I’ve been retired now a little over two months. And frankly, I just don’t know how I ever made time to hold down a 40-hour+/week job! Because truly — I just don’t have the time (or inclination) to make that work anymore.
In my pre-retirement days, I heard horror stories of Humans who simply went adrift once they clocked out for the last time. Humans who were bored with retirement and went back to work at a new place just for something to do. Humans who languished on their couch watching Netflix and NCIS reruns. Humans who died shortly into retirement — because the adrenaline of their jobs was the only thing keeping them alive.
I was warned that I “better” find some hobbies if I wanted any quality of life in retirement. I was also told that I’d be so bored — I’d WANT to come back into the workforce by the end of the first six months.
Bullshit. I can tell you — All. The. Statements. I was preached to prior to walking away from my job and into retirement were bullshit.
My day looks something like this:
I wake up — whenever I want to — but I’m still usually up/about/dressed before my roommate who is still working. While I’m having my morning pot of coffee — leisurely — I sit at my computer and write or forward Bernie memes to my friends on FB. My Fitbit reminds me to get up and move every hour between 9 am & 6 pm. That’s not a problem and the reminder rarely goes off.
I’ll have a protein shake for breakfast and then work on my new favorite passion — a jigsaw puzzle! My roommate got me one with 1000 pieces a week ago — it’s nearly done.
In between this point of time and making a healthy hot lunch for both of us, I’ll walk out to check the mail or do some laundry. Maybe run an errand or two if it’s called for.
After lunch, it’s time for a walk — weather permitting. I walk four miles every day. My stamina has increased considerably over the last couple of months that I’ve been doing this. My resting heart rate has gone down nine points. After all this — I look up to find it’s already 3 pm. Time for a cup of licorice tea and a bit of a snack with my roommate who is taking her afternoon break.
Five pm finds me doing some yoga or meditation. I might be reading (currently working through all the Agatha Christie novels on my kindle unlimited). By this time, I also know what the high temperature for the day really was and have added the appropriate color to the temperature afghan I started on 1/1/21.
Evening will find me hanging out with my roommate and the TV will finally come on as we wind down to a Marvel movie (Goddess Bless Disney+) or some of The Great British Baking Show.
Before I know it — it’s time to head for bed. Again. Already. My Fitbit assures me that even though it doesn’t seem like much — today I have accomplished a lot. My inner knowing slips into silence and peace as I end my day with meditation. I usually also spend some time writing in my journal or coloring as sleep overtakes me for the next eight hours or so.
Tell me — can you see ANY time in that schedule where I could fit in a job? No— me neither.
The only change to my routine is when I visit my family. Then at night, right before I fall asleep, I’m chatting with one of The Magical Creatures as she snuggles up next to me and quietly reveals all the secrets of Life as a Human.
“They” were wrong. At least about me. I had hobbies long before I retired that I would squeeze into the leftover bits and pieces of My Life as a working nurse. Even on days that I was exhausted and spent at the end of my day — I tried my best to include something that I loved. Some days it was only a few minutes of writing or meditation. Other times I would sacrifice sleep (getting up early or going to bed late) for the joy of reading or doing a yoga sequence. But somehow — I made it work. All the balls I kept juggling and up in the air in the frantic pace of my former working life.
In My Now, I am not juggling anything, anymore. I have set down the balls one by one. In My Now, I pick each one up as needed and gently hold it in my hands. I set it carefully down when I pick up the next. Repeat.
There is no frenzy in My Life these days. No fear of failure or missteps. No stress regarding anyone else’s expectation of My Life. I know that today I am healthier in mind/body/spirit than I was a mere two months ago.
I recently told my roommate that I don’t see how I ever did it before. How did I ever find the time in My Life to hold down a full-time job for decades? She laughed and replied with a single word as she turned her attention back to her work. I laughed,too. And then I put on a light jacket and went walking in the North Carolina sunshine.