January 20, 2018

A Perfect Retirement Day

This is a bit of an experiment. It will be a fun, engaging experience, or a total bust. 

I am turning the success of today's post over to you. I am asking you to describe a perfect retirement day. What would have to happen (or not happen) for you to declare it a "perfect" retirement day?

Would you be with friends or family or alone? Would it be in the woods, by the ocean, or hiking a mountain range? Would it be sunny and warm or snowy and cold? Would you never leave your home all day or be gone from sunup to sundown? 

Would you read, watch movies, listen to music? Would you meditate? Would you go to the animal shelter and pick out a new dog or cat? Would you catch up on long-delayed shopping for things you want to add to your home to make it your personal retreat? 

There are as many answers as there are people. That's why this could be a real learning, sharing experience for us. 

Oh, my perfect day? It might include a mix of some of the following:

1) Time with family. A meal together, watching a movie or playing games, conversation about this and that.

2) Reading one of the books I always have in a stack nearby.

3) Responding to a flood of comments on a blog post that I wasn't sure would generate much interest, let alone feedback.

4) Replacing a few parts in a 70 year old vintage radio I am restoring.

5) Taking at least one nap.

6) Taking our dog to a park to watch her frolic and hunt for lizards (her favorite thing in the whole world). Having a picnic lunch. Bike riding.

7) Having a glass of wine at 4pm while sitting on the back porch, listening to the water fountain, and having no real thoughts.

8) listening to music - a mix of favorites and something new.

9) Making a stranger smile.

10) Firming up plans for a 3 week trip to the beach.

OK, now your turn. Tell us what your perfect retirement day would be. Keep your answer as short or long and detailed as you want. Give us a glimpse of your idea of perfection.


  1. Yesterday was my version of pretty darn perfect: Met up with a group of Sierra Club seniors and went on a 30 mile bike ride along the coast (S. California), enjoying a guilt free lunch midway through. Returned home to put my house back together after some remodeling work, then enjoyed a little down time reading while soft music played and a cozy fire burned in our firplace. An easy but tasty home cooked dinner of spaghetti and salad, then lights out by 8:30 pm because a) I was exhausted (!) and b), I'm up early this morning getting ready for our local Women's March.

    A perfect day for me is generally a combination of lots of outside time, a moderate amount of mentally stimulating activities, and a few hours of down time.

    We recently made the decision to relocate closer to the coast, and I have to say I have never been happier in my retirement as a result. We now have year round, diverse outdoor opportunities absent the heat concerns we experienced each summer when we lived slightly more inland. So my advice to anyone that might be reading this is to not be afraid to dream big, because dreams really can come true.

  2. Yesterday/retired day, awoke about 6:15 checked in on facebook, as I woke up. Went to town at 7 and had coffee at the VFW hall with buddies. Came home and had a snack (breakfast) and talked to the wife as we played a couple hands of Canasta. At 10:30 went over to our church and did a couple hours of odds and ends (repair). On the way home stopped at a sawmill I work at a couple times a month for trade in fire wood. Home at one and snack time (dinner) at two I went back to our church and helped in the church school. (recess time) for a hour and a half. Home again and wife says we need to go grocery shopping. Back home and stuff put away helped clean up the house. Couple more hands of Canasta while we had a snack. (supper) and a little tv time. Oh, I did a couple times sit down and read a little on my book. Most days are like this and have been for eight years. Happy ever after.

  3. Yesterday was pretty darn perfect for me as well! Started the morning to sunshine and music on our new turn table. Drove/Metro into DC for a human rights march for life. Spent about three hours with an activist from Cameroon. (Wow! Her energy was amazing!) Took the Metro back to take my grands to the park. Back home to an evening of "Travelers" on Netflix while I chatted with my husband.

    This was way more then I usually do. My normal perfect day is: tossing the frisbee with the dog, some great gardening, talking with my daughter and grands, giving some help with LD kids on line, and then reading, chatting and Netflix at night.

    I find I have a lot of perfect days being retired. ~ Janette (I cannot seem to get on Google these days....)

  4. I have two perfect days.One is a quiet perfect day (home day) and one is a perfect "out" day.

    Home day: Sleep till we Wake up, coffee on patio watching sunrise and reading the news on ipad.Chat with Ken (not too much,he's not a morning person!) Meditate together, 20 min. yoga at home . Ken and I take a 45 min walk into the neighborhood across street that has horses,donkeys,chickens. Home to spend time in kitchen making some exotic recipe,maybe Indian food. Into craft room and make some greeting cards or start a watercolor, or journal. Ken practices guitar and reads or gardens or fixes something around house. Nap! Read one of my books. Back outside with book for a bit. FInish up supper, then eat.Play some cards or Scrabble, or a good movie on netflix.. bed by 9:30 or sometimes 10.

