A free day is a day without appointments, commitments, a to-do list, or nagging worries about tasks undone. A free day: isn't that what every day is when you are living a satisfying retirement? Hardly.
Last week my wife and I declared a free day. It was supposed to be glorious. The calendar was cleared. We told family to call only if there was an emergency. We had a rough sketch of how to make the most of the day, but none of it was a must-do. If we felt like something we'd do it. If not, oh well.
Our free day lasted about two hours. People we had asked not to call, called anyway. A problem with a volunteer project my wife is working on raised its ugly head and couldn't be ignored. My Mom's health was getting so tenuous we felt we better make time to see her. I realized I needed to be a few days ahead on this blog because of the Thanksgiving holiday.
At first we got upset. Two previous attempts at even half a free day had collapsed earlier in the month. We were determined to not mess this one up. We are retired. We have control over our day, didn't we? No, not so much.
Then, we simply sat down and laughed. My wife, Betty, put it all in perspective. Wasn't it great, she noted, that our family needs us and wants to be with us. Isn't it good that our skills are useful to others. Isn't it wonderful that we can just drop other plans to go see Mom.
Suddenly the free day became free again, but in a very different way. It was a day to freely bless what we had in our life. It was a time when we freely chose to help others.
All was not lost. We went out for a late breakfast/early lunch and ordered more than we normally would. We spent a few minutes shopping and then came home, pulled out a huge photo album and reminisced.
Our free day didn't go according to plan. But, the mark of a happy retirement experience is the ability to shift in mid-stream when needed. The day became much more memorable than it ever would have been if our original plans had remained unchanged.
And, yes, we have another free day scheduled for next month.
If you enjoyed this article, I ask that you subscribe for regular updates sent to your e-mail. It is free and allows you quick notification when I have added fresh content. It is also helpful to me to track readership. Simply click on the Subscribe to - Posts button near the top of the left hand column. I'd appreciate it.