In 2018, I will have been retired for 2 years already! Where does time go? Of course, if you read this blog, you know I spent the first year and a half writing and publishing my first book, a memoir, (see stevieszabad.com/books). But lately, before I get rolling on my next writing idea (novel? what kind? historical? sci-fi? another non-fiction?), I’ve been taking a break, checking out my new, retirement lifestyle. What did I notice about it?
Well, there were some surprises.
- Money. Not what you think – money was actually NOT a problem. Before retirement, all my husband and I planned or worried or thought about was “Can we afford to retire?” The answer was, two years in, Yes. All the planning and downsizing “paid” off, haha. We actually have more than we budgeted for, due to overestimating our needs, not underestimating. So, nice surprise!
- Time. Not enough, seriously. Other retired folk always told us this, but it was still a surprise that it was true. Calm easy-going mornings drag on, pleasantly. But then, coffee done, chores done, exercises, facebook caught up, calls, appointments made or attended: it’s lunchtime! Get out, do something, get home for supper or meet out somewhere for dinner: it’s evening already. And I’m an early bird, and enjoy my TV time, so… day over already?
- Health. Surprise, I feel healthier in retirement. But not because I exercise any more than I ever did. In fact, I go to the gym about the same or less than before. But I walk more; am less rushed, especially in the mornings. Food? I probably eat better, but not noticeably, and I do eat out more, not less often now (see money surprise above!). So why do I feel healthier? I know this feeling now – it’s less STRESS. This shouldn’t have been a surprise, but again, who knew?
- Family. Unfortunately, I discovered in retirement that with my own advancing age, came more responsibility for sympathy and time to the elder members of my family, while receiving less of the same from the younger members as they live the rat race years now. Sandwich generation, yes, it’s true: increased phone calls, visits, help with finances, both up and down the family tree. I can only hope for similar care and tending in the next stage of life myself.
- Aging. No one expects it, the sore knee one day, the hip, the shoulder after swimming. Freckles on your hands. Life is changing. We all know this, logically, but hey, SURPRISE! When a younger person says to me, Wow, you’re lucky to be retired, I wink and say, Yep, and you’re lucky to be young!