Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Working at Not Working...a Day in the Life of a Retiree

It has occurred to me that retirement is not quite what it's cracked up to be. There's a reason the word "tire" is in there and it's not as it suggests. The difference between being a working stiff`and being a near-life's-end stiff is that you still work, only you don't get paid for it. You're allowed to get caught up on that all-important and ever-looming housework. You get to exercise in an attempt to make up for years of bodily neglect because instead you once dared to raise children and get an occasional bit of sleep. You are also allowed to offer your services and share your talents with local organizations and charities, free of charge. I suppose it at least gives you something to do between doctor's appointments.

Hubby, a more recent (one month only) retiree commented on this as well. "I work harder now than before I retired." He just painted the deck, escorted a mountain of trash to the curb, greened up the lawns and is in the process of writing a sermon for next Sunday. He has thought out his volunteer projects already.

So how does a day in the life of a retiree play out? Here's an example.

Yesterday, I was up bright and early to meet my newspaper column deadline. Did I mention that I get no renumeration for this? At least, there's been none that I've noticed as yet. I've created several months of memorable submissions about about clutter, technology, adult children and dog poop. I suppose seeing my drivel in print with a photo of my huge head atop should be payment enough. After all, it allowed me to cross something off my bucket list.

***Note to self...all other readers ignore - There's definitely some kind of connection between my themes. I've just noticed for the first time and should further investigate my subliminal motivation.

After finally completing yet another pointless piece of writing, I went walking...one hour daily with my friend. We usually walk at a pace of about five to six km per hour. Yesterday, we walked mostly uphill (how does that happen?), through ever hovering construction dirt, towering weeds and a soggy parkette. When we were finished, I took my wet feet and headed to Curves to meet yet another friend. Half an hour of workout there, followed by a trip to the track to complete some laps and I went home to make lunch. Of course, this meal had to be nutritious, unlike the rushed pre-retirement offerings. It also needed to be fast. The fabulous festive special occasion feasts I used to create for family and friends are now a rarity. Fish, spinach and wild rice donned our plates...yum.

The real fun began in the afternoon. I arrived at Petticoat Lane, our hospital thrift shop, where I get to enjoy the company of some of the nicest people...volunteers and appreciative customers alike. After a quick look around the shop to make sure I didn't miss out on any bargains, I began working. Four hours flew by. Since I'm one of the younger volunteers, I got to make the fifteen trips up and down a ladder, adorning bald styrofoam heads with stylish hats, measuring art pieces for customers and shelving stuffed toys out of reach of chocolate covered fingers. I even had time to parade around the store, test driving as it were, two strands of pink pearls, long feathered earrings and a straw hat. I purchased only the hat, determining that it was most suited to my new "style" (see blog "Old Woman, New Look" April 25, 2013). Two dollars well spent. My one attempt at a practical joke on our team leader went awry as my Scottish co-worker and I couldn't contain our laughter. Oh well, there'll always be another Monday.

After a productive day, I went home, had a sandwich, washed the kitchen floor, did some laundry, cleaned the sinks and countertops, hemmed some pants and watched the Blue Jays. They actually won the game although I was asleep by the time they caught up from their 7-0 deficit.

So today is another day. What's on the agenda? So far not too much...the usual walking and gym. More housework and meal planning since my daughter will be here for the rest of the week. Flower planting, changing linens, ironing, dusting, grocery shopping, cooking, gift wrapping, dog walking and  bathing (see Dog Blog Nov. 8, 2012) . All in all, a pretty easy day in the life of this retiree.

Perhaps I'll even have time for a nap...or a blog. 

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