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.