July 3, 2017

7 Perks of Retirement: Small but Nice!





Every once in a while it is good to be a bit whimsical. Retirement isn't always serious and important. Here is a list of seven things that you can do when you stop working full time (there are more than seven, but you're busy, right?).


1) You can sleep late if you want to.  Just because I can doesn't mean I do. My warped sense of productivity screams that I've wasted half the day if I'm still in bed by 7 AM. Even on Saturdays when I really could laze around all morning I am up and on with the day by 6:30. But, the freedom to sleep later is still, in theory, available to me.

2) Going out to dinner earlier and getting the senior price. I used to joke about retired folks having dinner at 4 in the afternoon to get the blue plate special. Now that I am one of them, my wife and I do eat much earlier than we used to. We consider 5:30 PM to be late dining. If going to a restaurant, 4:30 PM is actually a good idea to avoid the lines and long waits. And, we always check the back page of the menu for the "55 Club" or whatever name is given to the senior prices. Of course, the smaller price also means smaller portions, but that's good for my waistline anyway.

3) Forgetting what day of the week it is, and not having it matter.  Except for church on Sunday morning, what day it is becomes rather unimportant. Monday feels like Wednesday which feels like Friday. The only downside is time has definitely speeded up. Whole weeks and now even months seem to be gone in the blink of an eye. I want to believe this isn't a memory issue, but more a function of me being busy and happy.

4) Taking advantage of cheaper matinee movie prices. Who in their right mind would pay $12 for a movie when shows before 6 PM are $7? At the local AMC theater shows before noon are $5. I'll see something I don't even like for $5. Or, I'll stay home and watch Netflix.

5) You can stop wearing a watch. Cell phones tell you the time if you need to know. The clock on the computer screen and car dashboard are entirely sufficient. Not wearing a watch is a physical and symbolic statement of freedom from the tyranny of time. That is not true, of course, but it sounds good.

6) You don't have to shop on weekends with everyone else. A rule in the Lowry household: no Home Depot, Costco, Wal-Mart, or shopping malls on weekends. There is no reason to subject ourselves to the hoards of weekend warriors and teenagers. Monday through Friday contains 120 hours. If I can't get my shopping done in that amount of time, I am shopping much too much.

7) You can wait at home all day for the repairman. I don't know why it is, but if there is a 3 hour window for a repair person, I am always in the last 5 minutes of that window. Never am I first or even in the first half of that big window. I don't know why but I've learned to (mostly) accept it. With the flexible schedule of a retiree it doesn't matter. If I don't wear a watch I don't even realize how late the fellow is and I stay calmer.



These are seven rather silly perks of a satisfying retirement, but all true for me. How about you? What less-than-life-changing  things can you do, or not do, if you don't work full time anymore? Let's call this a mid-week lighten up and have some fun with your answers. Comments are strongly encouraged!

Oh, and if you are reading this in the U.S.A. have a Happy 4th of July holiday!




37 comments:

  1. Absolutely agree with all and most were eye opening, especially never knowing what day it is! :-) Like you, I couldn't sleep in if I tried, especially in summer with the sun appearing before 6AM. And eating early also avoids heartburn issues for me. I somehow found myself in the grocery store on Saturday afternoon and was immediately reminded why I don't do that.

    The other thing I love is my "tomorrow is another day" perk. When I don't get to something on my list (yes, I still keep one...), I am able to just put it off until tomorrow, because I generally have the time. Life is SO good.
    --Hope

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    1. I have been a list maker since I was old enough to hold a pencil. You and I are cut from the same cloth, Hope.

      What has been happening to me for the past year or two is the blur of the weekdays. I have a standard phrase, "It's Friday already?" Monday seems to be of normal length, but then suddenly it is Thursday evening and the end of the week is already upon me. What happened to Tuesday, Wednesday, and most of Thursday?

