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July 18, 2010


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Syd I agree, sometimes we forget that we are human beings not human doings.

After spending years at the grind sometimes it is nice to just "be". I know I'm looking forward to it:)


For me, the big change to my life in the way you described in this post occurred in 2001 when I went from working full-time to working part-time via a mostly telecommuting arrangement.

That big change reduced the number of commuting days per week from 5 to one. It was in that year when I began my volunteer work with the first of several area schools as well as my evening dancing hobby I had not done in 13 years.

I already knew I would be pursuing those two activities when I drastically changed my work arrangement. The volunteer work required some administrative work but because I started my new work arrangement in the summer I had plenty of lead time to get that set up. My evening dancing was seasonal, too, but I could have resumed that at any point as well.

I was able to continue these two activities even after the telecommute gig ended in 2003 although it was more difficult trying to juggle them with 2 or 3 trips to my office every week. When I retired in 2008, I was then able to add one more night of dancing and more easily schedule the volunteer work with area schools, both welcome changes but not nearly as significant as starting them in 2001.


Love this post Syd! Exactly my experience three years into my early retirement. What a joy to often just be ... I initially felt as though I had to do tons of things, now I'm almost recalibrated ... :-)

Regards, Dennis


Another great article! Doing what you want and enjoy is not wasting time. I look forward to the day when I retire "waste" my time.


Very well put! I am not yet retired but beginning my planning NOW. I have actually been "practicing retirement" for the past 8 months - left a crazy job to get some downtime and gather myself for the rest of my life. What I find most rewarding about this time is when I have nothing that has to be done - nothing on the calendar except an occasional lunch, no reports due or meetings to prepare for, time to reflect and enjoy the beauty all around me. I find myself reading all kinds of books, catching up with friends and family, gardening (tomatoes are about a week away and looking GOOD!), and walking the neighborhood or nearby beaches. Downtime is a wonderful thing. And to keep my mind sharp, I have been reading up and experimenting with all kinds of crazy social media out there. Even started a blog to do a bit of writing, something I was always interested in as a kid. Thanks for the summary and keep posting! Dave

Retired Syd

@Dave: We're a little bit behind you on the tomatoes--I'm thinking a couple more weeks. I took a look at your blog--I hope you'll keep it up, it's great to read your thoughts. And I agree, being near a great Thai place is very important, as is being able to get your hands on California wines. And GO SHARKS!

Sandra L.

Syd, I am glad to see someone else who is thinking the way I do. Like Dave, I think I am practicing retirement, though not voluntarily. I lost my job 13 months ago. People keep telling me I should go back to school, or volunteer, or whatever. The thing is, I don't want to commit to anything right now. I like being able to sleep as much/as long as I like (right now I am a night owl, avoiding high daytime heat). When inspiration strikes, I want to be able to paint or draw. I like reading what I want to read, not what I need for class. I've started doing two crossword puzzles a day. And I'm learning that it's OK to "do nothing."
Thanks for a most thoughtful post!

Retired Syd

@Sandra: I'm with you, don't commit to anything yet. I've been retired for 2 1/2 years and just now feel ready for something like a volunteer or part-time consulting gig. It took this long--you need that time to decompress! Enjoy it guilt free!

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