The time epiphany

Source: Amazon

Earlier this week for the 87th hundred time some asked me what I do with ALL MY TIME. (No I did not hit them.) There is an expectation that the answer should include “solving the hunger crisis” or “managing world peace.” The truth is a little different. OK, a lot different.

My days are composed of a lot of small things. Nothing that sounds interesting but it is stuff that either I need to do or it makes me happy. It does not make interesting conversation. (By the way, non-bloggers do not understand how much time blogging takes! Just saying.)

The inference is that since you no longer work, you have this big chunk of time to do something astonishing. I gave it some thought (after a few bad words).

I have the answer.

First, just a few things to remember. Age brings changes. My number of doctors has exponentially increased. I’m a healthy person with no serious chronic disease yet I get referred to specialists for anything. (You name a body part, I have a specialist!) Maybe doctors are getting more specialized. Doctor appointments can suck up quite a bit of time especially compared to the days when I had only my yearly ob-gyn checkup.

I have the luxury (even I can’t believe I used that word) of exercising on a regular schedule rather than the old hit and miss of working days. (I don’t have the excuse of deadlines and projects either! I miss that.)

There are the useless rabbit holes that I fall in. Last year I spent considerable time over many months researching my ancestors and learning very basic German (which I’m not very good at). I still fall down that hole once in a while. When I start to talk about it, people’s eyes glaze over. I can see them working on their to-do list in their head. It’s easier not to mention it.

However, the biggest difference is that all those things I did between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m., have gravitated to the daytime. All the errands, exercise, appointments, friend get-togethers are done during the day, leaving free time in the evening.

The days are hectic but after dinner, we crash and enjoy being home. Sometimes it’s watching TV and sometimes it’s reading or connecting with a friend by email or (gasp!) phone but it can also be about doing nothing. We enjoy doing nothing! A lot! (By the way, doing nothing does not mean staring at your belly button. It can include dreaming, thinking about life, worrying and watching the cats sleep. It you are cat-less, contact me and I’ll fix you up!) Other than dinner out and the occasional concert, we are at home most evenings.

This was an epiphany for me. I do have more free time which I prefer to have in the evening. Without goals and time frames. Schedule all willy-nilly. Yes, this is what retirement is to me.

Perhaps I should prepare a presentation for the next person who asks me what I do all day. Maybe a YouTube video. Stay tuned!

72 thoughts on “The time epiphany

  1. …. leaning in over here, as I’m working yet and will be for a while. I can say that meandering weekends with no particular plans are my favorite. I ponder seriously hard-hitting questions like Will I shower today or tomorrow morning? Should I let my hair dry naturally? Vacuum or read? Can we make due with leftovers one more day or do I really need to cook something? 🙂

    I’m looking forward to retiring one day. I probably will read for a year straight!!


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  2. You’re right, people who are not retired just don’t understand. I keep saying I don’t know how we did all the things we do now when we were both working, but in reality, some of the things were doing now we didn’t have time for. And that’s a good thing, because at some point in your life one should have the luxury of doing things we never had time for in our younger days. Retirement has a different meaning for everyone, and different obligations and interests. There is no cookie cutter answer. I’ve thought about getting a job for a few hours a week but honestly, I don’t want to be tied down to a schedule. I love the freedom of waking up and deciding what I want to do on the days we’re not helping out a family member. And I just don’t get people who say they don’t want to retire because they’d be bored. I find that kind of sad.

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    • I’ve been retired 7 years. For the first year or so I dabbled in some gigs. I thought about some part time work but the “right” thing didn’t come along. I don’t want to be tied down so it would have to be very flexible. I know people who are afraid to be bored. I have yet to have a boring day. Maybe for those who do not get a lot of contact in their normal day, it could be isolating but I don’t have that issue.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Today I had lunch with a friend and came home and watched the birds at the feeders for awhile. We’ve earned this time! I have a stock answer to the question posed to you. I always say, “I do whatever I feel like doing.” And that’s it. Your days sound much like mine. And I repeat–we’ve earned this time! LOL!

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  4. My mother used to have a daily brunch with a group of retired friends. One day one of them announced she was considering getting a part time job at the yarn store for the discount she would get. One of her other friends asked “Won’t that cut into your schedule?” They all managed to keep up a busy and enjoyable life. A job would have interfered.

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  5. I look forward to your PowerPoint presentation on this topic 😉
    Seriously, I cannot wait to retire. There are still all kinds of things you have to do – cleaning, cooking, laundry, cat maintenance, etc. I have no doubt that the things that have to get done still take up a good part of the day. And of course there is all the things you just want to do!

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  6. A friend who recently retired called to chat and catch up. After we got through pleasantries (mainly about his retirement, which I did find interesting), he started to ask detailed question about how I spend my days. I mean he wanted the details. There was a long silence on the other end of the line, and I actually had to ask if he was still there. He’s obviously pondering what it’ll all mean for him. I never even got to the blogging part. 🙂 – Marty

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    • Maybe people are just curious or taking the information to relate to themselves. Somehow I feel that what I have to say is either not interesting to them or not substantial enough. Those are more my issues than theirs but I still resent the question. There are better ways of framing it.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh please make a video presentation of this post. Focus especially on how blog posts just don’t drop down from heaven fully written. And mention how being more pulled together now is what you’re doing with all that time, making you a better friend and citizen. Emphasize that better friend part, ok?

