“So what do you do every day?” – the number one question I receive at least once a week. I am touched that so many people are interested in my whereabouts now that I am retired and it always brings a smile to my face, especially because I am really not sure if the person is baffled, worried or simply interested in how I am managing this thing called ‘retirement’.
It is an important question, mind you – what you do with your days after 35 years of being consumed with your job, children, hobbies and life in general. There is a major gap to fill when you retire to an empty nest. And I strongly believe that you need to prepare yourself mentally, physically and financially for this new stage of life. But I was genuinely never worried about filling my days with ‘busyness’ because quite frankly I wanted them as empty as possible so that I could fill them with what I wanted to fill them with. That was my goal, and my mantra – nowhere to be and lots of time to get there – continues to guide me.
My answer to this question is oftentimes – ‘Whatever I want to do’. It really doesn’t answer the question and may sound rude but in essence it simply means that I am free to do as I please, that flexibility rules my day.
Today I thought I’d document my every move – because sometimes I too, am not quite sure what I’ve been up to. So here goes, for those who are really interested in my sometimes-daily routine.
5.00 – Internal alarms goes off – meaning that my eyes can no longer stay closed which I am told is a mature person’s curse. I have not set a morning alarm since I’ve retired, and you have no idea how ‘freeing’ this is. I get up and start my day and I’ve chosen to fill my early morning with exercise. So, I quickly feed the dogs and I am out of the house by 6.00 to take a leisurely 8k run.
The sun is rising, lights are still on in my neighbourhood, the air is cool, the birds are already up and searching for food. As I stroll down my hill, I take in the lush views of the mountains and begin my run slowly, enjoying the peace and quiet on the roads. I am smiling.
The route is quiet at first but as the rest of the world begins their daily commute to school and work, the sound of the birds chirping is drowned by the noise of vehicles rushing to get where they need to be. I am still smiling – I have nothing to rush anywhere for. I feel at peace even with the hustle and bustle around me.
As I finish my run in my favourite park, the squawking of the parrots come back into focus, the squirrels are scurrying from tree to tree, and I share the usual morning pleasantries and chats with my morning exercise buddies. As I pass the school on my way home, mothers are frantically doing last minute homework with their kids, quick hugs and kisses, and they are off to start their day. I remember those days and I smile.
This particular morning, the traffic is thick. I slowly walk back home engaging in conversation with at least four drivers who are at a standstill. I laugh and jokingly thank the traffic for letting me catch up with some friends on the way.
8.00 – I peruse my garden – feeding the wild birds and the pond fish. There’s nothing like walking through your garden, trimming, pruning, chatting with the flowers and wildlife along the way – picking the fresh produce of the day. It’s peaceful and rewarding. As I sit having breakfast, the hummingbirds are darting back and forth from the flowers to their feeders, the wild birds are having a blast with the fresh seeds, the butterflies flitting gracefully from flower to flower. The morning is cool. The rest of the day looms ahead.
10.00 – Hobbies are cast aside today as I have some last-minute shopping to do readying for my big trip next week to see my boys. At the mall I meet up with my sister unexpectedly. With nowhere to be and lots of time to get there, we catch up on the last days’ events, laugh and even reminisce, forgetting that we have anything else to do. Then, oops, we do have things to do and continue on our merry way, all the better for having met up with each other.
1.00pm – Lunch while catching up with the BBC and some other personal messages. However, a day is never complete without succumbing to the call of the sleep gods. And it is raining. YES!!! A movie and a nap are in order for the afternoon quiet time. This was always a must on my retirement list of ‘things to do’ – nap time, relax time, meditation time, me time – call it what you will – the only flexibility about this time is its length, but it happens every single day.
3.00 – I thought I had set aside my hobbies for the day, but my sewing machine is clambering for some attention, and I dutifully answer the call – finishing off some projects before my impending vacation next week. I am still smiling.
But by 6.00, the sun is on the verge of setting and I prepare myself for the end of another beautiful retired day with a glass of wine.
It was a good day. I am blessed and grateful. Looking forward to tomorrow ….