September 28, 2010

So, You're Retired: What Do You Do All Day?


"What do you do?" is usually the first question asked in a social gathering. People seem fascinated by how others earn their living. When you're working the answer is easy. When you are retired, just saying "I'm retired" isn't good enough. Then comes the inevitable, "So what do you do all day during your satisfying retirement?"

Actually, that follow up question gets to the heart of the retirement dilemma for many. What do you do to fill your day? I'm hoping the answer isn't watching 6 hours of TV and taking naps. But, what exactly do we do to make the best use of our time, energy, and talents?

I am going to present a brief overview of my day. Then, I'm turning this post over to you. Whether it stays short and centered on me, or becomes long and interesting will depend on the number of comments generated. I think all of us are every bit as interested in what someone else does in retirement as we were when we were employed.

"So, what do you do all day?" I begin with breakfast and then a quick read of two newspapers. I used to spend a full hour reading the papers but realized mornings is my peak productive time. Now, I scan the papers and try to be at the computer no later than 7:00 AM.

From then until lunchtime I write, work on this blog, read other blogs, deal with e-mail, maintain my Twitter presence, and run any essential errands.

After lunch is a 30 minute nap. That short break helps me maintain my energy for the rest of the afternoon. After the nap, three or four days a week I go to the gym. Like a nap, this is important to me. It helps me maintain my weight, gives me more energy, and helps keep my knees, hips, and back from causing me problems. Maintaining my health is worth this time and money investment.

Then, back to the computer to answer e-mails and more writing.  I try to quit by 4:00 PM.  Guitar practice, a glass of wine, and it is time for an early dinner by 5:15 PM. My evenings usually include a movie,  fiction reading, a little more computer work, and off to bed by 10:00 PM.

Weekends are mainly reserved for family time and something special with my wife. I work as a mentor to recently released prisoners so some time each weekend is given over to that. I try to complete most of my chores during the week so Saturday & Sunday are kept as open as possible.

That's it. Any day can fill up with activities like yard work, paying bills, or going on a picnic lunch when the weather is nice, but the key parts are as I have listed them. Not very exciting, is it? 


Now, your turn. I and other readers want to know how you spend your day. Don't feel the need to be as complete as I have been. Maybe you want to highlight a few things you do that are most important to you. Maybe you do something I have not mentioned that is crucial to you. Whatever the case, please take a few minutes to leave some feedback on your daily routine. The question, "So, what do you do all day?" is universal. I can't wait to read your answer to find out how you are building a satisfying retirement.


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78 comments:

  1. It doesn't sound boring to me at all! Sounds balanced but fulfilling. I find an afternoon nap a fantastic mind and energy booster. It seems to reset all my neurotransmitters!

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  2. Another nap lover. Great! Thanks Sandra.

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  3. Well, I am not "retired" as I have a full time job - just no one pays me for it. I have the honor of being a mom :)

    So I look forward (in about 20 years...) when I get to choose the flow of my day rather than it choosing me!

    I start the day around 6:30 or 7am depending on when my 3 month old daughter gets up, then breakfast for the older two, get them (and me) dressed, then either some school time for the kids (I am doing preschool at home this year) or off to an activity for the kids or a book club for me depending on the day. Home for lunch followed by nap/quiet time. Then finish school for the kids. After that some TV time for them and computer time for me! Finish that up with getting dinner preped before I feed my 3 month old at 4pm. Make dinner so we are eating at 5pm. Then family play time!! This is the best time of the day - when my husband and I can talk, play with the kids, and share with him all the great things we got to do! Then he takes them up for bath and bed while I try to get a 30 minute workout in before my youngest is ready to eat. After playing with her for a while, I put her down for a short nap while I do some chores, get my husband's lunch ready for the next day while he does his school work, and get clothes and snacks ready for the next day. Then end my day feeding my daughter at around 10 or 10:30pm.

    I am ready for retirement :)

    It is actually great and I wouldn't trade it for the world. I don't think I could keep it up forever, but trying to enjoy the wonderful crazy life that I have right now!

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  4. I can't add much to that, except my schedule is looking a little lame compared to yours! I remember the days of young kid-raising and it is every bit as hectic as you noted, But, I wouldn't have traded it for the world.

    The great news is my life right now is every bit as full and interesting, just without the 2 AM feedings !

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  5. Nice schedule Bob. Somewhat similar here with the morning focusing on the blog and internet. I tend to go from 6-10:00 and then a workout of some kind. Afternoon similar with some time dedicated to getting out of the house whether to walk the neighborhood or go to the store or whatever. One thing that you do that I agree with 100% is set aside the weekend as time for you and your wife and other interests. It is easy to drift back to the computer and your "retired career" but keeping that limited to Mon-Friday is the way to go. Enjoy!

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  6. I love reading these because it helps remind me that it won't be like this forever as sometimes it can feel.
    I think every schedule has its hecticness and rewards, they just look different!

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  7. Trying to keep weekends free is the toughest battle. It just seems that no matter how early I start weekend chores there are still things that chew up chunks of Saturday and Sunday. It is a constant battle.

    One thing my wife and I do is go to a movie on weekdays. The ticket prices are cheaper and it is less crowded. We count that as part of our weekend time together. When the weather turns cooler we like to have a picnic lunch at a local park. Again, weekdays are not as busy.

    So, for us, maybe the answer is actually a redefinition of weekends. When you are retired all the days tend to seem the same any way! Just as long as we have "together time," which days that occurs on isn't as critical.

