Saturday, September 4, 2010

Keeping Busy in Retirement

I'm sitting in my living room, watching TCU play Oregon State and wondering why on earth the Mountain West conference gets no respect!!! Two thoughts come to me as I sit watch football. The first is, how nice it is to be able to sit here on the weekend and not have to do laundry/cook ahead for the workweek or do any of those other former chores. Other thing that comes to mind is that I have too many things I want to do, and just not enough time to do them.

These two thoughts are necessarily conflicting. It means that there is very little I have to do, and many things that I want to do-some of them income related. That's the difference between retirement and the working world.

The most personally satisfied retirees are those who have hobbies, activities, "causes", or active leisure pursuits. Unfortunately, so much emphasis is put on working hard and preparing financially for retirement that the other aspect, the lifestyle aspect, gets left in the dirt.

Even as a forced retiree on a limited income, I have so many interests and things that I want to do or see that I want to do that I have a full life. I have bouts of down, and temporary depression (usually in bed at night), but I don't have a boredom issue. The same would have been true of my late husband, had he lived. The reason I have all these interest and desires is because most of them were developed or found during my working years. During those working years, we had a good variety of interests and hobbies. Most of these hobbies were separate from work and work friends. Some of our interests were individual and some were shared as a couple. Early on we both realized that we needed outlets outside of work, and that we needed time alone. That has served me well in retirement.

Someone whose life primarily revolves around work may wonder how to choose a hobby or interest. How to reach out and "get a life" outside of work.  Some people will already have a passion that has been put on hold, for others experimentation and exploration is the key.  It may take time.  The first time you experiment, you may find it's not for you, for whatever reason. When in doubt, you may want to start with something related to family or home and go from there. In my husband's case, my son was involved in youth sports and they needed officials. He became engaged and continued long after son had left many of these sports. He skied as a child and once in proximity of the alps, became re-interested. We both enjoyed good food, traveling, and amateur theater together. He learned golf because of a former job posting, but only continued that one in a half hearted manner (but raised a son who is a golf addict). Some of our interests were developed because of where we lived (a 1946 brownstone in Washington DC that needed renovations, for example).

This is certainly not to say that you cannot develop hobbies, interests, passions after you retire. Many people do. I have, and continue to find new things that I want to learn and do (hence my time management conundrum). However, having current interests or passions will certainly make the transition easier in the short term - and probably give your spouse a break if you have one.  I also would never suggest that planning to sit on the patio with mimosas, play golf regularly or reading a whole book in a day (as I did yesterday are without value). And obviously, some will want more of this kind of life than others, depending on time and circumstance. For me, while it's nice to know that I can do it when I want to, I just don't want to do it every day.

And this is where I circle back to the question of what gets done when.  In retirement, you are the one who decides what, when, and how.

1 comment:

  1. Barb, I see that you were visiting my blog. Thank you for that.

    You have some great ideas here for making life easier in spite of a limited income. Good for you.

    We share a common philosophy here in that we both know that a good life does not depend on "things". The gratitude we feel each day for what is good is what fills our days.

    Be well...



Things I'm Enjoying This Monday-And A Couple Things That Are Frustrating Me!!

One of the many reasons I don't do serious (other than visiting family) travel during the summer is the chance to stay at home. Warm w...