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  2. Yeah, about that sleeping in.... When I was young I could stay in bed till noon and often had to drag myself out of bed in the morning to go to school or work. Now, when I could do exactly what I dreamed of doing all those years ago, I can't stay asleep past 6:00! Where is the fairness in that? Not really complaining because I can still laze around in bed as long as I want, or as long as the dog will allow. And I can stay in my pajamas till noon or beyond if I want to, and I often do. Thankfully, the dog does not care what I'm wearing. I love to get up in the morning, wrap up in my robe, and go outside to eat breakfast in the garden. So I would add to your list "pajama days"!

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    1. With it getting light by 5 AM at this time of year, the dog wants to start her day early. Like you, Betty and I are lucky to make it to 6:00 or 6:15.

      PJ day? I don't own a pair, but my sleeping shorts and a T-shirt qualify. Some days they are my dress of choice until mid morning....what a slacker!

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  3. It is absolutely hilarious how early our meals have gotten. We're usually at a restaurant by 11:30 for a lunch and by 5:00 for a dinner. And when we go somewhere with another couple, the men sit together in the front and the women in the back.........so we can talk. I never would have believed, as a young person, that all the stereotypes of aging would be mine. :D

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    1. You make it until 11:30 for lunch? Anything past 10:55 is "legal" for us. I like eating dinner earlier for two reasons: it is better for my stomach to have several hours between dinner and bedtime, and an earlier dinner makes the evening feel a bit longer.

      Alos, I hate to wake for a table, so when we go out, we make sure we are old-person early.

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  4. Ha! Those are distinctive facts! These are just a few of the basic facts that make retirement worth it. Each one listed is a thrill. You forgot-- no meetings! Unless YOU make the appt. Or , if the phone rings I can choose to answer / or not! Lordy, I love retirement!

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    1. I still have a few meetings a month, but they are of my choosing so I don't object. Even so, putting on long pants and shoes that aren't sneakers is something I struggle with.

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  5. All true, including the comments. Here's my retirement perk... you can fail at something, with nothing hurt but your pride and pocketbook. For me, it was learning the piano. I diligently practiced, but conceded defeat after 2years of lessons. Oh well, I gave it a good try.

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    1. Ha, I can relate. I have started and stopped guitar 7 or 8 times. My fingers just won't stretch for most chords anymore. Once I get to a certain point I start making excuses to skip practice, and suddenly several days have gone by and I have forgotten how to play an Am chord.

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  6. I think you've covered it! We enjoy all those things very very much--the small perks really add up to big satisfaction.I'd add "Spontaneity." We can decide.. hey let's drive to Sedona on Friday. OR let's throw the camping gear in the car and go to Woods Canyon Lake (My current spontaneous thought.. I want to WAKE UP on the water!!Then rent a kayak.) Airbnb makes it easy to find places to stay at a reasonable rate if you're game to try it. Yes, if we go out to eat, we love the early bird specials.We're much more inclined to go out to LUNCH these days then eat a light supper later that day and take a night time swim.

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    1. I have determined that I am allergic to a plant in our backyard. To prove the point I would like to go to Flagstaff for a night to make sure my sneezes and allergies clear up, and to get out of the heat for a break! Now, all I have to do is find an open two days!

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  7. Sleeping late is a real pleasure for me. I wake up with the birds chirping, but can easily go back to sleep until 9. Getting up early is 8am for me.
    Also, I enjoy 2 or 3 hour lunches, not senior prices - but lunch specials for everone.
    I think that time seems to fly by because I don't have deadlines anymore and most of the time I am doing things I actually enjoy. Also, I am very aware that I have less time ahead of me. But I do have a friend who lives independently at 101, so I will continue taking good care of myself because if I do live a long life I hope I will be able to be independent too.

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    1. A 3 hour lunch...very continental of you.

      The less time ahead of us than behind is the reason I see most often for the time flies syndrome. Whatever it is, the sensation is very real.

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  8. Just remember that if you should unfortunately have to go to the Emergency Room, they may do a quick mental status exam on you, in which case you need to know what day of the week it is! They may also ask you if you know who is President, but I'm not sure even the most mentally muddled person could forget who that is these days.

    One I would add is that if my book is exceptionally interesting and I'm not particularly sleepy, I can keep on reading without thinking, "Oh I need to stop BECAUSE...," which used to be "because I have to go to work tomorrow."

