Wicked Thistle has set me task or a meme (which I really don’t understand except that it’s a bunch of questions)
…she wants to know about retirement... hmmm.
First, I must say that I was touched and moved that this might actually be a topic worth discussing, so thank you.
Let me just prop up my arthritic knee and throw bag of ice on it. You pull up a chair and you can share this fine cheddar cheese and have a wee dram of whiskey. I'll do my best to answer as honestly as possible, although I must admit; if I just wait 24 hours you will have much funnier answers.
1. What do you like best about retirement?
Freedom. Freedom from responsibility, freedom from guilt, freedom from accountability. Were it not for the choice of having two dogs, around whom I my life rotates right now, I could go anywhere, live anywhere, do anything or not do anything. Yup, I'd have to say, freedom.
2. What about it has surprised you the most?
That I would not feel compelled to do or participate in something equally productive. And that my being at home, felt as comfortable as it did so quickly. I'm sure that part of that was due to my working in home health care for the past seven years, and not actually being in an office.
3. Have you been able to shed the burden that this do, do, do culture places on us for producing and earning? If so, what was that moment like for you?
No, "the burden" is still there, and while I don't feel an obligation to hold a job, per se, I feel that I should be doing something productive every day, even if its household chores-which were just part of the landscape when I was working. I make up some pretty good stories to justify reading a book, magazine or blog. Pretty silly mind games.
4. What do you miss, if anything, about working?
The routine. Before home health care, I worked in research with some fabulous office mates (as you well know, WT, having been one). On many a stressful day, I can remember being excited about going to work because of the people with whom I worked. With my last job I did not really make any lasting friendships. And when I retired, I just slipped into fade. It wasn't really an end or a big finale. It was more like... I just wasn't working anymore. Sort of anti-climactic. As I think about it right now it makes me really, really sad.
5. Describe one way that you have changed since retiring.
The very first day after I retired (quite surprisingly) I just didn't make my bed! I went back in later in the day and laughed, because I don't remember the last time that happened. But actually the one way I changed was that I gained weight. I really somehow believed that by avoiding restaurants and fast food, I could magically lose weight. HA! The refrigerator is in the center of the house.
6. How has being on a fixed income affected your lifestyle?
The first six months was a little scary. I was getting a regular amount from my retirement, 401(k) but was not eligible for Social Security for seven months. I had spent at least a year looking at my expenses and crunching numbers over and over and over. I was pretty sure that I could retire early and be okay. And I am okay, but it was hard to anticipate inflation. My parents were Depression Era and I will always worry.
7. Do you ever think you'll go back to working in any capacity?
Yes, I think I would like to have some kind of structure or stimulus. Even if it means being a Wal-Mart greeter-- and I would be in damn fine Wal-Mart greeter! I can’t seem to do that for myself.
8. Do you find it difficult to be around your grumpy, bitter working friends? Do you ever wish you could smack them in the forehead with a flyswatter just to stop their endless bitching about deadlines, stoopid co-workers, and long days?
No, my friend, I don't. I often feel sad that my friends don't have more time to play, and sometimes it makes me feel old, but mostly, I enjoy the stories vicariously.
9. As you look down the road to your continued retirement, what do you want to do with all that luscious time?
My short-term vision includes rehabbing my sore knee (which I injured in my pool- the first week I had it by being stupid.) I would like to continue to swim every day, increasing the time and speed so that I can become stronger and more flexible with increased endurance. The secondary goal would be an increasing my stamina and strength-I will actually lose weight. And then I may be able to participate more fully in some activities with my young friends. Beyond that: I would like to study photography and learn Photoshop, perhaps take a course in dichroic glass making, spend more time in Belize and spend more time with my family. I would also like to do something that would afford me the opportunity of working with dogs-even on a short-term basis like Best Friends.
As for number 10, I would like to spend more time with spiritual, artistic and intuitive parts of my life, which have been sadly neglected. Part of this will include my writing and reading more books.
As I said at the beginning, these answers would be far more humorous if the Wicked Thistle had supplied them and perhaps she will-- we sometimes share a brain, you know. I appreciate her asking them would like to pass this set of questions or meme on to our friend A.Fanny-because I would love to know, her feelings on the subject.