Then and now – not so subtle changes of retirement

Last Friday the beloved husband and I were moaning the fact that the weekend was here. Seriously. We are not fond of the weekend. Friday blah. Monday yay!

I know. So different from when we worked. We always looked forward to a weekend without the early rise (although we get up early anyway) and getting dressed up (does anyone do that anymore?). There was the driving through heavy traffic and grumpy morning people without coffee. Weekends were bliss.

On weekends there might be a leisurely breakfast at one of the area diners or restaurants and some “fun” shopping. (Yeah, even I can’t believe that!)

Now we hibernate on weekends. (Is it over yet?) Leisurely breakfasts are even more leisurely during the week. They are a lot less busy and they have “specials” that aren’t available on the weekend.

I won’t say shopping is more fun but you don’t have to battle overfilled carts to get to the checkout.

The only caution for weekday shopping is stay away from senior day. It’s a double-edged sword. Yes, you get a discount but you have to battle with walkers, canes and (gah!) those motorized carts, any one of which may kill you. They are driven by people with no patience and poor eyesight (sounds a lot like me doesn’t it?).

Back then, we used to meet up with friends at a bar. I can’t remember the last time I sat at a bar for more than a short wait for a table. Didn’t I notice how uncomfortable those high seats were? Or sitting with dangling legs? Or how you can’t make a balanced meal out of bar nuts.

Now we meet up with friends for dinner (and always complain about how noisy the restaurant is) or at someone’s home. It’s easier and we keep expectations sane. A margarita out of a jelly jar is just as good.

Some of my readers are retired and some are not. Can any retiree add an attitude that changed? If you are not retired what change did you see in other retirees?

92 thoughts on “Then and now – not so subtle changes of retirement

  1. I’ve never really given any thought to weekdays vs weekends, but after reading your post, I tend to agree with you. I tend to stay close to home on the weekends. The traffic, crowds, etc just aren’t my thing and weekdays are a much better alternative to doing almost everything.

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  4. I love being able now to sit down and eat a proper breakfast at a leisurely pace (almost) everyday but I can’t say my weekends have changed. Maybe it’s because there really is something special about Shabbat (the Sabbath) even when, like me, you aren’t really religious, and that doesn’t change, retired or not. I still always seem to be busy during the week and I feel far, far less pressured at the weekend.
    One odd thing though. Before I retired, I pictured myself taking long weekends abroad every few months and at least one longer trip, maybe two, each year, but that hasn’t happened. In fact, I am doing less travelling, not more and feeling much more reluctant to leave my home, even for short trips.

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    • Traveling was never my goal for retirement. I did a lot when I was young. Now I delight in no schedules. I love enjoying great weather or outdoor walks or even leisurely grocery shopping without tons of people. There is a lot to do and I often wonder how I got it all done when I worked. Then I remember. I ran from place to place and never stopped to truly enjoy.

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  5. I am looking ahead – or more accurately, more enthusiastically looking towards retirement. It’s the commute and the early rising and the deadlines and so forth that I am getting less tolerant in these last years. Thanks for sharing this. Guess it is not all trips to Tahiti and gardening, but to find and refocus on what we have passion toward. I have my church and charitable work.

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    • I am a morning person so most of my career I got to work very early. The last few years not so much. Getting up wasn’t a struggle but the getting showered and dressed at top speed, grabbing food and racing out the door. Don’t miss that at all. Sounds like you have a good starting point for your retirement.

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  6. I never really thought about this until I became semi retired but it’s very true. I love running errands during the week but hate going out on weekends to shop, especially Sunday food shopping which is a zoo.
    I think it takes a while for your internal mind clock to adjust to everything associated for the non work week; the feeling you get on a Friday afternoon, the dread you might feel on a Sunday night..:)
    Sometimes when we’re out for lunch during the week and a group on their lunch break come in, I try to remember what that was like and for a quick moment I might miss feeling part of that community. But it passes pretty quickly..:)

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    • I also miss the feeling of community but it passes. I remember the scramble to get back to work while I’m leisurely finishing my lunch. A retired friend and I met some work friends. We remained catching up long after the workers went back.

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  7. I have enjoyed cooking after retirement. For breakfast I do something involving the stove about four times a week. What a contrast to shoveling in cereal every weekday! We now have real vegetables and good entrees for dinner. Best of all, John and I sit for half an hour or more chatting after a meal. That is luxury!

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    • Oddly, when I worked I made breakfast on Sundays. Now I don’t. I don’t know why. We like breakfast. I do more creative coking for dinner these days. (Although we had pizza for supper!)

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  8. I’m still working, but I am not fond of weekends. I find that if I don’t have a structure to my day I just sink into a puddle of nonproductive web surfing. But I have also convinced myself that I don’t want to fill up my weekends with “obligations” so I don’t end up having any structure.

    I think I will never be able to retire. They will find me dead from non-movement 3 weeks after the retirement party, with my laptop melted onto my body.

