Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Time on my hands

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...

6 comments:

  1. Hi Sue, I just found your blog from the Thursday blog hop. I recently left my job and moved to a new city, so I can relate to much of what you say. Target is always busy! The post office is better during the week though. I started a freelance writing career, not bringing in the equal paycheck yet, but hopefully someday. Cheers, Michele

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    1. After giving the part time thing a good shot, I am looking forward to working full time again!

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  2. I don't know Sue, somehow everything you write about really resonates with me! I thought EXACTLY the same thing, even into my 40's: I was going to retire early at 55 (but did allow for a few extra years 'just in case'), travel a lot, paint and work on photography. I had it all planned out. Then I got to 55 and realized there was no way I could retire because who would pay the bills? So here I am, 61, still working full time and thinking now, I'll retire when I'm 66 (when I'm "allowed" : ) ) and can get Social Security payments to boost whatever comes in from other sources. And I also now know that I will work in retirement, hopefully just part time and doing something I love (have a few ideas!) But I don't want to HAVE to work when I retire, you know? I want to work to stay 'out there' (not to mention have funds to travel, hopefully, maybe...) When I'm off work I notice the same thing, There are a ton of people out there when you think they should be working. What's that all about? I wouldn't be able to fill 15 hours with errands either. Okay, if I had unlimited funds I would spend them shopping, but I don't so there you go. Isn't it funny how as we go through it, life turns out so much different from what we had planned? People whose lives go 'according to plan' drive me crazy and I can't relate to them! Karen

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    1. I always enjoy your comments! It does seem as though we have a lot in common. I laughed when I read your comment about unlimited funds=shopping! Me, too. Thanks for reading.

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  3. I am 61 and I don't see me retiring for a long long time. My best advice is to be wise with finances if you desire to retire early. Thoughtful post for all of those who are entering into midlife. I love working though...it keeps me mentally strong...I do not see myself sitting around a house at any age...unless grounded by health. Thanks for sharing with the Thursday Blog Hop!

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    1. I have come to realize that I, too, love working. There is just something about real estate that is so satisfying. Thanks for reading!

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