It's about 3 in the afternoon on a Friday and my first week of retirement is winding down. The house is quiet, not a sound to be heard but the whir of the furnace every now and then. Georgette is sitting in one of our windsor chairs with Grace the beagle sandwiched between her and the armrest, both dozing, napping or in some state of slumber. I'm in the other windsor with my I-pad in my lap, a cup of decaf on the stand next to me, listening on my earbuds to a live Kenny Loggins/Michael McDonald concert from 1988 that I downloaded from the Internet.
I'm discovering that retirement, at least this early phase I am in, is a creative process of weaving old routines into new routines. Blessed with an abundance of time that was once relegated to a full-time job, this is truly a "quality problem" as far as problems go. The notion of retirement wasn't really an expectation of most Americans until after WW II, when people started to live longer, had Social Security or pension as a means of income and the notion that leisure was a good thing.
My leisurely day did not start out as leisurely as the current state of the household I described in the opening of this story. Instead of getting up at the butt-crack of dawn and trudging off to the gym, I slept a little longer than I would have pre-retirement, then headed off to the neighborhood high school to meet with the young man I mentor at 8am, a routine that I've kept for the past 10 years. From there, I headed to the gym where I got talked into joining a group exercise class ( I normally work out on my own). I must have had "sucker" written all over my face because this class, which is called "Insanity", lived up to its name. I survived and may even try it again (there is something kind of cool about being 63 and participating in a class called "Insanity") but that remains to be seen.
After a light lunch, it was time to crank out the snow blower to deal with the inch or 2 of slush that covered our driveway and was destined to turn into a glacier when the temperatures drop into the teens tonight. That was followed by a session on the I-mac finalizing my health insurance purchase necessitated by my departure from the full-time career. Once that was accomplished, it was time to settle into the windsor chair and join the relaxed crew in the serene living room. That brings us up to the present time.
What's on tap for the rest of this day, you might ask?
Well, we won't be hitting the early bird special at the Golden Corral Buffet, that's for sure. Although after that insane group exercise class, I could eat a horse. I'm sure Georgette has dinner planned and from there, we will head over to the neighborhood high school to watch a boys basketball game using the "senior passes" I picked up this morning while there for mentoring. Free basketball-a perfect activity for us old folks. The game starts at 7:15 and is done by around 8:45 and since we live just down the street, we can be home and in bed by 9:30. And the popcorn is cheap, not like the rip-off prices at the movie theaters. Must be mindful of our retirement budget, you know.
I don't know if this will be typical of most Fridays in retirement, after all it is pretty early in the journey. Plus, it is winter, cold and snowy and I suspect in spring and summer, garden time will prevail and naps will be taken in the patio alongside the bevy of flowers that will be in bloom.
The other days of this week found me at my new part-time job at the fitness center on several days, working on some projects here at home and venturing out one afternoon to spend some gift certificates while most of the rest of the world was at work.
Week one of retirement is almost In the books - weekends don't count because I had those before. Just enough structure to keep me from waddling all day. Plenty of open time to improvise or create spur of the moment adventures. Some familiar, some new, with a bit more space in-between.
I think I could get used to this retirement thing.