Countless times, I have been asked, “So, now that you are retired what do you do with your time?” Depending upon the circumstances, source, tone of voice, and my mood, I provide a variety of answers.

 The quick and humorous: 

“When I get up in the morning I’m not sure what I’m going to do. But, by the end of the day I’m only half done.” OR “Well, just tying my shoes takes much longer that it used to.” (a lot of truth in that one) 

If I’m trapped in the large-party-of-strangers type of socializing and the source is being condescending:

“Well, when I wake up in the morning I turn over on my right side. Then using my right arm, I push myself up to a sitting position while swinging my feet to the floor where my slippers await…” By the time I get to opening the toothpaste, the questioner wanders off. 

There are the insistent types who seem jealous of my perceived freedom. To them I would like to say (but don’t because it sounds rude): “Why? Do you want some of my time?”

That thought brings me to the theme of a science fiction book that I once fantasized about writing. In a dystopian society, time is the ultimate treasure. The rich seek more and the poor sell theirs to feed their families. The Time Exchange is the busiest place in town. I never did get around to making the time or effort to write that book. 

Occasionally, the question comes from someone who is contemplating retirement with genuine trepidation. With consideration that we are all different, I sit down and discuss the shift in life style that comes with more flexibility. The opportunity to expand hobbies, travel more, or get to know people better, is exciting. Many of us are busier now than when we had a rigid work/home pattern. For the older generation: Women, who wear many hats during their lives, have an easier transition. Men, who have spent 40 or more years in the same job, have a harder time.  Some of us try new things. Quite a few years ago, one of my friends started the TV station here at our CCRC. This was after a long career in sales with no technical experience.  Now that was a completely new (although unpaid) career!  

Recently, I have heard the question in a more intelligent form: “Now that you are retired, do you have a routine or do you wing it every day?”

Yes and Yes.  There is still routine in: doctor and dentist appointments, meals, exercise, shopping, committee meetings, seasonal activities, banking hours, classes, income taxes, bills, reading/watching the news, birthdays, returning library books, and even entertainment has a schedule.

If your definition of retirement is just to stop going to your job everyday while all of the other aspects of your life remain the same, then disappointment may be the result.  However, transitioning to a new life style can be exciting, rewarding, surprising, and comforting. 

Don’t forget!  I’m blogging!  That’s new and on schedule. 

Betty Ago


Bernie is a real person who resides in one of our Brookdale communities. The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Brookdale Senior Living.

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