Friday, January 1, 2016

You Say Retiree, I Say Retired......

But let's not call the whole thing off just because of semantics.

A couple of days ago I got to use the word "retired" for the first in a formal sense when referring to myself. It felt weird, I'll admit. I'd better get used to it because I  officially retired from my full-time professional career on December 18th and haven't shaved, taken a shower or changed my underwear since. Actually, I am showering and changing underwear daily, but the shaving has been intermittent.

Several days after I retired, I got an e-mail from a former work colleague who put "Hey Retiree" in the subject line. That also felt weird and I responded back by stating that "I may be retired but I'm not a retiree." Retirees head for Denny's Restaurant at 4 in the afternoon for the early bird senior special, flock like a birds to Florida or Arizona in the winter,  populate bingo parlors and ride on tour busses to Branson, Missouri to see the Osmond Brothers or whatever is left of Lawrence Welk's cast of characters such as Bobby and Sissy, Guy and Ralna, the tap dancer Arthur Duncan or maybe even Myron Floren if he is still alive. 

Forgive me for deploying some cheap stereotypes of retirees, but I'm finding out this whole retired thing might take more getting used to than I imagined. I mean if I'm struggling over the use of a word, what am I going to do next week when the holidays are officially over and almost everyone else goes back to work? Go to bingo? Head to Denny's? I don't think so. 

For starters, I'm going to enjoy Sunday nights even more than ever and not just because Downton Abbey's final season begins this week. I've heard from good sources that Sunday evening, minus the anticipation, anxiety or dread of a work work that looms over you, becomes one of the little joys of being retired. Gone is the mental rehearsal of what the work week will bring, thus freeing the retiree up to simply enjoy the evening, Downton Abbey not withstanding. I think I can get used to this.

Here's a list of other things I could get used to as a newly retired guy:

  • Not setting an alarm to get up at the break of dawn everyday in order to get to the gym before heading off to work, with one eye on the clock and the other on the next piece of equipment I need and what my plan B will be if some turkey hogs it, because one must always keep on schedule, no matter what. Instead, I'll be waking up naturally and getting to the gym after the morning rush, then heading home to have breakfast, coffee with Georgette and maybe even join her and Grace, the beagle for a walk on a nearby trail. 

  • Going to movies in the early afternoon during the week, where the tickets are discounted and  crowds don't exist. Never mind that we will be sneaking in a can of soda and a bottle of water and bypassing the $11 dollar bag of popcorn since we are on a retirement budget-we both love going to movies and I can get used to seeing a few more. 

  • Time to plan, putter and putz around in the garden. The first of many garden catalogs started showing up in our mailbox last week and even though the ground  s covered in snow, their presence activates my anticipation of another gardening season. Gardens are meant to be puttered and putzed in, so I've heard. I have little experience in garden putzing but I've heard that it is quite satisfying and I'm hoping to master the art of "gartzing" which is a word I just made up. It is the combination of "garden" and "putzing". Yeah, gartzing, I think I can get used to that too.

  • Then there is the issue of all the stuff (shit, depending your point of view) that I've accumulated over the years that has been occupying space in basement. Record albums, CD's, music memorabilia, paraphernalia, crap, junk or any other term one would use to describe the objects that will end up in a dumpster should I experience an untimely passing. Forgive me for being morose, but is there such a thing as a timely passing? Irregardless of the timeliness of one's departure from the material world, there's a bunch of shit waiting for me to get my shit together, or least get rid of some of it. And since I really don't know what I have, I'm looking forward to taking a walk down memory lane as I sort through and give my stuff the proper disposal it deserves.

Such will be some of the life of this retired guy. And yet, the matter of "retired" vs. "retiree" still needs to be resolved. 

Earlier when I referenced using the term "retired" in a formal sense for the first time, it was when I was filling out a job application for a part-time position at the fitness center I belong to. When I was asked for current employer on the job application, I smirked as I write down "retired". Yep, I start this week working for a few hours,  a couple of days a week doing customer service work. How crazy is that? Retire one week, get a part-time job the next.

However, I've been told that this a normal thing for a......get this.... retiree to do.  In fact, when I looked up retiree in several dictionaries, the common definition is "someone who has retired from an occupation or profession". I guess that makes me a retiree, no matter what I think of the word. 

I guess I've got some adjusting to do with this whole retirement thing. If it's like anything else if learned about life, there will be much to learn and how I approach it will have much to do with how I experience it. 

So I've decided you can call me retired or a retiree.

Just don't call me late to dinner for the 4pm early bird special at Denny's.

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