You Know You Are Retired When….

Here I am packing for another trip. In the past, this would not have been unusual if it were official vacation or even business travel. But, it’s simply a random get-away. Insert light bulb going off here: ‘I am retired!!’

As strange as it may seem, I often forget that I am no longer employed. This isn’t only due to my  ‘ingrained work patterns’ (although I definitely have them). It’s more that the things that I do in retirement have become my job (both my passions, and my responsibilities—the exciting, and the mundane). After all, I retired from a position…not from life.

This blog, cooking, house/yard maintenance, dog-walking, budgeting, exercise, travel and taking care of the ones that I love…are all part of my current job description.  It’s a flexible, fluid list that shifts and is modified daily. Still, there are moments when reality strikes me, and I blurt out loud, “It’s true…I really am retired!” Here are few of my defining retirement moments.

Loafing and Puttering: It’s a brand new skill for me…but I honestly believe that I am getting the hang of it.

Realizing that Other People Still Work: When I take out the recycling, I am always surprised to see people walking onto the school bus, or getting into their cars, briefcases in hand. I am reminded that it is no longer a holiday. Seriously, it jolts me every single time.

Does Anyone Really Know What Time it is? I am frequently unsure of what day or date it is (except for garbage and recycling days…because I have an email reminder sent to my phone)!

Casual Friday Anyone?  What I used to wear for “Dress Down Day” at work is now what I wear when I want to dress smartly. Me in jeans is now me gussied up.

Empty Store Syndrome: I now know what the inside of a mall looks like on a non-weekend, non-holiday. There is so much space — it almost echoes! Really, who knew?

Forbidden  Fruit: My Book Club meets on a Wednesdays at…wait for it…1:30 p.m.!  My walking group also meets midweek and midday. In my previous life, I had no idea that this would ever be possible…or allowed. (In a future post, I will mention more about the average age in our small town. Spoiler alert: It’s old!)

How Early is Too Early? Richard and I regularly eat dinner three hours earlier than we did during our work lives. (And I say ‘three hours’ because I don’t want to embarrass myself and admit that it is sometimes ‘four.’)

Open Classroom: On a previous post, I received a very insightful comment from a reader named Marilyn. A lifelong learner, she wrote that one of the best features of her retirement is that she now gets to choose her lessons….and her teachers. This is an aspect of retirement on which I wish to capitalize further.

Task Completion:  Similar to the freedom to choose your own learning, is the freedom to complete your tasks at your own pace. I can binge-task on one day, and play hooky the next. (I also have ‘pajama days’, like today, where I just get stuff done…without ever getting out of my PJs). I can abort an unfulfilling task half way through, or simply shelve a project for a very long time. Ignoring tasks in front of me was an unfamiliar concept to me during my work life.  But, like with loafing and puttering, I believe that I am quickly catching on!

24/7:   I now get to do things in ‘real time,’ with much less need to delay gratification.  A perfect example is the day that our first grandchild was born. He arrived earlier than expected. The moment that I got the call, I was on the next ferry (literally) and was able to meet Charlie shortly after he was born. I plan to do this again when our next two grandchildren are born (this November and December). Now, how cool is that?

So, what are your defining retirement moments (real or imagined)? I’d love to read them!


32 Replies to “You Know You Are Retired When….”

  1. All of your observations resonated with me, but especially the comment “the things that I do in retirement have become my job”.
    After 5 years, I still feel like I’m in transition and haven’t yet found my ‘next chapter’.
    I wonder if part of that feeling comes from the fact that my husband has not retired … nor does he have any desire to anytime soon. So I’m usually left in a holding pattern to do things alone.

    1. This is a very interesting perspective, Joanne. I look forward to going through your blog posts and reading more about it. When my husband and I began to discuss our retirement, the one constant that both of us wanted was to retire at the same time.
      With me being eleven years younger, that gave me an early retirement…for which I am most grateful!

  2. Donna, I agree with you on all points! I still find myself being amazed when I realize others are working while I shop or relax. Retirement is a sweet, civilized blessing.

  3. Exactly! I could have written this post – but I’m glad you did because I’m way to busy loafing and puttering. I do envy your 1:30 book club – although I enjoy mine, most of the members are still working (bless their hearts) and I find that not only do I have less and less in common with them, but our 5:30 start time puts me in rush hour traffic, something that I’ve tried to avoid since retiring.

    1. I often feel this way about your posts, Janis!
      It would be great to be able to join other people’s book clubs virtually.
      Our book for today’s meetings is Through Black Spruce (Joseph Boyden). Next month’s book is Saturday (Ian McEwan).