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  8. The days vary but I start with morning coffee, then 45 minutes of stretching exercises. Breakfast next and then some housework. Grocery shopping may happen. In summer it's gardening, mowing lawns and hedge cutting for one day f the week, usually early morning before it's too hot. In winter it may be shovelling the driveway after a snow fall. I may decide to bake some bread or do some early cooking for dinner.
    After lunch it's reading time for about an hour. At trip to the library or getting together with friends. As well hobbies such as working on refinishing a piece of furniture can fill the time. ( I've lot's of projects).
    By 5 it's time to figure out what's for dinner and after supper it's TV and more reading.
    Weekends are visits with friends or theatre outings with hubby.

    September 29, 2010 6:01 AM

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  9. Starting with stretching exercises is something I have thought a lot about but just can't quite get motivated enough to do it. I know I should, though. I'm sure you feel much better after starting your day that way.

    I'm glad to see you are another "weekend protector." That is very important.

    Your day looks full and satisfying.

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  10. Bob, I don't know that our routine is unique in any way, but I do want to participate to show my support for your good work on the blog .....We are recent empty nesters, so we are having new adventures and exploring this new stage. I still have a full time job; my wife does not work outside our home, but is busy ... keeping up with the kids from a distance, volunteering, caring for her mother, book club, Bible study, etc. My routine is morning Mass and a modest workout, followed by work downtown, then home to walk the dog, mess around on a project, and have a "date" of some sort (which can be anything from going out to dinner to returning books to the library .... our idea is to have something planned so we don't just sit around and wonder what to do in the evening). I'm lucky that I can set my own work hours, and thus usually take an afternoon off every week to either golf or participate in volunteer activities; and we seem to have reasons to take a short trip every two or three months, which is fun (except for flight hassles). I'm thinking about trying to swing a 30 day sabbatical next year or reduce hours to see what that would be like .... we are dialoging about creating our future and how it may be if I cut back my "work" .....

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  11. The importance of doing something together can't be overstated. Even returning books to the library is a nice idea for something simple but pleasurable. Having something planned is important. I have found it much too easy to have an open afternoon or evening simply slip away without taking advantage of the opportunity to do something together.

    A 30 day sabbatical would be an excellent dry run for more time off. It would allow you to see what it is like to be home all day, and give your wife the same opportunity ! One of the hardest adjustments for some couples is being together 24/7. Based on what you have written I'd guess you and your spouse have a strong relationship that would only strengthen with more time together.

    Your schedule sounds quite enjoyable. Thanks for sharing. I like the library idea.

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  12. My day starts between 2 and 5 am, whenever I wake up: I hit the computer, my most productive time is before 6 am when the kids start getting up. Then it's the Dad thing for 3 hours. By 9am I am usually back at work or studying for school. When Ryan goes down for a nap at 12:30, I usually do too. 2pm: more school/work. 6pm: kids are home, dinner etc. 9pm: kids are in bed, I read or otherwise wind down. If I am lucky, I'm out by 9:30. TV? What's that? I haven't really been a TV watcher since my Mom threw it out the window (well, actually out the back door into our newly dug basement: SMASH!) when I was 9. I bless her every day for teaching me then that life did not end when the TV was off. No, I am not retired yet, but I love my naps.

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  13. Your Mom threw the TV away when you were a youngster? What a great story! She was a lady ahead of her time. And, it paid off for you.

    You have amazing energy. To wake up when you do and go full bore except for an afternoon nap is quite a feat juggling school, computer work, kids, and everything else you listed. I'll make a note never to e-mail after 9:30 PM.

    Thanks for leaving your comment Terrel. Good luck with your job search and blog efforts.

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  14. Hi Bob! You have a pretty full day. I often ask myself how I spent my day because sometimes it feels like the day escaped me. :)

    My day starts at 5 am with meditation, spiritual reading, yoga, and exercise. I then work from 10 to 2 pm. After I pick up my daughter from school, I do come computer work until 6 pm. Then it's making dinner, eating with the family, and enjoying the evening together.

    Loving blessings!

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  15. I just remarked to my wife that today got away from me. A software issue took almost two hours to resolve. Those events can knock a big hole in your plans.

    Several comments like yours note that people are up as early as 5 AM. Terrel apparently gets up even earlier. I wish I could get up that early. I have tried but it just doesn't work for me.

    So, you hold down a part time job and produce a first-rate blog all while managing a family life. Congrats to you. Just remember to take those walks on the beach every once in awhile.

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  16. Nap?? you have time for a nap?? Seriously, I am one of those people who really cannot nap well. In my case I am usually up well past midnight and up at nine, not at all a morning person. My routine varies so much from day to day-this morning I got up, did the morning coumputer thing and head breakfast, went and quilted, stopped for lunch and quilted until three. Then my son and I worked on the errand business we are starting together. Dinner was on the grill, then I read and watched mindless drivel. I generally divide my days up, with three of the weekdays being productive and two being less so. I refuse to do most entertainment or shopping on the weekends, so my movies and such are done on an off day. Admittedly I am a low enrgy type gal-no one ever, even at twenty one accused me of being a type a. I became more of what I was!

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  17. Like you I will never go to a Home Depot or Wal-Mart on a weekend. They are much too crowded and hectic. One of the joys of making your own schedule is to do those types of errands when others are at work.

    I read your blog, so I'm not sure I agree with you being low energy, especially if you are starting a biz with your son, too. It sounds to me more like you know yourself and use your energy to move forward in a way that suits Barb.

