Retirement means not getting up early to go to work. As a high school teacher, I had to set my alarm in order to make it in to work before seven. Looking back it is hard to believe that I sometimes woke up before the alarm went off. I have to say, it is really, really dark at four o’clock in the morning! Waking up on my own terms is a definite advantage.
On the other hand, not having to get up to go to work means a lack of structure. I missed the routine and rhythm to my day. When I first retired, finding things to do felt like a job.
Retirement gives you the opportunity to try new activities and get back into the things you love. Canasta, day trips, book club, golf, tennis, crafts, yoga, zumba, collage picture frames… Collage picture frames? Sometimes in the middle of a particularly inane craft activity, I stop and think, “Why am I doing this?”
But after the initial frenzy of signing up for all kinds of things, I discovered what I like to do. I honed my golf skills with a regular game, attended lectures at a nearby university and participated in interesting workshops. It is good to have the time to pursue what I enjoy.
Retirement is fattening. Like the rest of my friends, I made all kinds of arrangements to “do lunch.” Beside packing on the pounds, all that eating out gets expensive.
However, having the freedom to plan a lunch date with a friend is wonderful. And the conversation over lunch gives me a chance to catch up and see how she is handling all of her free time.
Retirement means togetherness with your spouse. After a lifetime of responsibilities, spending time with my husband renewed our appreciation of each other and the things we like to do together, like nature walks, going to the beach and taking a drive to explore an area.
Still, there is such a thing as too much togetherness. At first, it seemed as if my husband had a different, and not necessarily better, way to do everything-from shopping for food to loading the dishwasher. Fortunately, he has since lost interest in the minute details of running a household.
Retirement gives you the opportunity to connect with the people you love. Free time means you can spend precious moments with children, grandchildren and others to create beautiful memories.
But while connecting with others is important, I try to remember that retirement should allow for enough “me time,” even if I feel like just sitting outside and enjoying the views. I worked for it, and I earned it.