Much of the time, it's the little things that we do, or the changes that we make that increase the quality of our retirement by leaps and bounds. And while travel, adventure, hobbies and lifelong learning are all important to to a healthy retirement, I continue to believe that the biggest contributor to retirement happiness is freedom and control of time.
Some of you may have noticed that I've done little writing on this blog the past few weeks. This is not because I don't have things to share, or important things to say. However, I've been feeling out of sorts and I was not sure why. In the past few days, I realized that I had become a slave to my day planner, and that simply was not working for me. To that end, I have, literally, thrown out the schedule. And I have no plants to start a new one.
This is not to say that I have kicked my activities to the curb, or eliminated social engagements. I continue to keep a calendar (although I try to move that to my phone) and I carry a small notebook in my purse in which I journal and jot things down. This jotting has more to do with a rough list of goals and to dos rather than a daily or even weekly challenge.
I still do all of the things I did before, and have even added some new activities. I quilt, draw, and knit. I write. I play pinochle once a month, belong to a book group and a knitting group, a craft group and a "right side of the brain exploration" group. I walk half an hour most days and occasionally take silver sneakers. I go to school one night a week and take a fun online class at home. I keep my house halfway picked up (more or less). I go to the movies and hit a day trip every so often just for the fun of it. I've started (I think) a weekday women's bible study group. You get the idea.
For some this sounds like chaos, I am sure. And if I were the person who was bothered by the thought of "what will I do now", it might be for me as well. As a person who generally has many more things she wants to do than she has time for however, I don't see this as a real problem. There are a few things that remain in terms of structure-most of those are affected by body clock issues, mealtime needs or the knowledge that I need to walk and clear my head.
The end result, at least for me is a blank canvas each day, to use as I am inspired. This means that rather than a day divided into sections, I have days that flow-mostly depending on how I felt when I got up this morning, or what mood has struck. I may, as happened today, get up and simply decide I'm not ready yet and head back to bed with my coffee. I may (and have) pick a book and up spending the day reading. I may spend the day puttering, or making a quilt from start to finish. Today, I spent much of my day working (literally) on some passive income streams online as well as journaling about articles and my book, that I really need to finish.
Syd talked a week or so about letting go of the list. I confess that I still have the list, and update it every so often. Like her, I'm willing to simply remove some things from the list, knowing that I can always change my mind and add it if things change. Going one step further, and throwing the daily schedule, plan, whatever your word is takes that freedom to another level
This is what works for me, and some people are completely uncomfortable without a daily plan or list. For me, at this time in retirement, I'm going to let the day plan itself, and we'll see how that turns out.
It's working for me, for now.