January 4, 2017

Quiet Time is Never a Waste of Time


Followup: I will blame it on the eggnog and staying awake until 12:30 AM on New Year's Eve. Replacing the word Retirement with Re-Vision is a non-starter for this blog.

I asked the question, knowing that you would tell me exactly what you thought and why. I depend on you, dear reader, to help me stay on track and keep my focus on what you expect on these pages.

While a few comments voiced support for the idea of re-vision being a good replacement for retirement, the "No" votes were more persuasive. I think the word, re-vision, might reappear on occasion as part of a blog post, but not become the official name of the blog, nor is it destined to become the new word for retirement. There were several excellent suggestions, though, that you can expect to see appear in future posts. 


So, back to the subject at hand:




This is the time of year when those of us who live in the desert southwest come out to play. After 5 months of non-stop heat, temperatures are finally perfect for outside activities: picnics, hikes along the canals, lunches and dinners on the back porch or restaurant patios, romps with the dog in one of the many parks in our area, and a quiet hour outside with a book.

The pots in the backyard have been re-planted with colorful impatiens, begonias, geraniums, snapdragons, and others that look pretty, but I'm afraid I've forgotten their names! The Bermuda grass has gone dormant, so cutting and raking chores are over until March.

I have refilled the gas grill tank and started looking for recipes that work well when cooked outside. I store a bottle of red wine on the back porch because the temperatures keep it just right for a glass each afternoon, not too cold, and not too warm.

A new feeder we bought during our last RV trip is attracting dozens of hungry birds to a section of the backyard that comes alive when they fly in and out a few times each day. They aren't very colorful, but I am happy to help them stay fed and healthy.

Bailey, our soon-to-be 5 year old cocker, has found new joy in going for long walks, sniffing for lizards, and not finding her paws painfully hot from overheated sidewalks. 

The two bikes we bought last spring have had their tires pumped up, helmets dusted off, and neighborhood roads explored.

Betty has a stack of different projects for our home. We visit flea markets and antique stores, pick up something interesting, and let her creativity soar. Coffee mug displays, a new clock for the family room, inspirational words we bought at the Magnolia Store in Waco....are destined to add color and warmth.

After a year with lots of vacations and special trips, we are sticking close to home for the next several months (except for a quick weekend trip to Disneyland with the grandkids). It is the season for quiet time with our thoughts and our family.

To some, this might sound boring, or a waste of time. We should be much more active and involved while we are able. We can save these quieter pursuits for later in our retirement journey.

I heartily disagree. Too often folks fall into the trap of thinking that only activities that push your limits or involve major time commitments are worth doing. Enjoying an afternoon on the back porch, or in a local park, seeing a move at a 2 PM matinee showing,  tackling a new Bible study together, or working on a project at home are not time wasters. They are time enrichers.

Quiet time, doing smaller things, is not a bad use of time. It doesn't represent a missed opportunity. Actually, it is one of the true joys of retirement: having the freedom to construct a block of time in a way that feeds you. 

Your climate may not encourage outdoor activities, but quiet moments are possible anywhere. You simply have to decide that time spent slowly and deliberately is not a waste, but a treasure. 



34 comments:

  1. As usual, I kind of take a different approach to the concept of quiet time. Quiet time is what dominates my life when I am not pressed with lawn care or uRV trips. It is primarily in the winter months when, like today, it is in the single digits and with a probable sheet of ice preceding snow. During these next few months quiet time will be the norm. But in some ways that is a good thing. It allows me to refresh my batteries for the coming Spring when my activity level is several times higher. Spring is my favorite time primarily because it means the end of a long cold season and the cabin fever that results.

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    1. I'm not so sure you and disagree on what quiet time is. Both of us find our daily schedule affected by the weather. Come summer I will be much more confined to air conditioned spaces and living more like you do in the midst of an Indiana winter.

      For now, for both of us, periods of quiet time are for reflection and refreshment. We were on the road for almost 12 weeks last year. For 2017, we are thinking that no more than 2 weeks away from home base and family sounds about right. Simple pleasures are the way forward for us, for now. Taking life as it comes, with a slower, quieter flow sounds very enticing.

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  2. Enjoyed this post a lot.Have been contemplating "quiet time" and the idea that we "have to " get busy and DO DO DO all the outgoing stuff "while we still can," as you mention-- but we are definitely in a "cozy" mode and just not feeling like going anywhere. Later in the year,maybe.. we're immersed in house projects, like a bit of re- decorating, and coming up with new ideas for our patios and gardens. The quiet times, the bike rides, walks, and the library dates, are quite satisfying..and when it's time to "go" again, we will! Glad you decided to stick with the title of the blog as is. I look forward to the posts and comments..always thoughtful and not just surface stuff-- thanks for sharing!