    By the way, a new post going up in a few hours will include a link and a description of your blog. I hope you get some traffic!

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  18. Ok, day starts at 5:30- 5:40 a.m.

    Get coffee, jump on computer and start checking my email. Visit blogs I subscribe to and a few new ones...

    Post in some of my blogs- I have several....

    I MIGHT sneak breakfast in somewhere around 9 a.m., or if I'm too "into it" online, grab a piece of fruit and toast. Maybe a walk with the dogs squeezed in somewhere if the weather is good.

    Take a break around noon to do any housework/shopping/running the roads....

    In the afternoon and evening I get online when I can (around kids and grandchild) and do some learning- articles, webinars, teleconferences...

    Maybe another blog post.

    I try to be showered and in bed by 10 p.m. for a little "me time" in front of the boob tube, watching pointless comedy's, which give me a good laugh and help me unwind.

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  19. That is quite a day. and another person starting early each day. I can totally relate to your "if I'm too into it online" situation. I'll have a set time limit for surfing around the web and shoot right past it because I've found something too interesting to stop reading.

    Note to readers: Click on Carolee's name above to go to her "Working at Home" blog. It looks very interesting. Carolee, I'd love to look at your other blogs, too. Feel free to leave another comment with more links. We are all in this together.

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  20. My wife and I have relocated to a new community. After about 9 or 10 weeks now, I've managed to stay busily humming along but the big move accounted for a lot of that. Recently I've been refinishing a couple of pieces of used furniture my wife and I bought for the apartment. Because we sold quite a bit of our large furniture when we sold the house we've needed a couple of things that better suit apartment size spaces. We love consignment stores for nice, used furniture.

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  21. Hey, Don. Good to hear from you again. I've always wanted to try either woodworking or refinishing furniture. I know myself well enough to know I don't have the patience for either. I envy you being able to do that "hands-on" type of work.

    My wife and I go to consignment or antique stores every so often. I love to find something that used to used for one purpose, but think of a way to use it for something else. I call these trips "creativity dates."

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  22. I'm start my day early, generally around 0430. I arrive at the coffee shop by 0500 and read the paper and solve the world's problems with a few friends. Then it's off to the aquatic center for weight lifting and walking in the pool. Depending upon the day, I have several weekly volunteer jobs that vary in length of time spent. Since we own a duplex apartment, I seldom ever want for things to fix as the list is nearly endless! I spend about 30 minutes each day blogging and staying connected. As time and weather permit, I may take a hike, garden, or go for a bike ride.

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  23. Your blog says since retiring you are a "professional" volunteer and a forester who is no longer lost in the forest...that is a great description of what your retired life is like so far.

    Your day sounds busy and full of purpose. I doubt you ever get bored. You are one of several people who left comments on this post who gets up quite early. I've never been able to do that but I wish I could.

    Welcome Steve. I'll be checking out your blog on a regular basis.

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  24. Sounds like the retirement lifestyle is like a full-time job for some!

    As much as the prospect of having free time sounds glamorous, I am always trying to keep the big picture perspective that life is a precious gift, and that all stages of life should be enjoyed to their fullest.

    Even the ones that include the 2 am feedings.

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  25. Hi nephew,

    Your are absolutely right...don't rush through any phase of your life, even feeding Evan at 2 AM. I wish i had spend more time savoring all the years of my life, but work got in the way.

    It is a wise man who makes time for himself and new experiences every day.

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  26. I find the days just fly by because I am doing what I want to do, not what someone else is demanding of me. After 21 years in an inner city high school, the pressures are off and no one is saying, "Mrs. Zody, Mrs. Zody..." I love it.

    I too am an early person, up around 6, reading newspapers while breakfasting, running the sprinklers and starting laundry. By 8 I am either in the yard working or I'm getting ready to leave to run errands. I like to be back by noon for lunch. Afternoons are for watching a soap opera (which after all those years I worked and couldn't watch, is now being cancelled). I read, work on projects, and cook in the afternoons. Occasionally I lie down for 15 minutes to power nap. Since I no longer work as hard as did at teaching, my energy levels are higher and the naps are very intermittent.

    By 6, though, I am done. I hate to have evening meetings or other engagements as I really enjoy being at home in those twilight hours, reading and catching up with correspondence and spending time with my husband. He tapes tv shows we enjoy and we will spend an hour or so watching a couple of them. They are much shorter when you can fast forward through the ads. I'm in bed at 9.

    Because I have two volunteer projects that are very intense, work-wise, I seem to always have work to be doing each day, and often, by 6 pm I realized, the day has gone and there are still things to do. But, I have the next day. Oh, and we can run away any time we want to see our granddaughter, have lunch with friends, or sightseeing in our nearby communities and mountains.

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  27. Hi DK,

    What a full day you have. My mom taught for over 30 years and after 3 decades had the same reaction. She was glad when kids, administrators, and parents stopped calling her name!

    Isn't it amazing how our days fill up? I've got one reader who comments on a regular basis who is up by 5 AM and still has stuff undone by the end of his day.

    Thanks for your comment. I really enjoy learning how others spend their time.

    BTW, I love the picture of the old woman in the wicker chair on your blog post. What character is shown in her face and pose.

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  28. Bob, I had never noticed this blog post before. I think it is so interesting that people will ask this question...especially people that have not yet retired. Since I write two blogs, both related to what a retired person is thinking and finds interesting, you can probably find a tiny bit of my live everyday.

