What do you do all day?

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??? 



About Barbara

in april of 2008, i moved from the united states to mexico. during my working days, i held lots and lots of jobs....almost all chosen because they were fun or interesting instead of how much they paid. when i started thinking about retirement (in my 40s), i realized that i would never be able to retire to a country where english was the native language. and although i had traveled to every state in the US -- and lived in lots of them -- i had never been outside the country with the exception of canada and mexico. and since you now know that i could never afford to retire in canada (even to the french-speaking area), mexico won by default.
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11 Responses to What do you do all day?

  1. Mike Osborn says:

    Simply outstanding! It was so good that I plagiarized the entire article (had to change a date, but no matter.) Naw, not really. I did post it to my Google+ page, but gave you credit. I explained that your “laziness” was only exceeded by mine. Ergo, instead of taking the time to write my own feelings on the subject, I just used yours. Abrazos

    • Barbara says:

      mike, i got your google plus posting page! glad you enjoyed this enough to repost it. who knew it would strike such a chord with so many people.

  2. Karen says:

    Great post, Barb. We’ve always looked a little askance at people who say they’d be bored when they retired, and wondered what there was to do. Ah …… traveling, hiking, reading, exploring, learning, reading, …. the whole world (or at least your corner of it) waiting to be discovered by you in your own unique way ……………… I want to tell them, but I don’t. We’ve always loved the retirement plan of fictional character Travis McGee (John D. McDonald books – they’re a little dated, but great stories. He worked when he needed money and had adventures the rest of the time. Karen & Michael

    • Barbara says:

      hi, karen & michael! one of the big downsides to working is that when you have the money you don’t have the time. now i have the time, but not the money, but i still wouldn’t trade it for the other!

  3. Joe Jensen says:

    I couldn’t have said it better myself…….in fact i think I have said the same thing lot’s a times. I’m beginin’ to think we were joined at the hip in a former reality. I don’t do much readin’……mostly remodel the house and fiddle with my dogs and critters. Same thing I’ve done all my life…lol guess I was one of those lucky few that felt like they never had to work or have a job. Life has been one big rodeo with a party every few days Only thing different since I “retired”……..takes a hell of a lot longer to get any thing done. The down side is the income part and the fact that I used up all my body parts years ago……..wouldn’t do anything different if I had a do over……..I’d just do more of it!!!!!

  4. ric watson says:

    You so help me to remove the guilt of not working. As one who got up at 3:30 to 4am to begin the day ever sense I was a 10 yr old boy. Even when I stay up till 2 to 3 am I feel guilty or embarrasised if I sleep in. I’ll repent and try to feel better about being lazy and free. Your still my hero.

    • Barbara says:

      ric, since i quit working, i’ve never felt guilty about not working. now i’ll admit there were some times during my working life when i felt a little guilt about not working hard enough. that’s one of the reasons i changed jobs so often….or at least transferred to another section or another park. whenever my job started being so easy that i felt i wasn’t working hard enough, i just went into some area or field that i didn’t know anything about. then i felt kinda stupid….but at least not guilty!

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  6. Gigi says:

    And just think of the folks who say – I don’t know what I’d do with my time if I wasn’t working, or something along that line! Heck you’re living proof that you don’t HAVE to do much and you still have fun! Sounds like Mike and Joe would agree, too. Keep going for it!

  7. Vicky says:

    Barb thanks for you comments our family and friends always say what do you do all day and don’t you miss the money you could of made instead of retiring early. I say to them no I don’t have to do anything all day if I don’t want to and I can go out any day of the week without worry if I can get up in the morning and no I don’t miss the money because I’ve learned to slow down and not keep up with the Jones and to simplify my life. Moving to Mexico was the best decision we ever made!

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