Living Richly in Retirement-Moving as the Mood Strikes

In a previous post, I talked about the fact that in retirement (or else where), you can have most anything you want.  You just cannot have it all at the same time.  Today it occurred to me that in retirement, you can also DO everything you want-within reason. More importantly, you can do what you want when you want.  This, to me, is one of the most important advantages of retirement.

Today, I got out of bed, kicked up the heat and returned to bed with my morning beverage and laptop. Since it’s Friday, I did a quick run down the street to what must surely be one of the last yard sales of the season.  After this, I went into my sewing room.  Since then, I’ve done nothing but cut fabric. Oh sure, I made a couple bathroom breaks and grabbed some lunch.  At four thirty I did a half an hour of chair aerobics.  Basically though, my entire day was spent doing this one thing-by choice. No dishes have been washed. I honestly forgot to get anything out for dinner. I have done, literally, nothing else. I honestly don’t know when I will return to my sewing room. Oh, I know it has to be eventually.  After all, I’m sewing things to sell as well as Christmas gifts.  I’ll get there though, when the mood strikes.

Tomorrow, I have no idea what I will do. I know that I will get up when I feel like it. I also know that I have a church obligation (a Thanksgiving in gathering) that will require me being at church for all services this weekend (four total). I know that sometime between now and Monday, I need to reread a summary of the movie Life is Beautiful (which I have seen and refuse to watch again, even for a grade). I also know that I need to come up with a crock pot dinner for Sunday as we do as little as possible on Sundays. Other than that, I have no plans.  This doesn’t mean that I will do nothing. It only means that I haven’t planned or decided what I will do. 

Some people feel the need for structure in retirement. How much depends on the person. some retirees set alarms, and have a regular daily schedule.  That’s not me. Other than meals and scheduled appointments, I don’t have a daily schedule-I play it by ear. Again, this doesn’t mean I do nothing, or that I sit on the couch watching classic movies (although I might do that, and right now it sounds like fun).  It just means that I allow my mood, the weather, energy levels and the full moon to guide me day to day. This is where I add that yes, I’m a widow and live alone. However, my husband was also a free spirit and I don’t know that I would be MUCH more scheduled if he were here. I’ll also admit that I don’t need to go out of the house for additional income-I found a way to do that mainly from home.   Since many retirees need to add income somehow, obviously that creates a scheduling need. If that situation changes-I’ll work with it.

I have many things in life that I do. I quilt many hours a week (for fun and money), I cook and can when the mood strikes. I read voraciously. I enjoy travel and the planning of that travel. I write on occasion. I’m learning to take good pictures. I buy things and resell them on line. I watch TV on occasion (give me Homeland and Top Chef, please). I volunteer (some of which is scheduled and some of which is done at home). I work on my house and yard-at my own pace.  Obviously there are many more thing I’ve missed here.  The point of all this is that I get things done, without a schedule or much planning.

Admittedly I am able to do this because my income stream is managed from home, and because I have an avid interest in everything I am involved in, even my small businesses. There are certainly disadvantages to turning hobbies into businesses.  The advantage lies in the ability to make the business part of your routine, to weave it in and out of your life, at home or on the road.

It’s true that there are some situations where loose structure is required (thinking primarily of travel, church commitments, or when it’s my turn to host the Christmas party).  I try and control those situations as much as possible. It’s also true that I can live this kind of life because of certain things I do, such as stock up shopping (I can, if I choose, avoid stores for a long time-with the exception of a produce and milk run).

I know that this way of living is not for everyone.  Wanting or needing structure or repetition is understandable, and different people function differently.  For me though, to paraphrase Scarlett-“I’ll decide what to do tomorrow-tomorrow”.

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