    Thankfully, I really don't have much of a routine other than starting everyday with a cup of coffee clutched in my hand. The rest we make up as we go along. I suppose that is why I love retirement so much.

    Be well,

    b

    http://www.retireinstyleblog.com
    http://www.itcrossedmymindblog.com

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  29. B,

    By schedule is flexible for part of the week, and set for several commitments that do happen on a regular schedule. My life is probably more structured than I'd like it to be. One of the lessons we hopefully learned from our stay on Maui is the importance of time that is not under someone else's control.

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  30. Just caught this, and am happy to share what I do, now that I'm happily retired.

    In spite of being retired, my body clock continues to wake me between 4:00 and 5:00 AM. Instead of fighting it, I just go with it and get up and read till my spouse gets up around 5:30 AM. We then sip coffee and talk together for about an hour (we've been doing this for almost 10 years now, ever since we stopped having to get our daughters up and out the door to school), then we both depart for our separate workouts. My spouse heads to the gym, and I either head out the door for a run or a hike, or to the garage to ride the Lifecycle bicycle we keep there.

    Back around 8:00 AM for showers, and then either upstairs to my office (we have his & hers) to check my email, read the various blogs I follow, work on one of my own blogs, manage my calendar (something that is an ongoing and important effort in retirement), or out the door to a nearby university where I'm enrolled in a lifelong learning program for $230 a year, parking pass included(!). I'm pursuing Spanish and a whole host of other classes including a world event discussion class, history lectures, cooking demonstrations, and photography and music theory.

    Usually back in the house around 3:00 PM to do a few chores and start dinner. I also spend time each afternoon practicing the piano and my Spanish, as well as staying on top of the novels assigned in the four book clubs I belong to.

    Evenings rotate between tennis, book clubs, piano lessons and taking ballroom dancing lessons.

    I have a whole host of other once-a-week or once-a-month activities sprinkled throughout my calendar.

    Our weekends are still maintained as weekends, meaning we play from Friday evening until Sunday evening.

    Once my spouse retires in May, we will be on the road or traveling approximately 1/3 of the year. That means internet research will consume an increasingly large amount of my time.

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    1. I recently retired as well. I really appreciate your reply. I like the lifelong learning program that you mentioned. I will look into that. I think that it is important to keep the brain in tune for sure by taking classes and doing puzzles, etc. Staying active is important too!

      Keep up the good work!

      I have had to make an adjustment because I have worked all my life but adjust I will. I also think that a schedule is essential as well. Of course, this one will be on your terms.

      Thank you all for your thoughts.

      Much appreciated.

      Have a great day and keep those comments coming. :D

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  31. Tamara,

    That maybe one of the most ambitious schedules I've seen. I would love to be able to get up that early but even 6 AM for a once a week early Bible study throws me for a bit of a loop on that day. Maybe if I get up a little earlier each week I can get myself back to 5:30!

    The university setup sounds fabulous. While we have several universities and colleges nearby none offer anything like that for such a cost. Are the classes for credit or strictly enrichment?

    I love your evening schedule...no TV, which I know because I've been reading your posts on your blog.

    I wonder how you'll adjust to traveling so much. Do you worry you might get a little antsy without all the activities, clubs, classes, and dancing classes?

    Thanks for finding this post and adding a fresh look at a very busy retired person's schedule!

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  32. Bob, the flip side of getting up so early is that I turn into a zombie by 8:00 PM . . . it's maddening really.

    Re: Energy - If you met my father you'd understand. He's not just still going strong at age 75, he's positively racing!

    Re: Travel and boredom - no, absolutely not. The majority of our travel will center around state and national parks where we can be physically active. We primarily hike when we travel, usually 6-10 miles a day, then shower, enjoy some cheese and wine, dinner, campfire, a little reading and a good long sleep. It's a pretty darn nice way to spend a day, and I never tire of it.

    Re: Lifelong learning. Well, you are in luck! It appears there is an Osher Lifelong Learning program very near you at ASU: http://lifelonglearning.asu.edu/

    The classes are not for credit, you are surrounded by similar like-minded folk, no attendance is taken. It is purely learning for the joy of it.

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  33. Tamara,

    Thanks so much for responding to my questions. Ok, I feel a little better about sleeping until 6:30. I sometimes make it all the way to 10:30PM.

    Maybe you should interview your dad or run through his schedule on your blog. It would be quite interesting to see what a super-active 75 year old does.

    Travel that is as active and outdoors-oriented as yours sounds like it will fit you well. My wife and I enjoy visiting National Parks too but a 10 mile hike is a bit much for us.

    Wow...thanks so much for the info on the lifelong learning program at ASU. Their main campus is only 30 minutes from our home. I am going to check that out right now. Bless you!

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  34. Bob--just came upon your blog--a pleasure to read your posts and the comments of others on what they are doing to create a satisfying retirement. I'm really interested in separating out those activities that are pleasurable-- as important as that is- from what engages our passion and imagination--what gives us purpose. Have you thought much about how we spend our time vs what has a lasting meaning?

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    1. That could be an interesting and important distinction. I would hope that for many the two are the same: our passion gives us pleasure. But, I know what you are driving at. What do we do that has lasting value.

      I did write awhile ago about what we'd like our legacy would be. I intend to update and run that post again probably sometime in March.

      I just looked at your blog which seems to delve into this question in more depth. I notice you haven't posted anything new for a few months. Are you still active with the site? It looks interesting.

