Life After Retirement

October 24, 2012


My story can be called before and after retirement. Or it can be called the two sides of retirement. Or it can be called being foolish after retirement. Of course, from the very inauspicious beginning of this story, one can guess that I am a confused retiree.

The year leading into retirement was full of papers to fill out, pension and benefit meetings to attend, plans to make, anticipation of life without the 4:00 A.M. alarm, and more especially the life of leisure with money, without sweat.

Time and money is certainly a winning combination!

Well thank God everything went well. The pension cheque arrived on time, the “alarm” was turned off permanently, and the life of leisure with money began in earnest.

No Problem! Everything is fine, except two things: Time and money.

TIME: When I was working, I was busy, rushed off my feet eight days per week, 36 hours per day. I had a full time job and a part time job three nights per week. I was tired, but happy in my busy life.

The first few weeks into retirement I cleaned the house, cleared out the cluttered closets, visited the older family members who I had neglected for months, if not for years. I took a trip overseas, returned home and began the process of “settling” down. What exactly “settling down” means I am not certain, but life in retirement had to be different, didn’t it?

I bought a lap-top, got internet connection, and began taking lessons on how to function in cyber space. I kept my part time job at the college and my membership at the two theatre companies I was associated with for the past twenty years. I read two, sometimes three books per week, plus the newspapers and a few magazines every week. I wrote a book, and began writing articles. Full Days!

Life was wonderful, no pressure!

One day at the beginning of September, in the middle of the day, I was stretched out on the couch with nothing to do, and doing nothing. Suddenly this feeling of guilt came over me that I was lazy, doing nothing in the middle of the day, wasting my time and being some kind of sybarite who would self-destruct for my sinful slothfulness.

I jumped off the couch, roused out of my lethargy in the utmost feeling of guilt. Why? I don’t know. I am retired. But from that day to this, whenever I am at a loose end, I always feel guilty about lying on the couch with nothing to do.

My family and friends call me after nine at night. I think I trained them that way when I was working. When people call me during the day I feel guilty about spending valuable “day” time talking on the phone when I could be doing big, wonderful things indoors or out.

That, people, is my problem with TIME.

MONEY: When I was working I would go out and buy anything I wanted. Clothes, jewelry, household stuff, whatever was needed to make life comfortable and pleasant in a poor middle-class sort of way, I would buy. The supermarket was no problem. My pantry over flowed with sale items. I had boxes, tins, and bottles to last months. If my stomach wanted, it received.

After I retired, I found myself grumbling about every penny. I read all the prices on the menu in the restaurants. I checked the prices on every box, tin or bottle in the market, and began comparison shopping. I began to visit the $ stores. I stopped buying clothes and certainly no jewelry, and apart from new towels and bed linen, the poor house must now manage with what it already has.

Gas for the car is a problem. The other day the red light came on before I pulled in at the gas station. My penny pinching took on new meaning this week when I bought new sleep-wear on Monday and returned it to the store on Wednesday.

TIME and MONEY: Retirees live on fixed income, and sometimes it can be scary because fixed income imposes limits.

However, sometimes these crazy notions about wasting time and spending money do drive me crazy.  Sometimes I laugh at myself for being silly and ludicrous. But am I being silly and ludicrous? As a retiree with no further income on the horizon, how careful does one have to be?

Well, this is my retiree story about time and money. For the time being my days are full with very little time to waste, and enough fixed income to buy food and gas for the car.


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