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  9. I am not quite eligible to retire yet, but I have resigned from a very stressful, all-consuming career, and I’m now on long service leave. It’s the first genuine leave I’ve had in decades, and it was six full weeks before I slowed down enough to just blow off a day doing nothing. That can’t be good! Hopefully, over the remaining weeks of leave, I will have opportunities to re-start some of the old hobbies I’ve missed dearly. And then, hopefully I will find a more balanced kind of work to see me through these last years to proper retirement. Huge doses of solitude, quiet and de-cluttering will (I am sure) make me a better and more present friend, parent, and person. I cannot express how much I look forward to slowing down and feeling the freedom of choice!

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    • In the late 80s I moved to a different state (spousal job move) and took a year sabbatical. I then changed professions. Two moves later, I went back to corporate work but I was in a better position. I knew what I wanted and what I didn’t want. I left one job (with a great company) because I didn’t have enough work. My next job proved very busy but I was ok with that. I get bored easily and with routine so I needed challenge. The year put some things in perspective for me and I hope your break does too.

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  10. I was just thinking about this the other day. Like you, I try to stay away from most places on the weekends… to many people. Unfortunately, there are some things I enjoy that are only on the weekends, like art fairs so I just have to grit my teeth and go (or not). But, it did occurred to me that there are a few places that I’d rather go on the weekend to avoid early or late rush hour traffic. Downtown, for instance, or to visit a friend who lives in a neighborhood that get a lot of traffic during the week.I guess that’s life in the big city!

    The good news is, as a retiree, we get to choose what works best for us!

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  11. I think the thing that is beginning to frustrate me about weekends is that many of my friends, still working, rely on weekend activity, and it does seem so much more hectic than what I experience during the week. I’m doing my part in encouraging them to retire! Breakfast out on a Tuesday is much nicer than Saturday or Sunday! 🙂

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    • We have working friends too. Weekend breakfast are usually early to miss the crowds. Dances and some other things are always on Saturdays. We definitely avoid the mall on Sunday although if there is something we need to do, it’s best done right when it opens.

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  12. After nearly 30 years with the same company, I was shown the door after turning 60. Knowing that I could never get another job like the one I was leaving (and not really wanting to), I chose to retire and promised myself two things: 1). I removed my watch and promised myself never to be ruled by time. 2) I moved to the Philippines, take pictures all day, and promised myself never to be cold again. I don’t miss the snow and I can always look at my phone if I really need to know what time it is. Promises kept.

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    • I always admire people who move to different countries in retirement. My husband’s cousin and spouse moved to Equator. Me, I worry about quality of healthcare, not knowing the language and missing my family/friends. I saw your photos and they are fabulous. PS: I could get used to not having snow.

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  13. We live at a lake resort so come summer the weekends get very busy, so we sit on the deck a lot and people watch instead of being on the lake or golf course. Unless we have company and they’re here to go boating and such. Even after a number of years being retired my husband’s favorite thing to do on a summer Sunday is watch the people who have to leave for another work week. We try our best not to be shopping on weekends. 🙂

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    • For a while I had a beach house in NJ. When we went for the weekend we never left on Sunday. The traffic was horrendous and there was something very satisfying about being on the beach Sunday evening after everyone left!

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  14. Early on in our retirement, my husband insisted on defined weekends. We’ve gotten into the habit of doing chore/project/renovation/etc. work Monday to Friday. On the weekends we do try to do something ‘weekend-ish’–like a farmer’s market or Sunday brunch. We definitely do our grocery shopping during the week. So far this works for us, You pose an interesting question about what attitudes have changed since retirement. Although it is a practice (not an attitude), my response is ‘dry cleaning.’ When my husband and I worked, we took suits and other delicate clothing to the dry cleaners on a regular basis. Since our retirement (21 months) neither my husband or I have had the need or the urge to dry clean even one thing!

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    • I gave up clothes that needed dry cleaning when I started with the heat flashes. Even coats had to be washable! My husband likes his shirts (even the casual ones) starched. I’m not doing that so he takes his shirts to the laundry but we don’t have dry cleaning. We also try to do something fun usually on a Sunday. Maybe a concert or if there is a home or garden show locally. Sometimes we invite people over.

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  15. I understand this! I’m lucky enough to work from home and can (kind of) come and go as needed. So I like to get the shopping done during the week when there are less crowds. But yes, I do still venture out on the weekends. Just avoid shopping for the most part.

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  16. I still like weekends. Not for food shopping, that is for sure. But, like the idea that there is a change from the mundane…from Dr. appointments and must do things. And although “youth might have been wasted on the young…” At least weekends are not. 😉

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  17. I’m not retired but I work from home and can plan my schedule accordingly. I do prefer to do shopping, banking, anything that takes me to a weekend-crowded place during the week when most other people are working. LOL about the motorized carts!