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  35. This is interesting to read. I've been working at home for a few years now but my husband was kind of forced into retirement last august. It has been quite an adjustment being together 24/7, believe me. We've worked it out for the most part now, but I still yearn for more alone time.

    I do best with no set schedule. I'm usually up until 11pm-midnight and I get up when I wake. Could be 6am or 10am. My husband has always been more of a morning person.

    My concern for his retirement is that he won't find something that he truly loves and take time to do it. His dad (who's still alive at 93 and physically fine) has been retired for 33 years and I swear to you he's a slug. The man does absolutely nothing but read and watch TV most days. If my husband doesn't find something worthwhile to do soon we're going to have some issues.

    I write, have a blog, paint, many creative pursuits that keep me busy. I feel it's important to find your passion. I know he worked for 35yrs. corporately then another 7 as exec. director of a special services district in the city. He's intelligent with a lot to offer but seems to be relishing doing nothing in particular. I hope it's temporary!

    Glad Sonia put us together Bob. I've subscribed!
    Barbara

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  36. And, I just added you to my blogroll, Barbara! I like your writing and approach. Readers: click on Barbara's red name above to check out her blog.

    That transition is tough, esp. for men who find most of their self-identity from working. It took me a few years to find hobbies and a volunteer pursuit that has become very important to me (prison ministry).

    Here are a few posts from the past you might want to read:

    *Adjusting to being together full time: http://bit.ly/zJvot5
    *Relationship Maintenance; Time for a Tune-up? http://bit.ly/qHRfbq
    *Start with a Blank Canvas: http://bit.ly/k3x735

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  37. There is nothing now to get up for - many of our men here agree with this one only yesterday said we shall all soon be dead anyhow!! Wondering the shops for items not needed, eating out of boredom - as many women friends now tell me it is awful - most in their mid 70s and early 80s. Many cannot now afford to do much either, trouble running their cars too some tell.
    I admit I have been free bummin around for over 20 years and have run out of ideas to fill the days! (68 old) Marion from Liss Hants England.

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    1. I'm not sure if you are completely serious with this comment. But, if so, I'm sorry you are having such an unfulfilled time in your retirement. Spend some time reading the older posts on this blog and maybe you'll find some ideas to help you and your friends look forward to more than death.

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  38. Hi,
    I just found this blog and find the responses interesting and hopeful. My partner took an early retirement about 8 years ago. I've been unemployed for the past 2 years. In those 2 years he has spent the majority of his time sleeping, drinking beer and following me around the house talking nearly nonstop. I've tried to get him to find hobbies or interests outside of the home but he's not biting. He thinks it's funny that he is driving me crazy with his lifestyle. I have interests outside of the home that help me remain connected to the outside world and may help in getting me employed again. I've tried talking to him about wasting his life with so much beer and sleeping (he's only 61!) when there is so much living he could be doing instead. It's frustrating watching him live this way!

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  39. Welcome! I glad you found the blog and hope you'll be a regular visitor and commenter.

    I can only imagine how frustrated you must be. I have written quite a bit about this problem when (usually) the male retires and has no idea how to fill his time. If you start going through the topic headings under Archives on the right sidebar you may find some help. Read posts on creativity and relationships to see if anything clicks. Try directing him toward things to read or try that might light his fire. What did he do for relaxation while he was still working?

    Bottom line: you are not responsible for entertaining him or keeping him company 24/7. You aren't his mother. You have a life that you want to lead. Retirement can be one of the most fulfilling times of your life...don't let a person who won't develop his own steal yours from you. That's the harsh truth.

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  40. And I still get bored 65 years old ,Belong to 9 clubs here is some.Vintage car club where I help assemble the magazine and go for coffee once a month ,maybe 3 club runs a year.Petrol heads coffee once a week and run once a month with lunch out. Cycling social group once a week and lunch out.Motor-home club with rallies once a month 3 days.Surf-casting (waste of time but nice on the beach). Lunching group once a month.have 1 1/2 acres of garden there's always work there.Golf when I feel like it.General socialising and meals out often.Ukulele group once a month .But still I get bored when there's down time like now.(my wife says im the odd one ? )Thats why im here to see what others a up to.
    regards Lyn

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    1. Hi Lyn,

      You obviously have a very high energy level...good for you. There is no need to slow down, which is what the new batch of recent retirees are learning.

      I like that your various activities are so varied, and several are quite physical. I need more of that type of interest, but when it is 105 degrees day after day after day it is hard to leave the AC.

      Delete
  41. I just stumbled across your blog, Bob, and it has given me some great ideas. I officially retired yesterday from teaching kids with special needs. After reading your blog I won't feel guilty about having an occasional doze (as we refer to a nap in the UK)

    Bill

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    1. Hi, Bill. I'm glad you found the blog. As a brand new retiree, welcome to what has proven for me to be one of the best times of my life.

      I LOVE naps and like the name, doze, even better. It is a holiday today in the States (Labor Day) so I am planning on a few extra dozes!

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  42. I finally opened the door from a big corporation and walked out into my new adventure last week. I had planned to retire 4 years ago, but after reading blogs like yours realized that I had better do some planning and mental adjustment. So I talked the company into letting me do part-time 6 months a year, which I spent practicing retirement with my wife. We expanded on existing activities and started new ones... My list now includes, Geocaching, Hiking, backpacking, trail bulding, Motorcycle trips, bicycle riding, woodworking, golf, Men's club, Church website, garden (help my wife)... :-)

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    1. Practicing retirement is a very smart idea. In fact, I plan on writing about easing into retirement later this month. It is a major life adjustment that takes getting used to...by you and your spouse.

