Posted 10/12/2018 9:08 AM (GMT -6)
As a follow-up to my thread of a few days ago ("How many of you are retired?") here is my own list of "unanticipateds," that is, things not covered so much in retirement planning sources, etc., but which have occurred at one point or another during my retirement so far, and are noteworthy enough to be food for thought.
Well, maybe some of them have been covered, but perhaps not covered to the extent that they should be, so that many of us, retired or soon to be, would be ready for them and recognize them when they do occur. Which is why I'm submitting this list now. Knowing about some of them ahead of time may help.
And if any of you other retirees can think of similar things that could be added to the list, please do post them below, and they can be added to the discussion.
Remember, the theme is things that can come up during retirement that were unanticipated, but significant enough to merit attention.
WHAT I HAVE OBSERVED:
Initial adjustment to retirement. Yes, it did take a few weeks or so, at least in my case, to absorb that I had moved into a new kind of life. I kept waking up early in the morning for a while, my body still operating on a go-to-work schedule, but that did change after a while. In fact, for maybe a couple of months or so, I realized my sleeping pattern was shifting naturally into more of a nightowl schedule. Having been a night person all of my life, in effect having forced myself to be a dayworker for decades, this kind of Circadian adjustment, if that's what it was, seemed natural. My advice? If you find this happening to you, go with it, and see where it leads. In short, if you feel like sleeping late, then sleep late.
Empowerment. I was now in complete control of my life, able now to control every minute of it. For me, this had an almost narcotic effect, aware now that there was no boss, no schedule, nothing to tell me what to do. This eventually become the new norm, and as time passes may require some tweaking, such as making allowances for the needs of one's children, as in my case, but the overall sense of complete empowerment remains.
Time control. A form of empowerment, this was much more of a "biggie" than I would have thought it would be. It got back to the fact that my job, and this is going to be true for practically all of us, turned out to be the dominant controller of time planning in my life, more than I had realized. Think about it. Whenever you have had to plan the timing of an event in your life (such as family vacation, trip to relatives, even attending your child's baseball game) didn't it all have to be done taking into account your job time requirements? No longer when you're retired!
Relatives and friends. I found that they were much more on my mind than before when I was working, along with more of an interest in contacting and visiting them.
Thinking is clearer (fewer distractions). A bit of a surprise, but it did happen for me. I'm convinced that when I no longer had job and work issues tying up my brain so much (think, really, just how often you really are thinking about work issues) then my mind was able to shift gears, and work full time on other, now important, things.
Hobbies. Plenty of time now for these, including being a participant in webforums, such as HW PC. A good hobby can even take as much time as a job used to if you want it to, but that is now entirely under your control.
More time for pets. When I would get home from my job in the evenings, sometimes there was just enough time for me to take the family dog, miniature poodle Sport, out into the backyard and throw his ball for him, which he loved. Now in retirement I could throw him his ball any time. I even became convinced that Sport was aware that Master was being around much more often now, much to Sport's delight!
Holiday luster loss. I haven't noted all that many negatives in retirement so far, but it could be argued that maybe this is one of them. Since being retired, I had come to notice over the years that the holiday seasons, especially Thanksgiving and Christmas, had started to become a bit less exciting and envigorating than when I was working. I realized that when I was working the arrival of the holidays meant time off from work, one of the charms of the holiday seasons. But now that every day was "time off from work" as it were, the holidays had maybe lost one of their attractions. They're still great, but maybe not quite in the same way as when I was working.
Occasional events that remind you of just how great retirement is. Here's an example that certainly demonstrates that. A few years ago, one chilly, rainy January morning I woke up about 4AM and simply could not get back to sleep. So I got up and went out to the kitchen to get and drink a glass of milk, to get myself drowsy. I didn't even turn on the kitchen light, just opening the refrigerator door and using that light to find and take out the milk jug. Then, standing there in the darkness, and after taking a few sips, i walked over to the window and looked out toward the streetlights on my street, seeing the silver outline of the falling rain in the lights. The street was deserted. But then, a few seconds later, a car went by, lights on, windshield wipers going whup-whup-whup, and quickly disappeared down the street. "Oh my," I thought to myself, "there's some fellow who had to get up at maybe 3AM this morning, gobble a quick breakfast, get hastily dressed, then go out into this chilly, rainy night, get into his car, and drive through all this mess to some early morning job or something. And what do I have to do? Why I have to finish my milk, walk back to the bedroom, my warm, dry, dark bedroom, get back into bed, pull the covers up over my head, and go back to sleep." Which I did.
Yes, retirement does indeed have its pleasant moments.
So that's just a few points, but maybe of some help to know about, in case they do appear in another's retirement experience.
Again, if this topic reminds any of you of similar "unanticipateds," please do tell about them below.