    OUT DAY: Up early! Meditate . Pack a picnic lunch. Meet Andrew for coffee. Then Ken and I head up to Saguaro Lake or drive up to Watson Lake and kayak for a couple of hours. Lunch under trees somewhere... home later,naps! Happy hour on patio with sparkly something, or a nice lemon zinger tea- Ken doesn't drink and I gave up wine this year too. (CALORIES! and have been becoming allergic to sulfites.) Nice supper and maybe foot rubs or back rubs. Recount the day,talk about our next outdoor trip,maybe do some planning on our next road trip.

    We have a couple of variations on this and life is good! Other little things I do daily: Few moments spiritual reading every morning and a gratitude journal, and we meditate twice a day every day.

  5. Here is a perfect retirement day for me:
    1. Have a FaceTime chat with a grandchild before school.
    2. Brisk walk
    3. Apply a fresh coat of polish to my beloved FJ Cruiser
    4. Hook up the RV and take the two hour drive to favorite campground in the mountains
    5. Sit and read beside the stream until dark with my adorable wife.

    Thanks Bob, I needed that!

  6. my perfect retirement day would start with an hours early morning walk then a morning spent sewing while listening to a good audio book. A healthy lunch followed up by a bit of gardening, perhaps coffee with a friend or more reading curled up with the cat on the lounge. After dinner some TV, maybe an evening walk.I'd go to the movies every few weeks and spend a lot of time planning our next cruise. I can't wait!

  7. Hot coffee, discussing plans for the day with hubby, reading blog posts and emails, off to tennis or an hour at the gym, home for lunch and time spent plotting our next adventure, pack up the beach chairs, camera and a bottle of wine and off to the beach for an amazing sun set.

  8. I find it interesting that so many readers find perfection in relatively normal days for many of us. In keeping with that, I felt today was pretty terrific. Woke up here on the ocean in North Myrtle, worked out, then got in a fast walk around the area. Since the temps were warming into the 60s we drove up to Wilmington NC, a nice, funky town. Walked around the Riverwalk area, around town, and then stopped at a nice riverfront restaurant across from where they moor the USS North Carolina. Drove home and now just relaxing with a cocktail, looking at the ocean, and getting ready to watch the TN Vols take on SC in men's basketball. Yeah, this was a pretty good retirement day, and it appears like many of your readers get a lot of joy out of similar, simple days.

  9. At this point in retirement my perfect day would include:
    1. Quiet time, either morning or evening. Time to ‘just be’ watching the sun rise or set.
    2. Sunshine, with time to be outside. In the yard, park or in the winter driving someplace with the sunroof open to let the sun in.
    3. Uninterrupted time for an involved project, crafts, home improvement, paperwork anything just so I can be totally focused on the task.
    4. Time with Hubby doing something, watching a game show, grocery shopping, walking in one of the many State Parks or sitting in the shade watching the birds and clouds.

  10. What constitutes my perfect day? I'm guided by the following:
    1) the grand essentials of happiness are something to do, something to love and something to hope for - a k chalmers
    2) There are things you do because they feel right & they may make no sense & they may make no money & it may be the real reason we are here: to love each other & to eat each other's cooking & say it was good. 'Real Reason' by Brain Andreas (www.storypeople.com)
    3) A quote from Jane Fonda - We're not meant to be perfect; we're meant to be whole.

    So my perfect day starts with waking on my own time, no alarm clock - a slow morning with coffee and a good read. Then time to tend to what needs doing whether that be housework, cooking, yard maintenance, appointments, etc. Being outdoors in the fresh air in a temperature that's not too cold (warmer than -15C) and not too hot (cooler than 25C) usually involves a 2-mile walk or snow shovelling or yard work or gardening, depending upon the season. Each day I aim to accomplish something that needs doing and something that wants doing (reading, listening to music, walking). There's healthy, delicious food to eat. A perfect day is highlighted by having enough - the resources to make this all happen (including an ability to cope) and a circle of people who are there when I need them. A perfect day is often bookmarked by witnessing a sunrise and sunset. All this is the "cake". And then there's the "icing" - a letter from my granddaughter; seeing wildlife through my windows (deer, coyotes, bear, cougar, fisher, eagles); hearing from an old friend whether by email, letter, phone. Truly, life is good.