      With that list of activities you certainly won't get bored. Keep us up to date on how you are doing.

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    2. I know for me and my wife the practice was great! I learned very fast to tread lightly in her domain.. :)
      Two others also retired the same day I did, and it kinda made me feel a little sad because they seemed to be dreading the end of the week, and I was getting excited... Really, people can practice what they will do for retirement using vacation days, if they don't have a part-time option.

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  43. I love this blog .I moved to Germany this year with my husband when he took retirment .Ive been a "house wife "come part time jewellery making teacher for the past 20 years so I didnt know how i would feel having company around all day .It fun we are finding out so much about startting a new life in a new place that we don'thave time to sit still .I have just started a blog about our life here to let folk know there is life beond work .Susan blackforestlife.info

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    1. Great story, Susan. A fresh start in a new place can be a real kick start for a relationship and a retirement. AS you note, there is so much to learn and experience that boredom isn't a problem!

      I'm on my way to check out your new blog.

      I hope you stop back often.

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  44. Hi Bob,

    I retired two years ago at age 55. Although I don't really need to work, I have been working contract jobs ever since. I also started a very small business venture to keep me busy in between contracts. My husband is semi-retired as well and has a home-based business that keeps him occupied to some extent. Personally, I think 55 is too young to retire and I have struggled with my new identity. I am trying new things like pilates and will keep working at retirement until I get it right for me. I have considered blogging too! Thanks for the insights that you have offered into retirement!

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    1. You are very welcome, Kathy. I retired at 52, not by choice but my business was failing and my marriage was strained because of it, so I pulled the plug. Best decision I ever made.

      It took me a few years to find my rhythm and what combination of business and slothfulness worked best for me.

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    2. I too have been forced to retire earlier than expected at age 57 from corporate work spending 14 hours a day. I thought that retirement would be so exciting, but this is only my second month and the house is almost all clean an organized so what do I do all this time that I have on my hands. Thank you for all your ideas. I will ask my sister how to blog so I can participate. Deborah

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  45. Just discovered your blog/website, and I'm impressed. I retired a year ago, and I'm still trying to discover my "purpose". That quest is proving to be allot harder and more frustrating than I had ever thought. Your positive comments encourage me to keep searching. Thanks.

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    1. Welcome, Eileen!

      Please make yourself at home and enjoy. The good news is almost all retirees search for a passion or purpose for a few years until getting their rhythm. You will be just fine.

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    2. Thanks for your reassurance. Have a great Thanksgiving.

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  46. Your routine is great! I'm still working on a schedule for my time. Your productivity is admiral. :) I'm aspiring to be more productive the ideas on your blog are very encouraging. :)

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  47. I enjoyed reading the posts on your blog-I was retired for 2 yrs then slipped back into part-time/fulltime work for 2 years and have been retired again.Have been home this time 6 months. Feels right this time and I am enjoying being home. I am having a little trouble with the voice in my head that keeps wanting 'an organized schedule' to life. I think its just a leftover from 35 years of work that needed scheduled. I get up by 6am, have coffee and take care of the cats and dog, watch the morning news/entertainment shows until 8am then the tv is off until night time. I like to sew, read, check out the coffee shop for socializing or have lunch with girlfriends. In good weather I am outside in the plants or dirt. I try to be sure and do nothing but relax part of each day and am grateful I had the chance to stop working.

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    1. A "false start" into retirement is very common. Re-retiring allows you to really appreciate the freedom that comes from having control of your time.

      I can certainly relate to the organizing voice in your head...after almost 12 years mine is louder than I'd like at times.

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  48. Hi Bob! Im writing to you on behalf of my 64 year old dad. He has been retired now for a few years and is bored more than ever! A little depressed I suspect as well. He is not happy at his present address but is unable to move as my mom has a couple more years to go. He does not have a strong social group either. He is in a very large slump! Anything you could suggest for my negative nelly dad?? Its a tough situation.

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    1. It is a tough situation that takes a lot of work on your dad's part to solve. You can't do it, he has to want to break the cycle.

      Moving is rarely a solution. Problems tend to follow along so the fact that he has to stay where he is for a few more years may be an excuse on his part to support his mood.

      There are a few things I can point out that may resonate for him:

      Virtually every retired person goes through a period of one to three years to figure out how to adjust to not being the "guy who works." Men, in particular, have a rough time because often our whole identity is wrapped up in our job. Most of our friends are somehow connected to work, too. To have all that taken away is difficult. I gather your mom is gone during the day so he is alone at home.

      He must get out of the house and start to interact with others. Even if all that that means is going to a coffee shop a few times a week until the regulars recognize him, greet him, and start to engage him in conversation, that is better then stewing at home.

      If your dad is spiritual or religious, a men's Bible study or a men's group would be a great way to meet other men.

      Have him think back to the hobbies or interests he once enjoyed but dropped for whatever reason. He now has the time to restart something that once turned him on.

      Spend a hour or so each day planning something special for when his wife comes home: fresh flowers on the dining room table, renting a movie they both enjoy and plan an evening together with popcorn, find part of a book or magazine he thinks she'd find interesting an read it to her...the idea is to get him to focus on her return and make it special.

      Is he any good at home maintenance or fix up stuff. Every house has small, delayed projects he could tackle.