  4. Loved reading this Donna, I laughed I could almost hearing you saying “It’s true…I really am retired!”

    I went through all of the things you said. I love pajama days, those days I pray that the neighbour does not come over because sometimes my face does not get dressed. (haha)

    I love the fact, things are on our schedule and we are in charge of our life.

    Continue to enjoy this new part of life.

  5. Loafing and puttering…whichever you feel like, yes! I did a 6 week work gig in the spring. Good Lord, I was exhausted. It interrupted my schedule (which is really a non-schedule). I had to get up early, shower and dress (and this was just 2 days a week for 6 weeks). At the end of it, I was glad it was over. I enjoyed it immensely but I like my retirement.

    1. Hi, Kate: Before I retired, I assumed that I would do some part-time work in retirement. Now that I have been retired for just over a year, I really don’t know where I would find the time! (:

  6. I can relate about the calendar. Two years out from the day I left my career, I still struggle not so much with specific days of the week, but with a perspective about where we are in month, when something recently happened (was it two weeks ago or three?), or a time horizon about when we should plan something. I used to deal with such matters with a notable element of precision. Now I wing it a lot more to the extent where I’ve gotten sloppy a bit.

    1. Totally!! !t still feels like the beginning of September to me (although my calendar tells me that in two days it will be October). This would never have happened to me when I was working (working in schools I was fully aware of September!)

  7. Dear lord I certainly can agree with most of these. In my case I still going out two evenings a week (just for the fall). because I take a four intensive class in the evening one day a week. Other than that though, both craft groups meet at one PM, two book groups the same, my ollie classes are during the day when I take them (none this fall), and my exrcise classes are during the day.

    Even better about retirement though is I never have to shop on the weekends, I can go to movies at the midweek matinee and I dont have an alarm clock (except for quarterly fasting blood work or catching flights).

    1. Hi, Barbara – Thanks so much for commenting. You provide a great snapshot of a day in the life of the active retiree. Right now I am sitting with my calendar (and coffee) wondering how I am possibly going to fit in everything that I want to do this month. (And that’s just the ‘want-to-dos’…I will leave the ‘should-dos’ until later!)
      Thanks again!

  8. As usual… so inspiring! I personally am working on my “loafing and puttering” skills. And I so need to try out “Pajama days”!! So, how did you find the mid-week, mid-day book and walking clubs? I’m in need of some good “friend finding” activities; I am still missing the affinity & connections I had from working.

    1. Thanks, Pat! The answer to your question is “yoga”. I swear that it works every single time! When we retired and moved to a brand new area (Vancouver Island), I sought out a copy of the town’s recreation center program guide and signed up for yoga. From there I met someone who became a good friend and introduced me to others in the area, Walking Club and Newcomer’s Club. From Newcomer’s Club, I joined Book Club. I am now in Palm Desert for the month. Once again, yoga has introduced me to a friend who has introduced me to others, as well as to clubs and events in the area. I hope that this helps! Good luck!

  9. I really struggled when I retired at 55 to spend more time with my husband. I thought it would be much different and after an initial overseas holiday after 3 months I wondered what I would do with the rest of my life. What did I do? I started a blog which I think many retirees do but I also love your thoughts and finally have come to accept retirement as giving up work but not giving up on living a full life.

    1. Hi, Sue – you are absolutely right. Retirement should not mean giving up living a full life. What I love about retirement in 2017 is that we are no longer living our grandparents’ retirement and are surrounded by choice.
      Thanks for stopping by. I visited your blog this morning and was inspired by your work on role modeling for our children and grandchildren. I am just on the ferry now to spend a week with one of my sons, DIL and grandson so your post was very timely!

    1. Thanks, Leanne – I highly recommend retirement to those who feel ready for it. Working three-days a week sounds like it offers the best of both worlds.
      BTW – I am greatly enjoying your A-Z challenge … and am even more impressed that you can post each day while still working!

    1. Thanks, Carol – My husband and I do try to keep ‘defined weekends’ in our retirement…but I can still easily lose track of what day it is.
      Thanks for stopping by, and for hosting!

    1. Thanks, Dee – I greatly admire and appreciate your generosity in highlighting, and encouraging, other bloggers.
      Great linkup!!

  10. I wish I were retired. But soon. I think what I look forward to most is not hearing an alarm and allowing my body to naturally wake up. I would love to not feel so rushed to finish everything over the weekend and finally, I would love it if I did not have to plan vacations around the number of days I have left. I think I could adapt. 🙂 Thank you for sharing this post at the #BloggingGrandmothersLinkParty. I shared on social media.

    1. Hi, Clearissa – All the things that you list are usually very achievable in retirement. I bet you could adapt very well!! Thanks for co-hosting this linkup and thank you for sharing my post on your social media!

    1. Hi, Lori – Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Thank you also for co-hosting. I’m off now to check out your most recent post.

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