The end of the year is one year I’ve been retired. I loved what I did when I was working, but it’s been a long time working, and I was tired and ready to kick back and enjoy having no real schedule.
What have I learned? A lot of useful things…….That it takes about 2 months to let yourself fully realize that you can relax, after all those years. The urge to keep hurrying so you can get everything done, that takes a while to go away. It’s ingrained after a lifetime of working 40 hours or so a week.
That it’s ok to not be always “doing something.” That’s hard, when you didn’t have as much free time before, and now you do. It’s ok to spend some time just sitting on the couch looking out the window and watching it rain, or just watching the world going by.
That what I eat can be even better and healthier ( well, mostly, lol) when I have more time to cook more things from scratch or close to it. And plan things out and enjoy taking more time to cook good things.
That reading was really nice before, and is better now. Reading for pleasure, strange mystery novels or whatever. Reading without any purpose of learning anything.
That getting some needed physical activity is possible if there’s a reasonably priced gym nearby. I hit that tread mill almost every day, and feel good getting that exercise. Retired couch potatoes have a hard time keeping their health or weight in control.
That balance and moderation is still very important. Balance time to be busy with time to just enjoy not being busy.
That my cat is still crazy and she thinks it’s pretty neat that I’m around here more.
That it’s important to fill some of the time with something specific that matters to somebody or something other than yourself, like volunteering somewhere. I volunteered for years at our historical society and never really had much time to go to our house and know what was there. When somebody came in with a question, I had to find somebody to answer it. Now many times I can find them an answer, and am very happy when somebody leaves there equipped with info they were looking for and I helped them find it. Volunteering also gives you a chance to know you’re giving something back, and that’s a wonderful and important part of life.
That it’s so nice to be able to decide what to do today, or change a plan that was decided before.
That gardening is even better when you actually have the time to do things you never could before, and eat the results. I tried new things, and will try more. Tee pees made of bamboo will grow more varieties of beans next spring and summer, and I’ll expand some other gardening ideas too.
That if you think you can afford to do it and you’re ready, you should consider it and plan it well. My budget is tight but I knew it would be, and thought it all out well before I made the decision to retire. Life is short and even if you love what you do, as I did, retirement and resting is a wonderful thing. I keep pretty busy and actually do ask myself sometimes, how did I ever have time to work? People told me I would say that. Now life is filled with things I wanted to do for years and didn’t have time, and each person who worked a lifetime has earned that. Watching it snow and knowing I don’t have to go out in it……unless I want to. Usually I don’t……unless it’s to go to the garage, to get birdseed……
Thanks for this post. I’m going to keep your words in mind because I’ll be spending a lot of time home myself starting next month…
Oh yea Herman that’s right. You’re welcome. Make an initial plan to stay busy; that was the best advice that other retirees gave me. Once you get used to it, things will fall into place and you’ll develop a balance. Mr. Bowie will help!
How quickly the year went by! I’m so happy to read that retirement is agreeing with you. 🙂
Thanks Jackie. It is agreeing with me.
Boy howdy! (as ‘they’ say here in Tennessee) you’ve hit the nail on the head Nancy! Your poignant and thoughtful post is just what I needed today to remember to “slowww dowwwnnn”. Thank you for the reminder, I’m certain I’ll enjoy the day more remembering your insights. Thank you and I do hope you have a joy filled Christmas!
Thanks Sam, glad you got something useful from it. Balance….it’s a complicated concept that was always important to me, and remembering it allowed me not to burn out working in mental health for 20 + years. It’s more important when you have so much time, and I’ve known some people who went back to work cos they were bored. Not me, no boredom here, lol! Boy howdy, never heard it before but I like it. Bright blessings and Merry Christmas to you and Michael!
Merry Christmas and so glad that you are enjoying your days, Judy
Thanks Judy, I sure am enjoying a more relaxed life. Merry Christmas to you as well!