You know, after I retired and moved to Mexico back in April of 2008, I got a lot of queries from friends about what I did all day. It was a totally legitimate question. I mean, I had been working full time for more than 40 years. If I didn’t have work as my something to do, how was I going to spend my time?
But for me, it really wasn’t a problem….and it’s still not. So what do I do all day? Anything I damn well please and can afford, that’s what! Retirement, as with childbirth, is one of those things that people … at least, MY people … just don’t talk about in polite company. If they did, we’d never have kids and we’d all retire early. Not that there’s anything wrong with that!
What most of your retired and relatively poor friends and/or relatives don’t want you to know is how rewarding laziness can be. Oh, sure, there are those poor souls whose life revolved around their work and once they were no longer working, they felt their life was without meaning. But that is SO not me!
I’ve always been one of those lazy folk and one of those people who mostly only work so they can afford to feed, clothe, and house themselves and their child or children. I did always try to find work that I could enjoy, and for which I am now suffering the dearth of Social Security payments, but I always felt that retirement was gonna be the most fun part of this time on earth.
And, for once, I was right!
So what makes retirement so much fun? For me, it’s the lack of having to live your life around going to work. I know that’s pretty much a tautological statement [I do not work, therefore I am retired; I am retired, therefore I do not work], but I’m not sure I can say it much more clearly.
I read blogs or fora answers from people down here in Mexico who talk about how they are busier than they were when they were living NOB and working. They seem proud and happy about that. Bless their little hearts, they think this is a good thing. But as for me, by cutting out the eight or nine or ten hours a day that I spent working and getting to and from work, I have so much more time for doing nothing but what I damn well please!
So what pleases me? Reading! A lot. Way more than I did when I was working and that’s saying something since I read a helluva lot then. But retirement gives me the gift of literally staying up all night and reading if I want to without worrying about the fact that I have to get up in the morning and go to work.
But, you cynics and naysayers and devil’s advocates say, doesn’t that take away from the anticipation of getting back to that great book after work? To which I reply “nuh uh!” Anticipation and delayed gratification are not all they’re cracked up to be. Oh, sure, sometimes they’re great. Sex comes to mind. But instant gratification is pretty darn pleasing, too. Sex and siestas comes to mind. Although perhaps not doing them at the same time.
Another thing that pleases me about retirement is that I can go places and do things on days when most other folks are working. During my years of working in the national parks, one of my favorite things was having my days off in the middle of the week. Back then we used to say happily on a Monday or Tuesday or Wednesday “This is my Friday!” What that meant, of course, is that two upcoming weekdays were our weekends. We would be some of the lucky working stiffs who didn’t have to deal with all those other working stiffs who wouldn’t have any time off until all the other working stiffs got theirs. You know, those who only got their Friday on Friday.
As nice as it was to have my Friday on Tuesday, I now have my Friday every freaking day of the week! How good is that???