But retirement can also be a lot of fun, especially if one looks at it as a new beginning, rather than an ending. Don’t you, for one, welcome the chance to spend more time with your grandchildren? Or sleep however long you want and not have to rush, rush, rush to meet someone else’s (like your job’s) timetable?
My husband and I are new at this retirement game, but our friends who retired before us have been giving us tips and doses of reality to help us through the birth pangs of a retired life.
You’re now free to do what you’ve always wanted to do without a job getting in the way. Some people think of retirement as the end of an active life, which is unfortunate. But many boomer retirees have other ideas, as AARP consistently reports. Most see retirement as the beginning of a new involvement, whether it be as grand as doing some good for the world and for posterity, or as personal as starting a novel, or taking up painting. Life goes on but in a different, more satisfying pace and direction.
Every day feels like a weekend. No more alarm clocks, no more long commutes. Time has become your own and it’s up to you to make the day go faster by filling up your schedule or slow it down by just taking it easy. However you want it, it feels good not to have a time clock, a deadline or a boss breathing down your neck.
You can indulge your hobbies. Things that you had to squeeze in between chores before can now claim a bigger chunk of your day. Or even your entire day.
You can go on long trips without having to compute vacation days or lie for sick days.
A damper for number 4: Chances are your pension and Social Security checks will not equal what you were earning when you were working, so long trips have to be budgeted carefully, especially if you intend to live 30 more years.
Those books that you’ve collected for your retirement? Now you can start reading them. Go ahead, find yourself a comfortable nook – in the park, a coffee shop, the library, your porch, and lose yourself in the glory of words and stories.
If you’re married or partnered and both of you are retired, you’ll develop a choreography to your proximity. He cooks, you garden. He naps, you read. He plays golf, you can have your mani-pedi-spa indulgence. You don’t have to grate at each other’s nerves all day if you give each other space. And you can enjoy a quiet and romantic evening together when your day apart (even if it’s just a few meters away) is ending.
Related to number 7: A friend suggests the need for a man-cave or a woman’s room of her own, where one can withdraw for some necessary solitude. And believe me, solitary time is mandatory for sanity.
You no longer need new clothes. You’ve bought your good ones when you were still working and socializing. Now you just need comfortable ones. That’s a big savings on your budget. And the best thing is, if you do need to go shopping, you don’t have to brave the crowds on weekends. Monday mornings at 10:30 are perfect shopping times.
Speaking of savings, going to movies no longer just means getting a big senior discount. You can get an even bigger one by going to the early shows. Of course, if you’re in the Philippines, nothing beats the free movies any time in Makati or Quezon City if you’re over 60 and carrying a senior card.
And here’s a reality check: When finally your time is now your own, you’ll have to acknowledge that you don’t have much of it left. Take this as motivation to give your life meaning, quickly and soon.