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    1. Betty says she wants this year to be a "homebody" year. After spending nearly 25% of 2016 on vacations and trips, we have agreed to change that approach rather dramatically for the next 12 months. So far, the only firm trip is a 4 day RV getaway to Patagonia in late March.

      Speaking of gardens, Betty and I have begun talking about doing more to decorate and green up our large backyard space. Our house in Scottsdale was an oasis; this one in Chandler, not so much. Maybe we can strike a happy balance!

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    2. The current issue of Phoenix Home and Garden has an AWESOME article around 5-6 pages, of a fella named Tom's yard, locally.He is a long time docent at the Botanical Garden.Ken and I are gleaning some new ideas from his beautiful outdoor space.. worth a look!! A great project for the nice weather ahead..

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    3. Thanks, Madeline. Could you bring your copy of the magazine to lunch on Monday? I will take a look. We might talk to the folks at Whitfill for their ideas and input. We did use a landscape designer for the Scottsdale yard and liked her ideas, though we made a lot of changes in the final look. The more ideas the better!

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  3. I've been contemplating your last post, trying to think of a word that defines retirement. I think the new generation of retirees will define retirement through our actions. I think retirement is like parenthood - more work and more wonderful than words can define. Like many life stages, you can't fully understand its complexities until you're there. I'm a big proponent of quiet time, like RJ says, a time to refresh the batteries. We are called human beings, not human doings, right? Happy New Year.

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    1. There were a few excellent words that readers suggested in the comments section of the last post that will be used as springboards for future posts. I can always count on feedback to spur me forward (and not make major mistakes!)

      You are absolutely correct about retirement: someone can read everything about it, talk with others, and dream. But, until you are living the life you really can't understand all the elements that come into play.

      Thanks, Mona, and the best to you for 2017.

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  4. While we will be traveling through FL and SC for the next three months (started New Year's Day), much of it I would consider downtime. We stay at the same places for 3-5 weeks at a time, giving us the ability to kick back and enjoy the warmer climes. I guess downtime is whatever we make it, regardless of where we find ourselves, at home or on the road. So enjoy the cooler temps in AZ, watch some good football over the next few weeks, and get energized for that next RV adventure.

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    1. Enjoy yourself in the warmer climes. Tennessee can get a little nasty at times in the winter. I have to go to the RV storage place this weekend to run the generator for an hour or so to keep it tuned up for the next trip in a few months.

      Yes, the college championship game should be good (I'm going with the Tide), and I'm anxious to see if the GB Packers can stay hot in the NFL. The AZ Cardinals have a 5 month nap!

      Best to you and Deb for the new year.

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  5. You are calling this quiet time, but sounds like you are very active during the desert winter months! I wrote a post recently about winter being the season of stillness, but for those of us in a colder winter climate, stillness or quiet time might look different. But I'm just teasing you a little. I get your point about quiet time, and recognizing the value of not having "big" plans. One of my kids is driven by the "next big thing." I am going to send your post to her. I hope as she matures, she will learn to revel in the beauty of downtime.

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    1. I am streaming Great Courses offering on music and history and taking an on-line course from Yale on morality during this "quiet time" so you point is valid! Even so, this is much "smaller" than much of last year, and a welcome change for now.

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  6. I am doing my quiet time on the other end. I actually have to downtimes-Jan/Feb and then summer at the times I am not traveling. I think in the beginning retirees seem to be at the relax and do nothing after working so many hours spectrum, or the oh my gosh I'm retired and Ineed to keep busy end. Eventually most of us end up some where in the middle. I need down time year around I have found, and a reasonable amount of it.

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    1. Your blog tells the on-going story of your nice blend between lots of activities and down time. You have so many interests but have learned to keep them under control. Good job, Barb.

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  7. There's nothing wrong with slowing down and reconnecting with family ... and yourself.

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  8. You're right about Tennessee getting a little nasty at time during winter...snowing here today. Nevertheless, it's a wonderful opportunity to sit by the fire, read a good book, and not feel one smidgen of guilt about doing so! That feeling is the best part of retirement!

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    1. I have family in Murfreesboro...said schools closed because of storm!

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    2. Yep! Storm has moved east. We're expecting about 3" in Knoxville and temps in low 20's overnight. You got a spare bedroom in Arizona?

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    3. Mid 70's on Sunday...this is the time of year to be here!

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  9. Bob,
    When I was working full time and only had weekends off, I thought I had to hit the ground running every weekend. Now that I’m working only 30 hours a week at a hotel and my work days and times vary, I don’t feeI compelled to stay busy during my time off. If I want to watch TV and hang out on my laptop all day with my cat by my side, that’s what I do.
    Have you settled on a word for the year? Mine’s “resourceful”. I want to do more with less and be creative in using what I have before I run out and buy more stuff. I want to recycle, re-use and reduce, and that will take some resourcefulness on my part.
    Have a great year!
    Diane

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    1. Thanks for the reminder. I hadn't really thought about a word to focus on this year though your pick of resourceful is a good one for down-sizing and getting off the consumer treadmill just a bit. I did cancel Direct TV yesterday. We were watching only half a dozen of the 150 channels we were paying for. Sling TV has everything we want for $60 a month less. That was an easy decision.

