Thursday, August 23, 2012

Rocking Chair? What Rocking Chair?

One of the many blogs I visit on occasion is Get Rich Slowly. While it has good information, I don't actually read it every day. The blog is more (from my perspective) on making money than on saving money and having fun. That said, Donna Freedman (whose blog is on my blog roll) is a regular writer and I do enjoy many of the articles. I've actually considered writing an article and submitting it as a guest writer, and after yesterday I just may have to do that.

Yesterday's article was on The Many Roads To Retirement. As you might expect, I read this one all the way through. It's an interesting article and although many of us are already retired, it's worth a gander. After I read the article, I read the comments.  Then I began to laugh (and actually added a couple myself).

One person commented that they considered "the retired, idle life none to healthy".  Another commenter implied that "life was to short to retire", and a third person responded that they planned to work as long as they can and avoid the "rocking chair". You get the general idea here.

Folks, somewhere in America there may be someone who spends their day in a rocking chair, but I haven't met them recently. Have you?  I read many retirement blogs each day. I have a passel of them linked on the left side of this blog, and others that I read as well. Some of them are so called "early retirees" , some are "forced retirees", some came to retirement through the normal channels. I have yet to read about one who was "bored".

Obviously, as retirees we all have different energy levels and ideas about perfect retirement. Some work part time, some have businesses. Some folks like Tamara and her husband have a high energy adventure style retirement. Others have a more relaxed version of retirement. If any of us are sitting around though, it's most likely just for the day and by choice.

I work part time, in order to supplement my income so that I can travel. I enjoy the work, but would have a pretty full life without the "income streams".  An online friend (whose husband left the working world much later than she did) once commented that she's not sure how she ever had time to work, and I tend to agree.

If I were to start listing the things I do on a regular basis in retirement, I'm not sure where I would stop. I've blogged about the "but what do you DO in retirement issue more than once. It's nothing new to say that I volunteer with two organizations. I take college courses. I quilt, I craft. I travel (both short term day trips and long road trips). I work I the garden and on the house. I try new recipes. I read. I meet friends in the middle of the day. I swim, I walk.....the list goes on.

Other people have different lists and activities than mine. Some travel most of the time. Some folks are writers, with more "professional" blogs. Some volunteer on a more full time basis. Some bloggers I read have their own businesses. One blogger I visit regularly is retired but cares for her grandchildren by choice. The list is endless. However, I don't know of anyone who spends their day in a chair, and I'm not just talking about early retirees. My father in law who is over eighty had his kitchen and hall floors replaced less than two years ago. While he had a professional come in and install the floor, he and my son removed the old floors and cleaned the house afterwards. My father in law still walks around the track at the rec center, and volunteers both with church and a children's advocacy organization.

I am an extremely laid back kind of person. Possibly more so than many of the retirees I read. I am comfortable spending a day reading a whole book on the patio, and have to force myself to do more physical things on a regular basis in order to keep flexible and healthy. That said, the last time I was "bored" was when I smashed my hand and could not sew, cook or drive. I still ended up finding a good book, a move from Redbox, doing some sketching (albeit with one hand) and visiting with friends.

Oh, and the last time I had a rocking chair was when my now 22 year old was three. He was one of those kids that had to be rocked on a regular basis. But that chair left my home years ago-and while I have a recliner, it doesn't rock.

So tell me-are you bored in retirement? If so, what have you done to alleviate that?  Do you have too much "free time"?.  If you're a reader and not yet retired, do you think you'll have a problem filling time in your post working world years?


  1. I just retired in June. I did some worrying about the decision because I wasn't sure what I would do with myself if I didn't work, but health issues were making retirement manditory. I have yet to do any of those things I saved to do when I retired because I'm much too busy. And, yes, I am beginning to wonder how I had time to work!

  2. Barb, I read The Many Roads to Retirement link you posted, and these are my additional thoughts -

    I think the term "retirement" may need to be retired and replaced with FI (financial independence). Retirement seems to give the connotation that folk are living quietly and passively, just waiting to pass, which in no way whatsoever exemplifies how my husband and I live, nor how you live.

