"There are many more ways to be attractive than to be beautiful. "
-- William Landay, Mission Flats

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Retired ... but Busy!

     I have to make a conscious effort not to roll my eyes when retirees complain that they have nothing to do, and then they whine, "So how come we're so busy?!?"

     When a retired person says something like that, it makes them seem a little ditsy (dare I say senile?), and not in control of their own time or their own life.

     However, be that as it may, for the past few weeks, I want to say: If I'm supposed to be retired, how come I'm so busy?!?

     Well, there was the wedding. B's son got married last weekend -- everything went off swimmingly; the ceremony was sweet, the reception was fun, the family all got along together. The preparations and the event itself took up a lot of time and mental energy, even though my responsibilities were fairly minor. My chief role in the wedding was to carry copious amounts of Kleenex and parcel out sheets of hankies to B immediately upon her frequent requests.

     Okay, I might make fun of her. But it is an emotional time. Besides, I admit, I'm jealous. My own two kids are older than hers, yet they don't have any wedding plans on the horizon, or even (as far as I know) over the horizon.

     But it's not just the wedding. I bought a new car. Actually, I leased the car, since that required a smaller outlay of funds and seemed to be a better deal in the long run anyway. But it takes a lot of time to do the research and visit the car dealers and then do more research and visit more car dealers and then make a decision. (I got an Acura TLX which, so far, I'm liking very much.)

     Then I had that eye problem. I made and kept a doctor's appointment; and even though he said my floaters were routine, he wanted me to come back. And when I did go back, a few weeks later, he said he wanted me to make yet another appointment. Everything looks fine, he said, but I have some little spots of blood in the fluid in my eyes and he just wants to check them out one more time.

     Then I had to get a crown on one of my teeth. I was getting a cavity, and there was already a large filling in the tooth, and the dentist said there wasn't enough tooth left to add another filling. And of course, it turned out the crown needed some adjustment, so it was back to the dentist again for a little extra drilling and buffing.

I tutor here at the community college library
     All those medical appointments. They take up a lot of time. But I guess I'd better get used to it. I'm not getting any younger.

     Then I joined a golf league, which plays every Monday morning until mid-August. So that takes pretty much one whole day out of the week (because, at my age, after 4 - 5 hours on the golf course, in the heat, all I want to do is come home, lie on the couch, sip iced tea and read the paper or watch TV.)

     And then, after taking almost two months off from tutoring, I've signed up for the second summer session. Three hours, twice a week. Plus the commute. Plus fielding all the emails from the tutoring coordinator, who seems to have not much to do but write emails to her volunteers.

     And in the midst of all this, what should happen? A former colleague called me up. Do I have time to take on a job? Yes, of course, I said. Because if you're a freelancer, and you turn down a job, you're afraid they'll never call you back.

     So you see? I'm a very busy retired person! But please don't roll your eyes. Just answer me this: Can you retire from retirement?


DJan said...

I had to move away in order to retire properly. I got some distance between me and the temptation to go back to work, and even so I've done some work for my old boss. Yes, it is interesting how busy I sometimes get and wonder how I ever had time to squeeze in my job! :-)

Denise said...

Well, yes and no. I agree with the idea that you are SUPPOSED to relax and enjoy this time. You (and I) earned it. On the other hand, medical appts. are a part-time job. Today an EKG and blood work for arthroscopic knee surgery next week. I like (1) sleeping in most days if I want to; (2) taking a book and laying by the pool with 50SPF, (3) having people over or like today, having lunch with a friend, (4) going to free concerts with my husband. I write also, and I maintain our class website and next year is our 45th reunion, so very soon we are into that. Then there is church activities, singing with the symphony choral, and Bible study during the school year. I exercise but that's on hold pending this darn surgery and recovery. But, I consider it a priority. I have two kids and two grandkids, but I'm not in their lives daily. It's a Wonderful Life. And yes, we earned it!

Tabor said...

