Receive email updates from Better After 50.
A password will be e-mailed to you.

I laughed when an acquaintance asked me that after learning I’d recently left paid work. Her semi-horrified look summed up a lot of the funny reactions and assumptions that I have encountered regarding this life change.

Each retired person takes his or her own approach, but here’s what I do:

  • Sleep a little more—about half an hour longer.
  • Be better informed. I read part of the local newspaper and New York Times every day, and I have time to read blogs that interest me.
  • Get more exercise. When my only free time was in the evening, I often had to choose between working out or relaxing—now I can work out during the day and relax at night—or vice versa.
  • Read more books. Since I’m a readaholic, I actually have to limit myself to an hour in the morning and an hour or so in the evening.
  • Take classes. Like European History from 1300 to 1800 and Drawing. Not for credit. Just because I want to know.
  • Lose myself in a project. Say I want to make a complicated recipe, research plants for a shade garden, or figure out how to make my own scented lotion—I can. I have time.
  • Volunteer more. I continue to tutor immigrants, but now I’m also writing marketing communications for a nonprofit. That’s work I enjoy, so it feels like fun.
  • Travel more. Our calendar quickly books up with inexpensive weekend driving trips like camping, staying at a friend’s lake home, and visiting family.
  • Write more. I’m able to spend more time on my blogs, personal essays, and short memoirs. Finally, I have the time to write to my heart’s content. I love this.
  • See more of my friends. I love this, too. Most weeks I have coffee, lunch, or drinks with a friend.

What I Don’t Do

  • Spend more time on housework. There are WAY more interesting pastimes.
  • Cook if I don’t feel like it. Instead, we just pull something out of the freezer.
  • Become cranky and set in my ways—yuck!!
  • Play bingo. Um, even my 93-year-old mother didn’t want to do that.
  • Watch the golf channel, or really, any daytime TV.
  • Look for Early Bird Specials.
  • Obsess about coupons.
  • Think about performance reviews. Now my performance reviews come down to this: Was it fun? If so, I’m using my time well. If not, well, there’s always tomorrow.

Ellen Shriner is one of the founders of WordSisters, a shared blog (wordsisters.wordpress.com).

Looking for what you might want to do at your Next Stage?  Sign up for for SHE DID IT/Boston at Babson College on May 17.

Don’t miss out on any BA50 stories!
Click here to subscribe.

What Do You DO All Day? Explaining Retirement To The Uninitiated was last modified: by

Join the Conversation

comments