If anyone had asked me when I was younger about the best time to retire, I would have said preferably 55, but 60 at the latest. I had visions of travelling to exotic places, lounging around on pristine beaches, learning obscure languages and taking painting lessons. Since I have never been inspired to do any of those things at any point in my life, I am not sure why I thought I would like to do them when I no longer had to work. Be that as it may, a couple of years ago, my work week hours were shortened from 40 to 25, not by my own choice, but by the person for whom I work. I resisted getting another job, imagining all of the fun things I could do in those extra hours of free time each week. Here was my chance to semi retire, to still be in the workforce and yet be able to put those exciting plans into place. In addition to all the activities with which I would fill my days, I would also do all of my weekend errands during the week, in the mornings so as to avoid crowds, thereby saving tons of time. Best of both worlds, right? Imagine my surprise when I realized a few interesting things about being semi retired.
1. A shortened work week means a smaller pay check (big Duh! here).
2. Vacations, exotic or not, cost money (another Duh!) which I no longer have in abundance.
3. Yes, I have 15 hours of free time in the mornings during which to run errands, but really, how many errands do I have to run? I doubt I have 15 hours worth of errands a month let alone each week. And quite apart from the abundant errand running time, I found that:
4. There appear to be just as many people running around on weekdays as there are on the weekends! Who knew going to Target on a Wednesday morning at 10 would take just as long as going there at the same time on Saturday?
5. I don't want to take lessons of any kind whether it be small engine repair, painting or origami. I'm just not a lesson taker. I also am not interested in taking classes or attending lectures. I did enough of that in college to last a lifetime.
6. Although I have enjoyed being able to go to late morning breakfasts with friends during the week, I can no longer go to lunch. I miss going to lunch. There are a lot more choices at lunch and it serves as a nice little break in the work day. (If you sense a little whine here, you would not be incorrect) Ladies Who Lunch sounds so deliciously decadent. Babes Who Breakfast, not so much.
7. Did I mention a smaller pay check?
What I am most proud of during this enforced down time is that I did not fall into the habit of sleeping in. Sadly I cannot take credit for that as my dog is an early riser and very demanding with regards to his morning walks. He likes to have his pre-breakfast walk at around 6:30, 7 at the very latest, and then only if he has stayed up late the night before. So, apart from the myriad errands that required running, what did I do this last 2 years with all of my involuntary free time? My house is no cleaner, nor is it better organized. I cannot claim to have spent the time on self improvement or giving back to my community or inventing a wonderfully inexpensive widget that will revolutionize the world. Instead I read books. Lots and lots of books. Oh, yes, and I started writing this little blog...