  11. Having to wake up to an alarm, and having to adjust my day around someone else's schedule, like appointments and such, are the only couple of things that can take a day down a notch from perfect. It still happens a bit more frequently than I would like because we still have a teenager at home and lots revolves around her schedule, but for the most part my days are pretty perfect because my husband is an early riser and takes care of all the morning stuff now, including making the coffee. Because of his work schedule and the length of his commute I did everything for so many years, and felt like I was spending my life in the car running to get everyone where they needed to be on time, so a perfect day now is where my time is my own. The most enjoyable part of my day is being able to get up whenever and enjoy a leisurely cup or coffee or two while I check in with social media and read my favorite blogs, something that was completely impossible a few years ago, but I also love being able to pop down to the beach for an hour or so when the weather is good (we live less than five minutes away), but mostly perfect is the freedom to do what I want when I want (or not do anything at all if that's what I feel like).

  12. This is a great but difficult question.
    I'm afraid to retire because I have very few ideas about what I would do. But I'll take a stab at it just for practice.

    5am Get up and make a pot of coffee. Sit in my recliner. Read books. Listen to a morning guided meditation. 3 hours to myself.
    8am Fix and eat breakfast and watch our favorite TV show together when my husband gets up. Clean up kitchen keeping dinner in mind.
    10am Fill bird feeders and water garden. Pick flowers and herbs. Make muffins. Cut up ingredients for stirfry dinner.
    12noon Drive and hike into a country cemetery with a group of other genealogists to find and document grave stones for an hour or so. Stop at great sandwich place downtown for lunch after. Meet at spa for a seasonal aromatherapy massage.
    3pm Come home and relax. Listen to music (headphones) and work on photo albums online. Email some pics to friends in California.
    6pm-9pm Daughter stops by to share dinner with us before heading home. Watch a good movie. Make popcorn.
    10pm go to bed.

    A perfect day this. To make it even more perfect (the icing as Mona said) is that my husband would need my help with something or want me to go somewhere with him. Thanks to Madeline for reminding me about massage.

  13. Even the “everyday” is reasonably close to perfect! If I can wake early before my husband or daughter get up and fit in a cup of coffee or two while catching up on the news, weather and my favorite blogs, then it’s a great start to the day. Add in a long walk down a quiet backroad with blue sky, tons of trees and views of the reservoir then the day just gets better. Staying in touch with our adult kids via text, making plans with friends for a “play date” at our favorite pizza place and packing a picnic lunch to share with my husband at a park on the river would all go a long way toward making an “everyday” perfect. If I can settle in with a good book close to bed time and know that my family is safe, my friends are well and I made the day a better one for someone else, then that sounds pretty much like perfect to me. But if I had the ability to actually design a Perfect Retirement Day, I’d have to say that my husband and I would wake up in our travel trailer in one of our favorite National Parks campgrounds. We’d enjoy our breakfast and morning coffee watching the forest wake up around us and then we’d decide on whatever adventure we felt like for the day. Maybe it would be hiking, biking or kayaking but, whatever the adventure, our activity would be followed by a good meal (with ice cream!) shared together as the sun was setting. If we’re on the road exploring, we’re happy. If we’re sharing a special camping or boating adventure then we’re deliriously happy and if we wake up to do it all over again the next day, we’re perfectly happy! Thank you for providing the opportunity to actually think about a perfect day in retirement and for helping us realize just how blessed our lives are!

  14. It's really fun and relaxing to read everyone's thoughts on this!!!!

    1. I totally agree. I have not been responding to each comment because each response is a personal statement of a perfect retirement day/experience, so my opinion on that opinion is not needed!

      But, I have been fascinated by the variety of ways folks put together their day. I have found some things to incorporate into my days, too.

      Please, dear reader, keep those "perfect" day descriptions coming.

  15. I've been thinking about this question as I went about my day. Most of my days are pretty great since I retired two years ago. So I suppose a perfect one would incorporate my favorite elements. I always start with coffee in bed and a chat with my hubby...it's something we've done for years. I also like to read if I wake up while he's still sleeping. I'd also have a chat with each of my grown kids. They're in different time zones, so that randomly happens on one day, but I can dream. :-)

    As for the day, a long walk or bike ride is nice (weather permitting). I'd take a long bath with a good book and then have a massage. In the afternoon, I love to take in a movie, then stop at my favorite book store. They have a huge section of used books now, and I love to nose through them. (We sell them our used books for store credit and donate the ones they don't want to our library.)

    Dinner would be at our favorite restaurant, or if it's summer we would grill and eat on the patio. Then a little Netflix or reading again before turning in. We're not night owls, so that's about it.


  16. I just love how a lot of people's ideal days involve enjoying simple activities, and relaxing with their regular daily lives and loved ones..this is so uplifting.. thanks for this topic,Bob!!