      The key is to give him a purpose and goals to replace what he left behind at work.

      Let me know if any of this makes sense for him.


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  49. I retired at 58, 2 years ago.I get up at 8-9am (or whenever I feel ready)and have breakfast. If my husband is at home, we walk into the town for coffee in the morning and have a good chat, talk about our holiday plans or other schemes. If he is away I walk in on my own and spend half an hour sipping coffee with a good book and with my ipod plugged into my ears. As I am in 2 choirs I have a lot of music to learn. Whilst in town, most days I do a little shopping at the supermarket or other shops. Home for lunch sometime between 12 and 2. In the afternoon: piano practice, and, depending on the weather, I might do gardening or just relax in the garden with a book, or watch TV, or even nap. I love the idea of afternoon tea but unfortunately the extras are fattening. Still we usually break the afternoon up with tea, maybe an apple or piece of toast. By 6pm, dinner is in full swing with a race to sit down and watch the 6 o clock news. I am at choir on 2 evenings a week. My daughter usually comes round on one evening. I might do more piano. Otherwise it's TV until 9pm snack followed by bed at 10 or later if I get interested in the TV or computer. Days do vary because I have 2 daughters living locally and 2 grandchildren too. For example today I got a call to take my daughter's dog out as she was out all day. I cycled round there and walked the dog for 45 minutes. I take the grandchildren out on Saturday mornings to the library and sometimes lunch. On Monday I had them both for about 5 hours (it's school holidays) and we built a castle in the living-room and played games. I started brushing up my Spanish but have lost interest for now. I am a member of the gym, but don't use it at all at the moment - good intentions! I've also had a go at learning to play the harmonica recently - to be continued. I just like stabbing out at different things. It's easy to get info on anything with the internet and the library and Amazon. I do get bored sometimes but I do enjoy having the use of my time myself. I used to get more bored when I was at work and most of it seemed pointless to me, so I am happy to be retired. We did Bridge classes while we were on a cruise this year but not proficient enough yet to launch into playing with others. I love dancing but my husband hates it so no go there! That's me, for now.

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  50. I like your sensible, direct approach...try things and stop if not satisfied...time for tea and family, sleep late, nap....you have a very pleasant life.

    Thanks for adding to the discussion.

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  51. I can honestly say I have never given two consecutive minutes of thought to what my retired life will look like.

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  52. Decided to retire early at 55 after losing my business in a fire, along with all my toys. Between grandkids, renos, golf, yardwork, etc I don't know how I would find the time to work again if I get bored. I am planning to relocate and replace my fishing boat and am going to have to try and find some time to fish. I am really enjoying retirement but I did have to learn to give my wife some space.

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  53. I love these blogs because even though the original discussion may have started long ago you can still join in much later. And of course these topics are always relevant so it is interesting to read comments regardless of the time frame. I was fortunate to be able to retire early and have been retired for 7 years now! Although I wouldn't call my down time boring it can occasionally be a challenge to get the right balance of activity. I am a single lady so guess I have even more 'freedom' of choice right now. I must admit that sometimes this can also be challenging. Have friends who are retired and who work but having a partner to share with would be nice.

    Anyway, I had to say that when I get the 'question'...."What do you do?", my response, with a smile, is "Whatever I want"... After the surprised reaction I explain I am retired. I have found this actually 'wakes' people up to realize that maybe we aren't entirely defined by our careers be it corporate, labor, service, entrepreneurial or raising the family. Excuse me if I forgot a category. I also find it leads to some interesting conversation. Some cultures tend to 'work to live' rather than 'live to work'. It is nice to discuss that and how that is different as well as the view on retirement.

    So as not to give the wrong impression I do continue to work on the right balance but have been able to enjoy travel, more time visiting family, reading, golf, yard work, writing and the pleasure of watching some 'day time' sporting events I never could catch when I worked. I volunteer in the winter time doing taxes. I tried many types of volunteering and this is the one that stuck so far. Satisfying with a limited commitment. I take continuing learning courses now and again as well as visit museums, lunch/dinner/theater with friends, hike and I swim every morning during the week. So that can sound like a lot but there is still plenty of time.

    I do remember feeling quite 'guilty' at first not having structure and having the free time. But after you contemplate the 'work to live' philosophy this can help change your outlook. I do feel there are people who love what they do for work and this is great. They may want to keep at it much longer. The important thing is to feel happy and good about what you are doing. Not every minute but overall. As with many things when we view others sometimes 'the grass only looks greener'. What works for one person is not necessarily going to work for the next.

    So I still look for more balance at times and think about trying new things but I have never had the urge to go back to work in the corporate setting. I love the flexibility I have way too much for that. I appreciate reading these blogs and other articles, sites. It is always good to see what others are saying and in this day we are lucky that the technology allows us to do that.

    So I hope these thoughts might help some others. One thing that has been said here though is absolutely true. You have to make things happen for yourself if you want to feel differently or have new experiences. Change is hard, regardless of what it is, so it is ok to take one day at a time and adjust but you also have to put in some effort along the way. Happy Retirement! Thanks for the blog.

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    1. Thank you for three things, Elle: finding this older post and making it current again with your comment, adding your insights gained over seven years of retirement, and taking the time to give all of us an in-depth reaction to what you have gone through.

      I was certainly a "live to work" guy for all of my career years. It took me a few years to find my stride but my satisfying retirement started when I followed the "work to live" mindset. The last seven or eight years of my retirement have been better than I could have imagined.

