I am finding it harder to write fresh thoughts about retirement these days. I attribute this to what Ram at Retirement Experiment, discussed last week: Hedonic Adaptation.
Now that I've been enjoying the good life for over a year, it just feels normal, like it's always been my life. It's hard to contrast it with my old, working life, because it just feels like I've always been living this way. My old life feels like ancient history.
The lack of stress over to-do lists, the freedom to behave spontaneously, the lack of HURRY in my life, I admit, I don't have the sense of awe over these advantages anymore. It's just the way I live, and so I tend not to appreciate the stark contrast from my old working life as much as I did in the past. My working life feels like it was so long ago, almost like it was someone else's life.
Every so often though, I do realize another benefit of retirement. On Saturday, I got a haircut that is so insanely short, I really want to minimize any excursions out in public until it has had a chance to grow out a bit. Like maybe a year from now. I was so happy this morning when I realized that in my previous life I would have had to get out of bed and face an entire office full of people as a bald woman. Instead, I just rolled over and hoped another hour of sleep would somehow accelerate the hair growth process.
(And lest you do not believe that it's truly that bad, I asked my husband to take a picture of said hair to put on my Facebook page, in order to give my friends some fair warning, and he said "You do NOT want to put a picture of the way you look right now out on the INTERNET!")
Now that we are retired, the big challenge is to arrange the maximum amount of travel for the minimum amount of money. We did a pretty good job last year, taking advantage of deals to arrange a few almost-free trips to Vegas, and also road-tripping to Reno and Santa Barbara. Some generous friends purchased a vacation home on Molokai and invited us to join them, not once, but twice last year. And another big-hearted family included us in their escape to a luxury vacation-club villa on the Big Island of Hawaii. We enjoyed the jet-setting life on a Priceline budget.
This year, I decided to list our home on a vacation-swap website and see where that takes us. Just by telling friends of our plans, we've already got a couple swaps in the works to San Francisco and Santa Barbara, and I haven't even listed the home for exchange yet.
The most creative swap this year, I think, will be our just-finished will-work-for-wine vacation. We enjoyed the accoutrements of a resort-like vacation, in a beautifully landscaped, gated community in Southern California. Our suburban resort included tennis courts and hiking trails, as well as our own lush back yard complete with outdoor fireplace and waterfall spilling from the Jacuzi into the pool.
This four-bedroom villa served as home-base for the week, giving us a chance to reconnect with some old friends we hadn't seen in years, and partake in a zany-fun Passover Seder with family and new friends. We were even lucky enough to be in town when our own San Jose Sharks were there, and caught the game against the LA Kings at Staples Center. (Although we were not lucky enough to catch a winning game.)
As if that weren't enough fun already, we were greeted upon arrival at this lodging, with our friends' version of the hotel mini-bar: an extravagant offering of luscious wines. Fifteen bottles to be exact--even we could not make it through all those in just a week, although we made a valiant attempt.
The explanation for this swap: two doggies, three kitties, and one fish. Our stay included daily evening strolls with the dogs, unlimited kitty cuddling (for those that would cuddle), and an occasional peek at the fish to make sure he wasn't floating on his back.
But the best part of this "working" vacation? Despite the availability of several huge-screen TVs, we spent the entire week without watching even a nano-second of talking-heads-news shows. No wonder I felt so good at the end of the week!
And just when I was wondering how we were going to land our next vacation, this same family asked us to join them again at their luxurious vacation club, this time in Tahoe. Not a bad start to the second year of retirement.
Ok, I'm just going to come right out with it. The absolute most disappointing thing about retirement is that I weigh exactly the same as I did one year ago when I retired.
Even more disappointing than the shattered illusion of the romantic retirement, is the shattered illusion of the skinny retirement. Before I retired, I thought the only thing holding me back from the body of my dreams was work. If only I didn't have to spend eight hours a day at my desk, I could be in the best shape of my life.
Well, it wasn't my job keeping me from the body of my dreams after all. Turns out it's me. I hate running. Retirement does not make you like things you don't like. I used to like pushups, until I started the 100 Pushups Challenge (100 pushups in 6 weeks). I made it to week three, I don't know how many times.
And eating. When you have more time to have fun, you have more time to eat. It's as simple as that. Speaking of fun, martinis and steak are way more fun than Perrier and salad.
I'd like to say that I've let this one go, that retirement has somehow cured me from this desire to be really fit. But it would be a lie. I still get on that scale every day, hoping something mysterious happened, and I have a feeling I'll still be writing about this one next year, when I reflect on my second year of retirement.