Recently, I've begun to wonder how I ever had time for a job.
Obviously in some sense, early retirement has allowed me a slower schedule. I have full control of my time and how I spend it. I move (most of the time) as the mood strikes. I’ve been known to stay up until two am, sleep until nine or so, and spend the day on the patio with some iced tea and the newest best seller. These are all great things about retirement.
The other side of retirement is being able to explore all of those experiences and passions that I simply did not have time for in the working and parenting world. Occasionally I say as much, usually when I see a comment about boredom in retirement-or from a younger person wondering what on earth they will do with their time when they retire. My answer is “whatever you like”!
Admittedly, I am a gal who had multiple interests and passions before enforced retirement. I also had a laundry list (mainly in my head at the time) of things I wanted to try “at least once”, even if they never became true hobbies. The end result is that many days I have more things I want to do than I have time to do-and I love it, most of the time. These days, after making the choice to return to college, life has become busier (and a tad more scheduled, unfortunately). Even before school, however, what to do was never a concern.
I imagine the primary reason I am busy post retirement is I had a variety of hobbies and interests long before I got here. Those interests kept me busy, and as I became more involved in those hobbies, other interests popped up. Some of those kept my interest over the long haul and some I tried once or twice and then moved on. I figured if I didn’t at least try (insert your hobby of choice here) then I would never know if I liked it or not. What’s happened is I’ve ended up with a couple “big” hobbies and a bunch of lesser interests and passions that get fit in, along with volunteering and the occasional income stream.
Now we come to the point where someone is reading this and says, “but……………” Let me say that everyone is unique. Some people like to be busier, some like a slower pace. The fact that I like that slower pace is the reason I hope not to get another “real job”. As to being on a fixed or lowered income and having hobbies, if I can do it anyone can. I’m now on social security with some assistance from a pension and the occasional quilt consignment. I quilt. I travel (lots of one and two day trips and a few long road trips), I go to the movies, and I garden (but not well). Having a limited income does not in and of itself require one to retire to the house with the television and little else. While frugality, limited mobility or location may affect your interests and choices in small ways, the options out there are unlimited.
As for the income question, yes, I probably need a little extra income- at least for a while. But I believe that income can be found at home, doing things I enjoy, on my own schedule.
Was I thrilled when society thrust both widowhood and enforced retirement on me? Absolutely not. But by taking the journey I’ve come to appreciate the freedom to do all those things I never had time or energy for in the working world. As a result I’ve decided I’ll take this version of retirement-frugal fixed income and all.