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    • I agree with Colin. The first thing you should do is something fun. Then work in projects without any mania to get them all done in a certain time frame. When you are on your deathbed, you will not say “Gee, I wish I had changed out the toilet.” Trust me on that one.

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  18. The biggest change I see in retirees is that they no longer want to do anything that they don’t get to plan themselves. I’ll ask someone to do something, and I get a “sure, but let’s change it all around to suit me” response. And this from a person with nothing but time on his or her hands! I don’t get it, to be honest. Apparently the Boomer need to run the show never goes away for some people.

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    • Hi Ally – I do hope that you weren’t generalizing with the “time on our hands” comment re retirees? I don’t understand that being retired = having nothing to do. I, and many other people, have never been so busy as after we retired. It is our only opportunity to do whatever we want, and anybody who is sitting around with nothing to do must lack a lot of imagination and/or drive. If somebody asks me to help them, then I certainly will… but it will be scheduled around my appointments; my obligations; current expectations on me from others etc. etc. Those aspects of my life did not stop just because I retired! 🙂

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      • So far the people who I know who have retired suddenly want to plan everything, trusting no one to do it the right way except themselves. Before when we all were working, one person would plan an event and we’d go with the idea. But now everybody wants to tweak things and it puts a strain on relationships, making it tedious to even ask someone to do something.

        I consider the phrase “time on our hands” to be a good thing, btw. Looking forward to it. After having lived decades with too much to do, the idea of having nothing to do and being spontaneous is wonderful! Of course, I’m an introvert…

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        • Hi Ally. I can understand your rationale. My response in that situation is simply to decide whether I really want to be involved, or just accept that those “organizers” clearly need something to keep them busy so let them get on with it! It comes down to “How important is it? Really!” 🙂

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          • That’s exactly to the point I’m at. I now offer a plan, and if rejected then I go on with my plan. I’m not into fussing around about things, so best for me to move on and leave them to their own ways.

            [Also, I wonder if when people closer to my own age begin to retire, if things will unfold differently. Time will tell, eh?]

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            • Absolutely time will tell! So much pre-retirement planning should ideally be done… which is often not done. People work for 40-50 years, presumably have some job satisfaction, like some people they work with, enjoy the social aspects, probably like the challenges etc etc. …. and then expect to retire and all will be well? It won’t be because you will miss your work routines, the people, the recognition, the social aspects etc. etc. Planning is needed to recognize all those factors which are important to you in your work, and then ask yourself “How am I going to replace them?” Suddenly you could become quite busy, possessive, and with little time for others! Sound familiar? Nice chatting Ally. 🙂

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    • Ally, if I wanted to do something, I will invite people to join us in whatever it is. If they would prefer someplace else, a different day or whatever, I go with what I planned. If what they plan works for us, we do that too. It’s not only retirees who like to call the shots though. I have some friends who always take over (or try) and some who never suggest anything. I’m in the middle.

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  19. Husband and I are both retired. We tend to stay home during the week to get things done around the house and try to get out on the weekend to do something even if it is just to have lunch. I suppose it is a habit from working during the week and having weekends off. We avoid those high bar stools too! Cheers!

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  20. I quit my last proper job in June 2007 and decided to take early retirement officially as I was already getting my Bank pension and thought, yay, only a few years to go to State Pension age of 60. Except it didn’t work out like that. The UK government moved the retirement age for my age group to 66, so I will not be an official wrinkly until 2022.
    These days are just days, we do similar things any day, and our time is our own. In fact, we are sometimes so busy doing ‘something’, I don’t know how I managed to work full time.
    Any job on the boat takes at least four times as long as in a house.which is just as well as we have the time to do it. Sadly all that is about to change again. 😦

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  21. I’ve been retired for just over 10 years and don’t have weekends! It gets confusing sometimes but I love not having to plan weekends; not thinking about work on Monday; can do anything I want at my convenience rather than scheduling around a job! I love it! 🙂

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  22. One advantage of retirement is over-sleeping. If you forgot to set the alarm … so what! Roll over and take another 30 zzz’s. Unless you’re stupid enough to arrange appointments early. Golf days are another exception. Gotta get there on time! I remember when in the working world, over-sleeping was a catastrophe; not even the “road runner” could outdo me in the speed department trying to make up for lost time. So … enjoy that extra sleep.

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  23. Monday thru Friday… The Best!!!! Totally share your thoughts. CH’s two brothers just can’t understand why we don’t want to meet for dinner or anything else on weekends. Wait till they are retired! This is a trivial change but maybe not so much after you have had vehicles hailed on BUT we never venture out and do a thing when the weather may turn nasty. Why go out if the weather is the pits when I can wait for a sunny day?

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    • That is one of the great benefits of retirement. I don’t have to worry about the commute in bad weather. We rarely get hail but I’ve done my share of slipping and sliding in bad snow storms. Now we plan around that. There isn’t anything we need enough to go out. If we have an appointment we reschedule in advance.

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