What a shock I had to see that I haven’t posted since September! September?? How can that be? Retired people have all the time in the world, don’t they?? Ha! I don’t think so. My usual rant these days is, “Where on earth has the day gone?” or “There are just not enough hours in the day any more?”and, of course, “I don’t know where I had the time to hold down a full-time job”. Well, let me tell you that being retired is time-consuming, but it’s time consuming in a non-stressful way, if you see what I mean.
I have to say that I am not the world’s best planner and that does get in the way of a total stress-free existence. When I plan my days/weeks and actually write my plans on the calendar, I have a great time managing my days but I don’t do this regularly enough. So, I would say, step one to a great retirement is plan your time.
I didn’t retire from choice. I saw myself working until I was at least 64 as I had my one and only son when I was 43 years old and imagined that I would need to work and work until he had flown the nest and had become an independent individual. Then I got ill and to ensure a full recovery, I needed to make major changes in my life. After hours of counselling and mindfulness, taking advice and some financial planning, I decided not to return to work so I was totally unprepared for this massive change in my life. As a primary school headteacher I was a bit of a workaholic – eating, sleeping and living school. I had been single up to the age of 42 and so the time I put into my job was never an issue and I loved every moment. In fact, the first 14 years of my career were spent abroad. My first job was in Barcelona. I was 22 years of age and absolutely loved life. The 6 years I spent there was like one long working holiday – sunny days, great friends, wonderful night life and of course, long working days that flew by. But, that is another story. To find myself at age 43, married and with a baby was a bit of a shock. Wonderful, but life changing!! I had somebody else to think about now after spending so long thinking only of myself and saw myself working for ever! But that changed when I was 56 and at 57 I was retired.
So have I managed?
The answer quite simply is yes, so far. At first it was a breeze as I was quite happy to spend time at home, recovering. Slowly, I added a few activities to my week (visit here on this blog) and things have snowballed from there, hence the lack of time I am now experiencing! Maybe it’s time to sit and evaluate my days. Cut back? Who knows?
So what do I do?
Let me offer a few more ideas for your retirement days. Now that I am able to walk again after the hip-op I am able to get out and about again. These are my choices of things to do. I appreciate that we are all different and what I enjoy, you may not, but I have moved out of my comfort zone and am enjoying activities that I didn’t think I would. My biggest tip is to plan your time and your finances and work around them. I not only have a 17-year-old son but I also care for my 96-year-old mother so I have to make sure I keep time for them during the week although I think my son would be quite happy for me to give him as wide a birth as possible!
- DON’T fall into the trap of daytime TV. Keep the TV off. I have joined a Health Club and love it
- Check out daytime classes in your area. You will be surprised to find classes you maybe hadn’t thought of joining. I do flower arranging once a week. There is also a new class beginning for adults interested in acting. Sounds good and I am looking into this albeit that I already belong to an AmDram group.
- get on-line and check out EasyJet and other cheaper airlines (read ALL the small print). You can get so many reasonable flights, off-peak, if you have the time to sit and search. I went to Barcelona in November for £43 round trip. A trip away whether at home or abroad, is good for the soul
- There are numerous walking groups in the area which are lots of fun. They are not too strenuous and it’s also a great time for socialising. Get out into the fresh air and move
- Join a choir. For me, singing and music lifts my spirit and lightness my heart
- Take up blogging. This comes with a warning as it is totally addictive. In fact, turning on the computer is addictive for me as I end up not only blogging but doing lots of research, too and the hours are eaten up. I am also addicted to Candy Crush!! You have been warned!
- Set up or join a Book Club. Even if you are not a big reader, arranging a little area in your home for ‘me time’ is a delight. I fill my area with books and I try to sit quietly and read a few pages each day. You will love your little nook once it is created. Give it a go.
Whatever you decide to do when you retire, enjoy it. It can be overwhelming as you begin a new life journey which is very different from the one you have lived so far but embrace it with optimism and wonder. Get out there and socialise. Open your eyes to new opportunities and just remember that today is the oldest you’ve ever been and the youngest you’ll ever be again so stay young.
I would love to hear from you and share with you your ideas and experiences of retired life. Call back for some more tips and ideas to fill your precious days.