      I am not living they way I thought I would be but retirement is all about adjustments and change. My life today is completely fulfilling and happy.

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  54. If you are truly retired does it really matter what time it is or even what day it is. The day I retired many things were said, one young man said your truly retired when you wake up and dont know what day it is. I found that to be partly true. Real retirement is when you dont know and dont care.

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  55. I've been laid-off/retired now for over 2 years. I've thrown myself into fixing up 2 houses and often feel I never have enough time. However, I HAVE to exercise first thing in the morn. Typically get up at 5:30, eat, check email, read epaper and I'm either on the bike, treadmill or weight machine by about 7. Done by 8:30. I can't live without lists of "projects" without hard timeframes. Really just reminders. Paint the room, pay the bills, call people etc. My day usually ends around 4 when my wife and I hit the hot tub for 30-40 minutes, have dinner and usually back to the computer to do research in things that interests me at night. So far, retirement is fulfilling. All my best

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  56. Well I tell you for one who has been retired for 1 week, I'm not loving it. I retired and came S to help my parents (90 and 98) but am feeling lonely, sad, unfulfilled. Pity party. Can't seem to get a handle on what to do. I have no friends and this is an unknown location for me. Sleeping late when I was working was never a problem. Now I'm awake at 0500, like I had to force myself with an alarm clock in my working days. I've always worked. I have 1 hobby, I'd like to travel, but am restricted right now with my family situation. Any suggestions? I have no children or grandchildren and my husband is perfectly comfortable with being retired. Is it just the newness?

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    1. Take a deep breath and take it slow. After 1 week you are still a serious newbie. For most of us it takes anywhere from a few months to a few years to fully adapt to retirement and figure out how to make the most of this phase of life.

      There are hundreds of posts on this blog that will help you get a handle on time management, how to discover and develop passions and interests, develop a balance between your family responsibilities and what makes you happy. Trust me, this can be the most liberating and fulfilling phase of your life, but it doesn't come without time, and work on your part.

      One of the unfortunate things you had to do was retire and move to a place that isn't home. That is a double whammy that will give anyone problems. You will adjust and adapt, but not in one week!

      Please, drop me a personal e-mail (satisfyingretirement@gmail.com) if you'd like to get into some more details and ask for some specific suggestions.

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  57. I just came across this blog and find it very interesting.
    I have been retired going on six years. One interesting thing I found myself doing was getting certified to teach English as a foreign language. I then went to Ecuador and spent six months teaching. While there I got encouragement from a new friend to write a book about how I had used the martial arts as a metaphor in doing leadership development, which I did for about 25 years. I recently published it under the title "Leadership Lessons from the Martial Arts. I say all of this at the risk of sounding immodest.
    Having said the above, I am now in a period of feeling really bored. What I am thinking about doing is creating a concept I have been thinking about. I will call it The Retiree Corp. It will be for the purpose of helping people like myself who think they still have some things to contribute to our society and are seeking others to help
    develop ideas and provide support.
    Marty in St.Paul

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    1. You are following an excellent path in your quest for a fulfilling and satisfying retirement, Marty. You took something you knew well (leadership) and found a way to extend it in a different way with your teaching English in Ecuador and writing a book that tied together two passions of yours.

      Boredom is a good sign. It shows you are not content to rest on past achievements. You have so much more to give and you sound like the type of person who will keep stretching until you find your next passion. The Retiree Corp may be it - that is an excellent idea.

      Please stay in touch and let me know how that develops. Drop me an e-mail if you'd like to communicate in private (satisfyingretirement@gmail.com)

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  58. I retired August 5th, 2013 and I am currently travelling all over Florida on my Ranger Tug. Currently I am docked in the Florida Keys at Tavernier and will be here for a few months. My day begins with coffee on the back of my boat where I watch the sunrise and all the birds and fish coming to life, extremely relaxing. Early mornings are reserved for cleaning the boat as it gets hot later in the day. Spend a few hours on some freelancing I'm doing. I also started up pottery classes which is a 12 mile bike ride from my boat, so I get plenty of exercise clocking about 125 miles plus per week. Since I live on my boat, I had sold my truck so all transportation is by bicycle. Usually end up the day with a BBQ and movie with popcorn. read for about two hours and then retire. I can't seem to fit anything else in at this stage. I kayak and flyfish on the weekends, but it's getting harder and harder to remember what day it is let alone what date it is.

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    1. I like your day. It sounds nicely connected to nature and natural rhythms. Of course, I am somewhat biased since the Florida Keys are one of my favorite locations in the whole country. It is really hard to be stressed while watching the waves, wildlife, and sunsets.

      Your movement to bicycle only transportation is one I would love to emulate, but it isn't possible where we live. I can't even get cut back to just one car yet, though I can see that in the not too distant future.

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  59. Very interesting! I'm planning on retiring this fall and over the winter break at the university where I work, I took some time to practice retirement. I had no problem of waking up around 7, walk the dog 40-50 minutes after breakfast. She was then tired so left me alone :). I then paint in watercolors for a few hours, lunch, nap, back at drawing or painting. Catch the news, sit on the patio for wine and dinner w/ retired husband. Weekends slightly different to include art shows or some other activity. Oh, and bike ride too. Oh, and RV too. So I'm really looking forward to my additional art endeavors which also includes teaching art.

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    1. "Practicing" retirement is an excellent idea. Rather quickly you discover how your day can be so fun and full when the normal obligations of the working world are gone.

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