I am totally schizophrenic on this. I want free weeks with nothing on the calendar, but I also want some volunteer work that is more fulfilling. Have not been successful with either-yet.

Anonymous said...

You must have the means for a leased car, the crown and the eye appointments and the golf league..Most people I know cannot do too much at all, their cost of living is squeezing them hard, I know I volunteer at a food pantry and d/v domestic violence place and I have little time, but soon I am stepping away..We have an HMO and to get a decent doctor not a doctor of Homeopathic and a PA is something else, I have to be ever vigilant for the amount we pay our union for the privelge, we go to the beach often childhood friends and the eastern part of our state, only thing of it is biggest drought in 100 of years in Washington state, no water and no ski season and little if any water to contain the big Wenatchee burn over in eastern Washington, hard times call for being brave and GRATEFUL AND HAPPY FOR ONE HAS..This is not heaven on earth whatsoever, more like the place they say in most Christian churches, I firmly believe the only hell one would ever have is on this terra firma and happy as hell I believe that way and my hubs of many years thinks that way..You are very well off in my book, how about saying some things on being grateful!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Heidrun Khokhar, KleinsteMotte said...

I'm not sure retirement really is a time for nothingness. It just a phase when one can budget pension income rather than job income and one changes routine of heading to a work place. Instead one is as busy as ever with newly chosen activities. The bummer is one becomes aware of health limitations more and more and one is far more intrspective about end of life thoughts as time keeps ticking.

stephen Hayes said...

That's a lot of busy work for you, but I think it's preferable to sitting around with nothing to do. Besides, sharing your skills with others is quite admirable.

Barb said...

i have a friend who regularly wonders how she ever had time to work and obviously on ocasion I feel the same. I think the big difference is the ability to walk away from all that business for a few weeks when the spirit moves us!

Olga said...

As far as I am concerned, the best thing about retirement is that I unplugged the alarm clock and stuck it in a drawer. I like to keep busy, but I like to keep busy on my own schedule.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Olga's comment.

Meryl Baer said...

Except for the doctor appointments and increased frequency of ailments minor and not so minor, retirement is the time to do all the things I had little time for while working. More time to travel, cook, read, visit family, volunteer...and will keep doing so until the body signals Stop! Slow down!

Snowbrush said...

I guess that to retire from retirement, you would do best to move to where no one knows you and to own almost nothing once you get there.

Anonymous said...

You are a good person, patiently tutoring kids. Other than the medical appointments, I don't do the things you are doing. No weddings on the horizon, and graduations are over too. David had a grandson marry, but as I hadn't seen him in 20 years, I had no interest in attending his wedding (David is uninvolved with his grandchildren).

Re automobiles, we will take public transport (one of the perks of living near downtown).

We are busy, nonetheless. It takes both of us plus external help to get things done around here. You might say our house has become our retirement project. This morning I had someone estimate the cost of a new roof for the back porch and my garden shed.

Other maintenance issues too. It never ends. the house, the cars, our bodies. For fun I go downtown.

Janis said...

I remember when I had a full time job, I couldn't imagine how people did it and raise children too. Now that I'm retired, I can't imagine how people manage their time and work too! I guess life is like a woman's purse: no matter what size it is, it just gets filled up. Fortunately not much of our time has gone into medical appointments yet, but I imagine that's coming. We have a lot of house projects too. The good news and bad news is that my husband is pretty handy so most of them become DYI projects. Have a great 4th!

Rosaria Williams said...

You have been busy! We are conflicted at this time in our lives, wanting our freedom, and craving for meaningful activities. Until our health maintenance takes up all of our time and energy. Then, we have plenty to keep track of.

Elaine from Chicago said...

This is a great blog that I will continue to follow now that retirement is on the horizon for me and my husband. 3 years for him, 4 for me. I wonder what we will do to keep busy, yet I know that right now we have no time to get all the things done that we need to get done because of working. I always plan ahead, so I look forward to reading about your lives and your suggestions.

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