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    • K. If only inspiration would fall from the sky. Blogging has made me much more articulate. It’s good and bad. When I’m with wordy friends who go on and on with minutia details, I think I’m gonna die. I’m hoping it keeps the brain sharp too.

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  8. A YouTube Video. That would be funny.

    I have modest expectations for myself. Besides my iPhone calendar, I have a beautiful date book. I list in it the things I hope to accomplish that day, and most days if I check off 2 or 3 or 4 of them, I’m satisfied. Today I spent a lot of time at the doctor’s office. There’s the waiting in the outer office and the waiting inside and the waiting for the blood draw and then the mammogram (no waiting there just lots of crushing on a cold slab).

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  9. Well banish these souls from your life Kate, especially the ones that don’t understand blogging and its time constraints. I see Anne Mehrling’s comment right above mine … yes, blogging has taken over my life too, and, just like Anne, I’m richer for it. When couples retire, and one’s a blogger, it’s best to get your significant other to take up blogging too so they “get it”. I got behind in Reader for two days … and on a weekend yet. I remarked to my non-blogging friend, after returning to e-mail messages after logging many hours in Reader … “I’ve been in Reader for hours and now I’m back here” … she said “well didn’t you just say you did that last week?” No comment.

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    • It’s like any other hobby or pursuit. Golf takes a lot of time too. It’s just not as visible. It’s impossible to banish them all and some of them don’t understand the question. A psychiatrist would say any feelings of inadequacy caused is from inside ourselves rather than from what someone says. There’s an element of truth to that. Eventually people who say that will figure it out.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Sometimes I ask myself that same question when I wonder why my to-do list didn’t even get dented.

    On the other hand, how is it that I didn’t feel this busy when I worked full time and trained 6 days a week as a triathlete?

    Oh right … blogging, photography, classes on my passion-du-jour, I no longer have a cleaning lady, do my own yard work, laundry, grocery shopping, cooking, …. not to mention a VERY active social life that I definitely didn’t have while I was working and training.

    … and I’m not even going to mention that I’m older and everything seems to take a lot longer to do 😉

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  11. My days are full but not necessarily busy… just the way I like it. Recently a retired neighbor decided to take a full-time job that was offered to her out of the blue. It wasn’t like she needed the money. I thought she was nuts and told her so but I guess to each his/her own.

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  12. I understand completely! Blogging takes time plus I just finished my latest book. Writing also takes time. We also enjoy our free time in the evenings. On the other hand, I’m still working from home and H is retired. I often ask him what he accomplished with all that free time! Ha!

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  13. OMG. Who are these people? I had an agent who once felt I wrote too slowly and asked me, “What do you do all day?” Yes, it was a man.

    I had a kid who napped for exactly one half-hour every day. I had two geriatric dogs, two geriatric cats, a house, a garden, and any help with childcare I had to pay for because I had no relatives anywhere nearby. I got up at 4-5 AM and went to bed at 9 and I felt I was lucky to get ANY writing done.

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  14. There is an Italian saying I love . . . dolce far niente . . . sweet to do nothing.
    That question bugs me. To me, it’s not really a question, it’s a judgment. No answer can suffice for a leading question.

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  15. I am convinced that once you retire, the universe steals hours from you figuring you don’t need 24 hours anymore-clearly blogging hasn’t been factored into that flawed thesis. As for doctor referrals, that element of healthcare is where the real money is. You can draw your own conclusion. 💰

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    • We all say that. In truth we rushed around and often didn’t enjoy activities. You can’t really explain it to someone who hasn’t retired. There were a lot of things I wanted to do but didn’t have the time for. It’s a different stage of life.

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  16. Your days and evenings sound like ours minus the Sassy Cats. Yesterday we went to downtown Venice for lunch, checked out a new art shop, and looked at bikes (bikes you pedal) for CH. Grilled kabobs and “did nothing” for the evening… well, strolled the neighborhood. Nobody asks us what we do all day here… 🙂 I will be waiting for your YouTube videeoh!

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    • That is a perfect day! Today the beloved husband is going to his guitar store to fondle guitars (it’s about an hour away). I am going to do laundry, fill the bird feeders, check which rabbit hole needs to be checked and then we’ll have a nice dinner. No world peace solutions today.

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  17. My “achilles heel” is when somebody asks me to do something, and I decline purely because I don’t have the immediate time, and the response is “Well you’re retired! What do you do all day?”
    I genuinely feel sorry for them, because if they take that total lack of imagination into their retirement, they are going to be very bored, very boring, and probably very short lived! Have great, busy, productive day Kate!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. And I also have the luxury of waking up gradually, sometimes not even setting the alarm, having a leisurely second cup of coffee in the morning, NOT dashing out the door frantic to reach the office on time even though I’m already five minutes late and there’s bad weather ahead. :-). Somehow it all evens out in the end. And my cats are definitely happier and less stressed!

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    • Alarm? What’s that? I didn’t even use it when I worked because I’m a dependable waker upper (is that even a word?). I take showers around 10 instead of 6 a.m. The cats are a post all they themselves. They have trained me to feed them multiple times a day, wiggle the feather toy and serve as furniture when they need a nap. I have no idea what they did when I worked.


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