    We view retirement, or FI if you will, as an opportunity to craft lives that are deeply meaningful and exciting to us. In our case, we are pursuing higher education through a lifelong learning program offered by our nearby university, continually raising the bar on our own physical capabilities (we're currently in training for our first bicycling metric century) and traveling extensively, which includes frequent forays into new mountain ranges to go hiking.

    Still on our to-do lists are backpacking, long term travel by bicycle, living in a Spanish speaking country to improve our secondary language skills, and finding a few charities that resonate with us personally to get involved in.

    As you've well demonstrated in your blog, and then again in this post, running out of ways to vibrantly fill your time in retirement is simply not an issue. Refusing to take control of your life and expend the energy necessary to keep it vibrant can be an issue however, one which can lead to the dreaded rocking chair scenario you speak of.

    (And thank you very kindly for the link display . . . I always appreciate the little added pressure it brings to keep moving forward in our lives. :-)

  3. Hi Barb.Just found your blog and LOVE IT. I just retired from nursing. I'm 59. My husband is still working and I HOPE that changes soon.

    I am a mixed up combination of type A "nurse" who was raised to BE productive, BE BUSY, WORK! and my own nature is more laid back,literary, and home-centered.I was a stay at home mom for years, enjoyed some nursing work, after my son was in 4th grade, but am back at home where I love to be.Like you,I don't need to be traveling constantly or doing "big things"-- and I am NEVER bored!

    I love to take a whole day and read a book,too. I enjoy going to the library and reading magazines for a few hours.. I love to hike our local mountains, and also take the 2 hour drive to the northern mts. there in the cooler weather, with my husband.I enjoy cooking ,make bread and most of our food from scratch.

    I enjoy a book club.I am an amateur collage/paper craft artist and belong to a craft group that meets twice a month.I love TAROT CARDS and meet with Tarot enthusiasts once a month.

    I also am TIRED of so many PEOPLE WHO NEED HELP (work) and am thoroughly ENJOYING a lot of QUIET TIME BY MYSELF FOR A CHANGE!!!!!

    I love reading your blog--I don't think me and my husband need to create "INCOME STREAMS" like all those gen. x-ers are discussing. I'd rather spend less.

    We live pretty frugally.I like beans and lentils! We do a lot of FREE outdoor activities.

    Friends/game nights, etc= free entertainment..

    Anyway-- keep on blogging for those of us who feel that retirement can be fun,relaxed and interesting.. NEVER boring! Even if we're not doing back to back cruises or African safaris!!

    I actually HAVE a rocking chair and enjoy spending a LITTLE time in it!

  4. Barb,
    I agree that the only time I am bored with retirement is when I am nursing an injury - usually sustained while whipping a 30 something in a tennis match or falling off my bike because I was trying to improve my time.

    Malcolm and I don't quite have the stamina and drive that Tamara and Mike have, but we do share the same philosophy about making the most of our remaining years.

    Anyone who thinks that retirement means relocating to the nearest rocking chair is missing the boat.

    Enjoyed your post today.

  5. Ha, tooo funny. I do have a rocking chair and one of these days I will find the time to sit and rock!! Gotta love the young people who have no clue, bless their hearts

  6. Since I just did a little "working gig" these last 2 years the contrast is fresh in my mind again. I am WAY lazier when I'm working. The days I worked, I came home so spent and stressed that I would have a drink and dinner and sit on the couch watching TV the rest of the night. I had no energy left.

    When I'm full-time retired, I have little stress and lots more energy. I'm hardly ever in front of the TV these days. Which is great because I hate almost everything on. So when I was working and watching it anyway--well THAT'S when I was bored!

  7. Syd yes, I agree. Also, I get more horizontal during the winter months (when I may not alwyas bee cool, but it gets darker). between getting to schol at eight in the morning and everything else, I tend to do nothing but TV after dinner. And of course Im a football addict as well.

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