(In honor of our San Francisco Giants' second win of the Series tonight (update: winning the World Series--congrats Giants!), I am republishing this post from June 10, 2010. Thank goodness I learned to love baseball earlier this year at Yankee Stadium. Just in the nick of time!)
What do baseball and retirement have in common? Both can be boring if you don’t know how to enjoy them.
I used to hate baseball. I thought it was boring. The last straw was a San Francisco Giants game, probably 15 years ago, a night game at Candlestick Park. I haven’t been that cold since, well, ever. Candlestick was not a great place to watch baseball, and if you didn’t really love the game, a miserable one. And I hated baseball.
But no more. I went to a Yankees game on Monday and was converted. I realized, basking in the sunshine and the energy of New York’s fans, baseball is a lot like retirement.
Slow does not mean boring. I like to watch hockey. It’s an exciting game with non-stop action, and ironically, quite graceful. I always thought baseball was boring because there wasn’t as much action.
Just like retirement, baseball is not about non-stop action, it’s about anticipation.
Bottom of the 7th, Yankees leading 2-1, bases loaded. Alex Rodriguez steps up to bat. The fans start cheering him on. The first pitch, a ball. We wait while the pitcher goes through his ritual. Second pitch, a curve ball, A-Rod swings and misses. We wait again. The potential is there, we all are on the edge of our seats anticipating the possibility of a grand slam. The pitcher goes through his ritual again, two more balls, two more rituals. He throws the fifth pitch, crack, a home run! We go wild. We jump up and down. We cheer and scream. It wasn’t only exciting during the action, the lead up was just as thrilling.
Just like retirement, you might not be doing something exciting every minute of every day but the anticipation of that next thing is part of the fun, part of the joy. The joy of each day unfolding, of finding out what’s next.
It’s really more about who you are hanging out with. It was so nice to hang out with Doug all day, engrossed the game. He explained all the stats to me, told me when to watch out for the runner stealing second, and filled me in on some of the fan traditions.
Just like retirement, it’s not so much what you’re doing but who you’re doing it with.
It doesn’t take a lot of money to enjoy oneself. Some people were sitting way below us on the first and second levels. Some were eating catered lunches in luxury boxes. Some had arrived in BMW’s. We took the subway, sat in the cheap seats, and bought our own hotdogs. There’s no way they were having more fun than we were.
Just like retirement, sure, maybe more money means things like more luxurious vacations. But it doesn’t mean more fun.
I’ve spent the last three weeks on a house swap in Manhattan, and this week we’re in beautiful home in Vermont, built in 1790. This afternoon, I will sip Sauvignon Blanc by the pool while gazing at the verdant view, past the thick of maple and locust trees, over the Connecticut River to New Hampshire.
Retirement isn’t non-stop action, it is life at a slower pace, with time to anticipate, to appreciate. Like baseball, it’s a time to just bask in the sunshine and enjoy the energy of those around you. It doesn’t matter how expensive your seats were.
This is a post from Retirement: A Full-Time Job