      While this isn't my official word this year, Betty and I are feeling good about "homebody." We spent so much of last year away from home we thought we'd like to focus on home and family for 2017. Of course, if we get itchy travel feet in a few months, oh well.

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    2. Bob, my Comast bill went up this month and I was wondering if you had made a decision about changing to Sling TV...can you do an update post on it for those of us considering it? Thanks...

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    3. I will give you the quick version here and expand on in with a bit more time under my belt.

      Yes, we did sign up for the smallest Sling TV package (Orange) for $20 a month after a two week free trial. So far it has worked perfectly. WE have had no problems with buffering or glitches. The quality is better than cable and almost on par with satellite. Some of the channels allow for an on demand-type viewing for a few days after a program has aired. You do need a fast, solid Internet connection.

      Sling does not offer local channels in Phoenix so I got an over-the-air antenna from Amazon. It works beautifully since we have a direct line from our house to the local TV antennas on top of a mountain ridge just south of downtown Phoenix. I am receiving many more local channels than I did with Direct TV.

      Netflix and Amazon Prime round out our sources of entertainment.

      I am saving approximately $60 a month and have more choices that we actually watch than we did before.

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  10. In our household, Rob is a big fan of downtime and I am a busy bee. I nudge him into being more active, and he calms me down and helps me see the benefits of relaxation. A good balance, I'd say.
    Jude

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    1. Yes, it sounds like Betty and me: I am comfortable with plenty of downtime and she is not. So, I try to calm her down a bit while she gets me off my butt.

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  11. I have been retired for only 2 months and am the "How-can-it-be-noon-and-I-have-accomplished-nothing-Guy". Reading your blog for a past month for, I'll continue to call it, "retirement" lifestyle planning has been helpful. Your "Re-visioning" tag has been helpful. Daily Quite Time has been a part of my "routine" for about a decade...I concur with your thoughts. Unfortunately, in my case, adding more quiet time is not an option; appreciating how quiet time balances my day and my nature is a habit that I need to develop.

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    1. Getting a freshened vision (or re-vision) of our life on a regular basis is very important. As long as there is enough quiet, down time in my schedule I am happy. But, that was not always the case.

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  12. I have been drawn into retirement and have been fighting it for 2 years. I left my job at 60, leaving the behavioral health care field, and moved to a warmer climate with several job opportunities lined up. I was never hired after 2-3 interviews. Just yesterday, after the last rejection notice from a potential employer, I have decided to hang up my shingle, "Retired". This morning I found your 'next avenue' site and this blog and it has really spoken to me. It helps me to know that I am not alone struggling with this retirement phase of life. Thanks so much for sharing your growth experience. I am excited to begin my new journey in life. Gale

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    1. Welcome, Gale. The beginning of retirement is exciting, scary, energizing, and a tad worrisome. The posts here, as well as all the comments left by folks going through the same journey, are a tremendous resource. I trust you will find encouragement and solid ideas. At any time, feel free to drop me an email (address on the contact info page available just above the most recent post) for a more personal response and guidance.

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  13. Quiet Time.......it is so wonderful. Mine is the early morning when there are no radios, TV's, computers on the scene. Oh, I forgot grandson, since ours lives 3 houses away. I love to sit on the front porch, gaze at the scenery, listen to the birds (is that a hummingbird, yes, fantastic), take deep breathes of the clean fresh air. I may think I am going to read a chapter in my present book, but I find just taking in the surroundings fills my time favorably.

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    1. That sounds heavenly. I try to do something like that in the late afternoon on our back porch. I can feel myself slowing down.

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  14. I also struggle with feeling a need to "accomplish" each day. Even if that accomplishment is adhering to my regular exercise routine, I feel satisfied at the end of the day. It is winter here in the northeast, but it has been so mild that getting outdoors has not been an issue. We both love the change of seasons, as well as living near family and familiar places and friends. We just dropped cable and had an antenna installed as well. We have Netflix to round out entertainment and that is more than enough. Goodbye cable bill and feeling tied to something that is becoming a dinosaur right before our eyes. 2 out of three kids also have no cable.

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    1. We dropped cable years ago and Direct TV last year. Like you, the indoor antenna for local TV works very well for a few network shows we like (Grimm, Hawaii 5-0). I mentioned in an earlier comment that we added Sling TV. That gets us HGTV, ESPN, and several other channels for $20 a month. Add in Netflix and Amazon Prime and our entertainment choices are more than enough.

      Actually, we aren't even sure we are getting $20 worth of entertainment a month from Sling. That might be a short-lived experiment.

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