Yesterday I got an email from my parents who are vacationing in South Beach, Florida. They are having a great time staying in a friend's beautiful new condo for a couple weeks. This alone is shocking, because they are not the type to like to stay in one place on vacation. The even more surprising revelation was that they actually enjoyed sleeping in on their first day, lounging around the condo, and eventually getting dressed and out by noon.
Two years ago, Doug and I spent a month in Manhattan. Every night we were out late and every morning we slept in late. We lounged around the apartment each day, reading the paper, writing blog posts, eating breakfast, and maybe hitting the gym before showering and getting out of there by noon or so.
We ate lunch at the local sandwich place before setting out on our adventure for the day. Yes, adventure, not adventures. We would pick ONE thing to do each day, a museum, a walk along the river or in Central Park, a concert or a play, or a stroll across the Brooklyn Bridge. One thing. We would come home for a nap and a shower before going out for dinner and maybe some jazz or comedy.
It was a perfect lifestyle. I relished it, enjoyed every slow moment. I knew this meant that I would be very happy in retirement. That month of New York City living was a little preview, I thought, into my future retired life, and I couldn't wait to get started.
So what's different about that vacation and my real retirement? Guilt. Did I feel guilty for sleeping late back then? Did I feel badly about myself for not getting dressed before noon each day? Did I beat myself up every day for not accomplishing anything? No, no, and no!
Retirement is much like that vacation lifestyle, I sleep late, am slow to start my day, and have learned to have only one or two things on my agenda for the day. But I still feel, even after 14 months of retirement, that I'm goofing off in the morning and I really should get moving a little earlier. I have come to accept that this is how I operate, but guilt seems to be a permanent byproduct.
When you are on vacation, it feels decadent to live such a lifestyle. After all those long working hours you deserve it. But in retirement, there's nothing really you are escaping from, so instead of a decadent well-earned pleasure, it just kind of feels pathetic to still be in your pajamas at noon.
A couple times a week, my early-to-rise husband meets a friend at our house to go for a bike ride. I am careful to find out what time they will arrive so I can change in to real clothes, or at least work-out clothes, to show that I do have the intention of getting something done today.
This is probably what people worry about when they think they will be lazy in retirement. But shouldn't it just be like those weeks in Miami, or that month in New York? Shouldn't I just be relishing the fact that this is my life, and focusing on how exciting that is, you know, without the guilt part?