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    1. My 10 year old grandson is a real reader and on summer break at the moment. Last week he started a book about bedtime for him and apparently read all the way through it. He finally finished it at 4 am. That is remarkable.

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  9. We can pack up the camping gear and take off in the middle of the week for the mountains when the forecast is for 102 degrees in the valley where we live.

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    1. What a great benefit. Can we join you since we are stuck in the 108 degree range.

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  10. The items you listed here add up to a big retirement perk to me! Most of my life I have hated Mondays but now it is my favorite day. It is wonderful to have the whole week ahead of you and to know that you can, for the most part, plan it out anyway you want. I love to get up, relax and enjoy coffee and not worry about the time and getting ready for work! Like others I also enjoy staying in my pj's a big part of the morning as well!

    We joined AMC Stubs and now enjoy going to the movies more than we ever did before. We get in for $5.00 and on Tuesdays that price is good for all day. We love to go to an afternoon movie on Tuesdays and then eat out after the movie. We also build up credits to get in free and get other benefits.

    Like you I used to joke about all the retired people going out to eat so early. Now we are those people and we love it! We get in quick, have a leisurely meal and still get home in time for any favorite TV programs or other activities at home.

    I also love that I can take on all those projects I never had time for before. I have an on-going project of scanning several generations of family photos. It is time consuming but I hope it will make a difference for future generations to have all those photos and history on discs. I am also a quilter and now I can make all those quilts I have been thinking about making forever!

    Oh, and one more perk - don't forget our pets. Those of us with furry children can easily see how much they enjoy having us around the house more often!

    Happy 4th of July to you, your family and all your lovely readers Bob!

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    1. Interesting...Monday is my favorite day, too, and for the same reason - all the possibilities that lie ahead of me that week.

      Our local movie chain, Harkins, has a deal with free popcorn and $1.50 soft drinks if you wear their T-shirt and use their cup. We will never go to a movie that isn't matinee priced. The $7 movie is exactly the same as the $11 show after 6pm, so why not?

      I could scan older pictures, but my kids have said they aren't interested in all the thousands of photos involved. I am trying to convince Betty to pick out a dozen or so of the best from each vacation and scan those.

      Happy 4th to you, too. We are having a great family weekend so far.

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  11. I think everyone of your 7 items touch on the same thing... Time.

    I saw once in a WSJ financial article they were talking about retirement and how money was the "limited resource" you need to worry about most in retirement. I wrote and told them they were wrong, at that time of life, time is the most precious resource. While there is still much to be done there is no denying we are on the back nine so use that time wisely. (They actually wrote me back and thanked me for the insight.)

    For me: I have time to travel. I have time to get my still numerous tasks done, well mostly done anyway. I have time to spend with my grandchildren that I rarely had with my own children. I have time to go to the gym regularly. I have time to hike in nature every week. I have time to spend with friends. The luxury of time and my ability to choose how to spend it, that is what I notice and enjoy most about retirement.

    - David

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    1. I like your schedule from paragraph two. That mirrors a lot of what I do and like.

      Time is the coin of the realm, to use a very old expression. I am comfortable with our financial situation, so I can make the most of my time for experiences and memory-making.

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    2. One thing for sure, you can always get more money -- go back to work, sell your house, whatever -- but you can't get more time.

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  12. For me, the biggest perk in retirement is a slow morning; no more jumping out of bed in the morning to get ready to get out of the house to work. It's been 4 years and I'm still not over the slow mornings. I generally waken between 7-8am but often spend the first few hours of my day with a cup of coffee and something to read, including this blog. I socialize so much more because I don't have to go home to get to bed to get up in the morning for formal work so I guess I say yes more than no these days. I can't remember when I wore a watch last. I knew I was retired the day a friend and I were trying to rebook a quad trip after we were rained out. We were sifting through the upcoming weekends trying to find an open one when I asked what about Mon, Tues, Wed, Thursday or Fri? We still laugh about that one. When asked what I would do in retirement, I often replied - those things I did <8AM and >5PM, I would do between 8 & 5. The truth of the matter is, I get those things done between 10AM & 5.

