. That’s almost as good as retiring. With the time squandering, unless it’s so pervasive that it impacts health, let him do it. After years of working he deserves a sabbatical! One thing I learned with my husband was to make no judgements. Sometimes he will watch TV shows (that he slept through) in the morning. Other days he will be working on something. It’s all good. He’s active and healthy.

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  14. Great blog! When I retired one of my students said “Congratulations on becoming the CEO of your own life!” What a perfect description of what my life would become. And, the key word for me is choice. If I am tired, it is because I chose to stay up late. If I am bored, it is because I am choosing not to be productive. Yes, as one of the other blogers said, “What’s not to love about it?”

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  15. Priceless!!!!!!!!.. Couldn’t have said it better myself. You are an amazing writer…
    You asked what I do? I exercise twice a week..and dance in the living room to funky music..streaming from Youtube almost every day. I recently started taking African Drum lessons..I love to garden in the good weather..and I have lunch with my women friends ..etc. etc. etc. I love being retired..

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  16. Retirement? My only regret is that I should have done it earlier.
    – I get paid for doing whatever I want (I pre-paid to a retirement plan)
    – I have no schedule to keep
    – I really don’t answer to anybody
    – I can be productive, or not, because I have the choice.
    What’s not to love about it? 🙂

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    • Colin, you said it! I did know old guys when I was just starting out that never wanted to retired because work was their whole life. They had disconnected with their wife somewhere along the line and weren’t looking forward to spending time together. Our generation started working on the life balance thing early on! Woo hoo!

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