I am still trying to make sense of this new life and it’s amazing how many people want to know what I do with myself all day and how I came to the conclusion that moving north was the right thing to do. This Tuesday I had a wonderful lunch with my high school friend, Barbara. Went to Goshen, NY, a very pretty little town and had a wonderful lunch at Catherine’s. But…the best part about it was catching up with Barbara, learning about her family, who she is as an adult, what we have in common (quite a lot), and of course discussing the upcoming (we hope!) reunion of the Jericho High School Class of 1963. We talked a lot about what it was like for me to be retired and she asked outright, “What do you do all day?” I’ve been asked this before and give it a good deal of thought as regular readers of this blog are well aware (and probably bored by it at this point), but it’s a big deal after a lifetime of working or being engaged in productive activities of some sort. So here’s a list of what I’ve learned and am still processing about retirement as a single woman.
1. I don’t miss work, not one bit.
2. The guilt I feel about not doing anything society deems productive some days is quickly assuaged by learning something new, spending time with family, or invoking the “I’ve earned it” factor.
3. Retirement should be a time for reflection, slowing down to enjoy small things, and planning the next phase of life.
4. There is no reason to keep doing what I’ve done for most of my life so finding something new and interesting, possibly even creative, takes time and research.
5. Keeping a flexible schedule allows me to be more spontaneous than I’ve ever been in my life.
6. On the downside, retirement does mean (for me anyway) a fixed income that is significantly less than when I was working so there are some lifestyle adjustments.
7. Having time to think about my life and where I am now, how I got here, and where I want to go is a luxury.
8. I make up projects for the down days but find I am not as motivated as I would like. This is not a bad thing. Identifying projects and not doing them is a benefit of retirement too!!
9. I am available whenever my children have time to see me and that’s a huge advantage for me and I think for them as well.
10. Learning to get around in New York City and relearning the neighborhoods is an ongoing process that I am enjoying immensely.
The freedom of retirement and of moving to a place where no one knows me takes a lot of getting used to. What do I do all day? Some days a lot; other days not much. And that’s okay!