(Celebrating my birthday in Hawaii this week: I'm calling it my Hawaii Five-O)
I fear I have chased someone away from retirement with this blog. Which is kind of funny because some people have accused me of painting too rosy a picture of retirement here. I do think it’s pretty rosy, so it’s probably true that my picture is rosier than say a blogger that doesn’t think retirement is very rosy. It’s especially hard not to paint a rosy picture today, as I enjoy my morning coffee on a lanai in Hawaii overlooking the ocean.
But I received an email a couple of weeks ago from a new reader that binge read my blog. She sat down and read the whole thing from beginning to end. By the way, I love it when someone writes me to tell me that they sat down and read my whole blog from beginning to end. It makes me think that if I wrote a book about retirement, someone might actually read it.
In any case I loved the email, even though she told me that I might have scared her away from retirement. Because really, that’s great if you figure out before you actually retire, that you weren’t quite ready for it. And especially great if I helped you realize that. She is 44 years old, so she has a lot of years left to decide retirement might be right some time down the road.
The thing that scared her was that it seems like, from my blog, that I don’t get anything done in retirement. She fears that things like laundry, cleaning, gardening, and working out, things that she currently manages to squeeze into her 60-70 hour work week, will expand to fill whole days in retirement. She’s read many other retirement blogs that talk about slowing down and putting things off until tomorrow. She worries about that part too.
I get it, because it’s mostly true. But then why do I feel like I still don’t have enough hours in the day to do everything I want to do? And also, why do I feel like my house still isn’t clean enough and my garden isn’t manicured enough? And why haven’t I posted to my blog since November 25th? Maybe I’m actually accomplishing more than meets the Internet?
Start with the week after my last blog post, which I wrote instead of practicing piano, cleaning my house or tending my garden. First we drove to LA to visit my husband’s family for the holiday. We spent Thanksgiving night at my sister-in-law’s house. Then we packed up and moved to our friends’ house for leftovers and movie night, an annual tradition. My friend Steve is a member of the Academy of Motion Pictures, so we get choose from stacks of movies, some of which haven’t even been released yet. Oh yeah, and did I mention he has a really, really nice wine cellar? But I digress.
After lunch and a hike the next day, we headed to my parents-in-law's for a quick rest and then headed out to dinner. On the way back up north the following day, we spent a night in Santa Barbara and then got a tour of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo from our friends’ daughter, arriving back home to our still-dirty house with the still-overgrown garden on Monday night.
Still no time for cleaning, gardening, piano playing, internet surfing, or posting to my blog, the next day I had a webinar, then a conference call, then a meeting in San Francisco--all for my new volunteer job bringing Obamacare to the people. Leaving Wednesday, the only day left that week to practice piano, to cram for my piano lesson that evening.
Thursday I spent the day on the campus of San Francisco City College talking to students about signing up for health insurance. Did I mention it was 48 degrees and we were outside all day? At least it wasn’t raining. Friday I had an audit committee meeting at my other volunteer job, followed by a holiday luncheon for the team, followed by time for a quick workout before going to the neighbors’ house for a Christmas party.
Sunday I spent the whole day (now only 46 degrees—but still not raining) staffing a Covered California health insurance exchange table at a holiday street fair on the main drag of my little town. Did I mention it was 46 degrees? I got home just in time to change my clothes and run up to San Francisco to join friends for the first of my birthday celebration dinners.
While I did manage to sneak in a workout most days that week, here is a list of the things that remain undone: housecleaning, gardening, internet-surfing, TV watching, book reading, and piano playing (except that one day of cramming). I have no idea what is happening in the news, I have no idea what is going on in my friends’ Facebook lives, and I have no idea what is going on with all my favorite bloggers. In the hours before we left for Hawaii, I did manage to do a load of laundry (although I seem to have turned all my white items gray), and pack for the trip without forgetting anything of major importance.
So I guess the point is, if you really want to get things done, don’t retire.
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