Monday, June 29, 2015

The Unscheduled Retirement-The Only Five Things I Do Every Day

Last week I was at a meeting where many of the attendees were retirees.  In the mists of our discussions, somehow the topic of schedule our retirements came up. One woman had a regular daily schedule that included setting an alarm every day, and scheduling cleaning.  Others (this was a group of men and women) all had different I ideas of what their days looked like, or even if there should be a schedule in retirement.

As you are probably aware of by now, I do not have a retirement schedule-to say the least.  For many retirees, having a regular schedule seems to allow them to get more done, and do more of what they want to do.  I do not have a retirement schedule, and in fact I rarely schedule even the day ahead other than regular commitments and appointments.

For those wondering, I promise that I do not get less done because I am an un-scheduler.  I belong to two reading groups, a knitting group, a sewing group. I take an online class and during the traditional school year I take at least one real college class a semester.  I try to take a day trip a week, I take long trips a few times a year and weekend breaks often. I volunteer a minimum of two half days a week at two different agencies. I quilt, I write, I take photographs. I exercise. I also watch TV, read a book or two a week and enjoy concerts, festivals and fun. 
I also earn money on the side, go out to lunch, brunch and dinner on occasion, and more.  No is not my favorite word, as a rule.

I do all of this without having a schedule as such. I don't set an alarm but once in a blue moon, and I wake up and get up when I feel like it most days.  Some days I get up and have my busy time in the morning, Some days I sit and read half a day and do my projects, errands or social stuff in the afternoon. While I eat dinner with others at generally the same time, breakfast and lunch vary as to the time I get up.

Into every life a little regularity must come however, even mine. Pressed by a friend to tell her what I did every single day, this is the list I came up with.  These are the things I know I do every day (other than feeding myself, showering and the like). I don't do them at the same time every day, but I do them.  And although the list is short, they all improve my life-and probably bring me some sense of organization, like it or not!
  • Every morning, no matter what time I get up, I sit in my blue chair (which will probably become a recliner for my knees in the fall), with my morning coke.  This is the time when I do my morning meditation, relax, and look at the comings and goings out the window. I also may quickly text a family member.  As I am a non morning person, this allows me to wake up and enjoy the day fully.
  • At some time every single day (barring freezing temps and heavy precipitation) I sit on my patio or in the gazebo for at least one half an hour, either rocking in the swing, reading or just observing the garden and the yard.  The timing of these sits depends on the weather and the heat, and will be an all weather experience once my landlord and I (hello, brother), decide whether to cover the pergola or the patio with something more permanent.

  • Every day, I do some kind of exercise. Some days this is pool walking, some days it is walking outside, some days I may walk around Target three or four times if I am doing errands. Once in a while it is a silver sneakers class. I deliberately choose not to commit to exercise or a class at the same kind of day, because as someone who has quite a few "sitting" hobbies, I prefer to break up that time with exercise rather than saying "I'll go for a walk every day after dinner for an hour".
  • While I do not necessarily get dressed immediately every day (I don't live in a place where people just come knocking at my door, and I wear the kind of long -shirt dress style of sleepwear that can be mistaken for a dress), when I do get dressed I get dressed for the day. I do not throw on causal clothes and then change for lunch or class-although I do dress according to the kind of day I expect to have. If and when I change during the day it is only to add a cardigan or over shirt, or in very rare circumstances to change shorts for long pants. And when I do that I don't have to change everything else. My casual style, bright mix and match clothes and coordinating jewelery and scarf allow me to go almost anywhere in the same clothing. I do have a big shirt I wear when messy crafting, as well as gross painting/gardening clothing.
  • I keep Fridays free. While this is not an every day schedule thing, It does contribute to what little organization I have. This doesn't mean I do nothing on Friday, just the opposite. By scheduling all my social, school and volunteer stuff on the other four traditional weekdays, I allow myself three days of open space in terms of travel (many of the people I socialize with are still in the working world, and have to travel small trips on the weekend rather during the weekdays), without having to worry about covering my volunteer duties or missing a fun social event.  Since many of my hobbies can require long, intensive periods, this allows me a full day to completely quilt a project, have a marathon baking session, make a photo album, or spend a full day reading or studying. Keeping Friday free also lets me take advantage of the first day of those festivals and fairs that pop up regularly, without hitting the weekend crowds. Most events in this area seem to be Friday through Sunday, giving me the chance to do the non weekend thing on Friday.
  • Although this is not a daily schedule item, I do have three events in the summer and four events the rest of the year that are scheduled on the same day every single week. To be sure, I do a lot of different social activities. But the only things I do at the exact same time every non traveling week are two volunteer gigs from 9-12, a Wednesday afternoon knitting and happy hour group, and a Tuesday night college class. These are things I do every week, but not every day.
  • Finally, every night as I get ready for bed, I force myself to see that most things are put away in my house-I actually fold the blanket that has been covering me on the couch, make sure my glass gets to the dishwasher and put the dogs toys into the basket. 

And there you have it, those few things that make up the regular part of my day. Like I said, this obviously does not include those things such as showering, brushing my teeth, and feeding myself. There are other things that are done almost every day, but not scheduled. For example I don't schedule cleaning. I'm of the "accidental" school of home keeping. All that means is that I clean as I go and rarely schedule a cleaning session. I wipe the stove when I do the dishes, and while the house gets vacuumed and dusted at least twice a week (we have dogs after all), that is done by someone when they feel the need to do it. There is not a cleaning day.

Other people work and play better in retirement with more scheduling. This works for me right now because I have a few weekly commitments around which I can have my un-scheduled life; because the other person in this house is also an un-scheduler at heart who still works; and because I have the kind of lifestyle and hobbies that allow me to leave things and return to them.

Today, I spent the morning doing those, "the first of the month is almost here" things. I scheduled my monthly bank debits, and double checked my budget for the month, for example. I also wrote this blog post, spent some time scheduling my three or four day trip to South Dakota, ordered holiday fabric, sat outside with the dogs, and decided to actually go and see two movies this week (Mad Max and the Terminator). 

This afternoon I will finish this scrappy Christmas quilt by sewing variegated (multicolored) thread in the borders, scan pictures of our Normandy trip so I can take advantage of a free photo book offer, and then do a half hour indoor walking workout, and then read or watch TV until dinner. I'll also try to decide where to donate this really bright, really bright quilt!

Tomorrow, who knows? Oh, and although I'll blog about the hwole experience once I have my own care back, home, I have goten an estimate, they have started work, and I'm driving this Hyundai Sonata in the meantime.


  1. I am a scheduler, just can't help it. Must be something to do with a slight case of OCD. I just can't seem to not do so.

    God bless.

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