  17. Good post! [and good comments, too] I found my way here by Googling "personal identity in retirement". I'd like to think I could help other seniors in our local church to be more at ease with retirement and more engaged with life in general. [I'm 65--retired at 63.5 from a second career in auto restoration.]
    A good day for me:
    Up at 6 or so... start coffee, and fire up computer... intermix checking emails & checking-in on 3 online forums I participate in [old English fords, U-Haul campers, mountain dulcimers], while having breakfast & coffee. Journal my thoughts on whatever topic is foremost at this point for me... winding that up by 9 or so.
    2-3 Hours light work in shop on 58 Anglia project, while wife crotchets & lends occasional hand.
    11:45-1 or 1:30... back to retirement cottage on our acreage, and a light lunch while checking mail, visiting, maybe a chapter read in one of several books on the side table.
    2-3 More hours on light work on Anglia.........
    Supper, evening news, read or work on puzzles, or Netflix..... to bed by 10:20 or so.

    Occasional planning for this spring-fall's camping with 13' f/g camper [tows easy with either car or smallish pickup]
    Life's pretty good..............
    [p.s. don't know what "comment as:" below means]

  18. So fun to read all the personal "perfect retirement day" stories! I'm late to comment, as we returned from a 10 day round trip cruise from San Francisco to Mexico, back to San Francisco on the 22nd and was "WiFi free" for the duration. Loved every moment of the cruise but coming through the front door of our retirement home was a special feeling.....home sweet home for sure. Have been unpacking, doing laundry, catching up online, restocking groceries, putting all my house plants back in their usual spots, and cooking dinner for the first time in 11 days! Love the freedom that retirement brings us.....to travel or to enjoy staying home and feeling grateful for our simple daily rhythms. Last night found us in front of the fire watching basketball......quite a contrast from swimming in the warm water of the ship's pool and enjoying nightly shows! But the feeling of being back in our nest happy and snug can't be beat. Of course.....today I'm off to the dentist....ah....reality!! What a great topic Bob.

  19. My perfect retirement day can take many different forms. Last week Rob and I had a perfect day at the ski hill. We got up early, had coffee and breakfast, and loaded our ski gear in the truck. It was raining heavily. We drove to the ski hill, a little more than an hour’s drive. Halfway up the hill, the rain had changed to a flurry of snow. It snowed heavily all day, and we enjoyed the most fabulous powder. We had lunch in the restaurant at the hill, and hot chocolate with rum at the end of skiing. Once back in town, we went out for dinner at an English style inn, where we sat in front of a roaring fire and played cards while we waited for our meal to arrive. We topped off the meal by sharing a sticky toffee pudding (swimming in cream). When we got home, we put away our ski gear, then showered and got into pajamas, and read in front of the fire until bedtime. Retirement is grand!


  20. What a fun question. My perfect retirement day would also be a perfect weather day -- one of those gorgeous late June days in Maine with blue skies, soft breezes, and temperatures in the mid-seventies. I would be up and out early (by 6 a.m.) for a long walk. Then, after stretching out and getting showered and dressed, I would make a pot of tea, pour out a mug, and take a slow stroll through my garden (where lots of beautiful flowers would be in bloom). I would spend the day at home and most of it outdoors. Meals would be eaten out on the porch. I would spend time sitting on a chaise longue on the deck or porch or patio immersed in a novel. I might spend some time working in the garden or some time entertaining a friend with tea or dinner on the porch. After dark, I might go out and lie on the deck for some quality star-gazing. The night would be just warm enough that I could leave the windows open overnight and enjoy the scents of my fragrant garden wafting in through the bedroom window. -Jean

  21. Well I just semi retired in January 2018. I was working approx. 52 hours per week with a 3 hour a day drive. I am 62 and felt it was time. I work 16 to 24 hours per week and doing it all from home. My wife is 6 years younger than me and feels it’s to early for her to retire so she was kind enough to carry me on her insurance for a bit.
    My perfect day to get up at 5:00 AM have breakfast and then a workout in baseme do 20 minutes on the bike and 20 minutes on elliptical and 20 minutes with weights and just some rowing. Then c9me back to my home office from 6:30 to 11:30. Then I have the rest of the day to myself. I go for a drive, just had a new grandson last week so once my daughter is settled I will visit once a week for lunch and offer some help. Maybe spend some time in my woodworking shop or when the wether is better on patio, in garden or go fishing. I typically work m, t, w and take tr, fr off. So far I love it but of course the first month has been emotional to a point... asking myself did I do the right thing? The answer is YES!!
    Now it's time to meet some people and enjoy life and do some traveling. Steve