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    1. I wonder if we'd sleep in later if we didn't have a dog to wake us up so early. Like you, I start my day with coffee and the morning paper. I find the routine very pleasant.

      I only shave a few days a week which always feels so decadent and love wearing shorts and a T-shirt instead of dress-up "adult" stuff.

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  13. It's funny how living in a resort town can make the whole summer feel like the weekend! So, we limit our ventures out based on traffic patterns this time of year. I love getting up when I damn well feel like it. I often wake up early and go through my email and fb in bed, then sometimes doze off again. It's all a bit 'what evah'! Dave needs to be busy, whether it's habitat for humanity or volunteering at the cat shelter, which works for his cat fix since I'm allergic. He's always putzing in the garden in between. But, we usually hold off til 7pm for dinner. Habit. There is a wonderful feeling with the freedom we now have.
    b

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    1. Of course, you always take a beautiful picture of your garden or some other place in Cape May. I have come to depend on that every morning on Facebook!

      Our traffic and crowds hit between October and April so we have to be even more careful about chores and trips out of the house during that peak time of the year. Saturday is one day we will not go shopping. There is no reason we have to put up with the hassle.

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  14. Like others have stated about being at a point that one can now sleep in, old habits still die hard. I like to get up at 5 or 530AM to either run or lift; the roads I run on have minimal shoulders here in TN, so the earlier I can get out the less traffic I have to contend with. And personally I love all the deals whether for seniors or otherwise. Anyone who doesn't want theirs, I'll be glad to take them. Early meals, AMC Stubs like Bonnie, reduced this or that - I'll take them all. And we can do everything when the maddening crowds are hard at work, such as travel for months any time other than the summer. Good article, Bob; love to see that everyone else has the same "eccentricities" as I do!

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    1. I feel better about eating so early...I see Betty and I are not out of sync with others. Of course, looking around the other folks having dinner at 4:45 or 5pm, they are our age!

      Discounts, specials, matinee pricing...we have earned it all.

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  15. Every time I spot my beautiful neckties hanging (way on the end of a rack) in my closet I feel deeply thankful that I no longer have to wear one.

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    1. I still own 3, down from 30. I can relate!

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  16. I concur - over and over and over again! I no longer mark time by a watch but by the season and even those are going by very quickly! Enjoy the home time A LOT but so fun to be able to head off for coffee with a friend or a painting session with another on a whim or planned - no matter. Also, easy to fit in around my children's plans - more or less. I can visit at optimum times instead of sitting in an empty house while they are at work! Retirement has been a wonderful season in my life!

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    1. I think it is the freedom of time that is the most important criteria of a happy retirement. Doing something "on a whim" as you say, is very empowering.

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  17. The biggest perk so far is time to nurture and deepen relationships, with pets, spouse, and family. Before I retired we lost an old dog, when he passed I realized I'd spent his entire life home only on weekends and during the summer. Now I can cherish my dogs every day. Same for spending time with my spouse, rediscovering who he is and how much fun it is to be with him. We can watch a movie, fix a meal, sit on the porch together and chat or soak up the scenery, and I don't have to rush off anywhere anymore. And those long phone calls or visits with my sisters that I never had time for before, I can indulge in now.

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    1. Interesting observation about your relationship with your dog. They are such amazing companions but need us in their lives on a regular basis. Being away for work and other commitments leaves them feeling a bit lost. Our dog is a very important part of our life. Even though she restricts how long we can be gone on vacations, we are more than willing to pay that cost.

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  18. As I am just beginning my first month of retirement, this post and the comments were an eye opener for me. It provided a little glimpse of how my relationship with time might begin to change. So far, the only one I have really discovered is waking up without an alarm clock. Having the time to sleep as much as I want and when I want has been wonderful.

    Jude

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    1. At some point rather early in my retirement, I took off my watch and haven't worn one since. I have several clocks in the house, and one on the phone. But, the constant looking at my wrist during my working years is over, and not missed at all.

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