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January 21, 2013


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Diane N.

Very interesting observations on accomplishments in retirement. I retired over a year ago, and I'm still getting the hang of it. I have also been chronicling my life in retirement: anewchapter-diane.blogspot.com.

tom sightings

Love your title ... and your photo! I accomplished # 2 and # 4. But I agree with your basic premise that generally people won't accomplish things in retirement that they weren’t able to accomplish while they were still working -- at least not without a major commitment of time and effort.

Barb@LIving Richly In Retirement

I agree with you! But I have to ask, did you get a new pup or borrow the photo!

Retired Syd

Diane: It does take a little time to get your sea legs, doesn't it? I'll have to go explore your adventures on your blog!

Tom: I've done #2 a million times too, I keep gaining and loosing the same 5 pounds! And I hope to pick off #7 soon too--piano lessons. But it's taken me 5 years to get here!

Barb: That was our Murphy Brown, the very bad beagle. We lost her about 7 years ago. Perhaps if our first dog had been a Labrador, we'd already have another dog by now . . .


I was wondering if you snuck in & took a picture of my Molly. Identical! Though she's a Jack Russell.

Though just semi-retired (I.e. that means I work full time, but have weekends off), the plans I make for the weekend almost always seem to be put off in trade for something fun. Glad to hear I'll get to make that trade more soon. And clearly no remorse! Excellent.


Have to disagree with #4, reading books. I have been doing much more of that since I retired.


I wholeheartedly agree with the theme of this post . . . I'm doing much of what I did prior to retirement, I'm just doing a whole lot more of everything. Including books, deegee, but then again, I was a bookworm before I retired.

And conversely, I'm still avoiding those things I avoided prior to retirement, namely housecleaning and gardening. Having the luxury of more time has not made either one any more appealing whatsoever.

Retired Syd

Ramona: I love that semi-retired comment! I did kind of feel guilty about putting off the not-fun things the first couple years of my retirement. I'm over that now!

deegee: I read a lot more my first year of retirement, then wound up replacing that with a ton of travel every year after that--the kind where you don't have time to sit down and read. I guess the truth is, you can do all the things on the list, just not all at the same time. Maybe you just have to look at it as a cycle through list, you cycle through them from time to time.

Tamara: You don't know how relieved I am to hear that from YOU. Since you are always going a mile a minute, I thought you were accomplishing ALL these things at the same time. Glad it's not just me!

As another wise commenter once posted, you can do anything you want in retirement, just not all at the same time.


Oh, I love this post! I retired on Dec. 5th, and still feel like I've gotten nothing done. I got slammed with a bad cold the following week and haven't caught up since. I like to say that I'm still in work detox mode, but perhaps this is something else entirely. I send out lots of Christmas cards most years, but this year, not a one. Thanks for making me feel a bit less guilty, Syd.

Retired Syd

Diane: When I retired five years ago, I had the same experience of getting sick, but then I kept thinking I was better, only to get it again--for about six weeks! I think it has something to do with the whole adjustment thing.

Actually, I think that detox mode (or as one reader called it, de-working) lasts for about a year. Give it time. The guilt, that lasts longer. I'm done with that now--hopefully you can fast-forward through that part now. Congratulations on your retirement!


Syd - I have both housecleaning and gardening services fees built into my budget. I'd happily give up my eating out budget before I'd go back to cleaning my own home and cutting my own lawn!

My Life In Focus

I had to think about this for a second and then realized you're absolutely right! I'm still doing now what I was exactly doing when I was working, before retirement. In the same increments. I've replaced actual working with my hobbies, which in a sense IS working.
My house is exactly as clean as it was before, same amount of yard work, cooking, reading, TV etc. etc. Same amount of travel!

You just removed an inordinate amount of guilt off my shoulders!

Thank you!


Syd, I agree with deegee, I read a lot more books now than I did before retiring. When I was working I didn't dare read books because it would suck up what little free time I had. Now that isn't a problem, although most of my "reading" has since become audio books because I can do that while taking long walks or working out.

But, unlike you, I have zero interest in travel. Since that's where you choose to put your free time it is hardly surprising that you have less time for other recreational endeavors. But that's the nice thing about being retired: you can do what you want rather than what you must!

Accidental Retiree

Syd, LOVE the beagle. We have 3 beagles, and I recognize that pose very well. I am sorry your beagle experience was one you haven't wanted to repeat just yet. Beagles are not for everyone, that's for sure. Our knuckleheads test our patience daily. But they make me happy daily, too, so I will happily pay the price.

Re: not gettings things done because there is always tomorrow, well, thank you for articulating this. I am glad it is not just me. You got it exactly right, and like Tamara, above, I am even thinking of getting someone in periodically to do some of the housework.

I CAN do it; I just don't WANNA. I'd rather take the dogs to the park for a good long walk and wear them out.

OK, now I gotta go out back and finish whacking at the roses.

Retired Syd

Accidental Retiree: As a fellow beagle owner, you will know what I mean when I say that I loved my little Beagle even though she was very typically Beagle. (You know what I mean, stubborn, willful, trash-eating, food-stealing, basically not interested in pleasing her owner one bit!) But she did provide endless hours of cuddling and happiness too, yes.

I just learned since then, from dog-sitting all my friends' dogs, that you can get all that in a much easier package with a different breed. I think one Beagle in my lifetime is enough. Next time one of those easy dogs!

Anyway doggies over housework--you have your priorities right!

Retired Syd

My Life in Focus: Yes, when people ask me what I do in retirement, I tell them "exactly what I did before retirement, only more of it!"

DGP: Yes, that IS what it's all about, isn't it!


I know one thing I'll be doing more of that I don't do much or enough of now - SLEEP!
(But then we already had that particular conversation...) ;-)


Since I retired, I have zero interest in travel, too. After all those years of comuting, I hate the idea of going places. I have not flown in an airplane since late 2003, the longest stretch in my life. And I don't care if I never fly again. I have made some car trips but none of them more than 4 hours. And I have ridden on those awful commuter trains only once since I retired, the best part!

I used to try to read my books on the commuter trains but they'd put me to sleep (not because they were boring, of course) after 10 or 15 minutes so I did not get much done. And I could not take a chance on the return trip of falling asleep and missing my stop.

On the ther hand, I can take an afternoon nap every day, a great part about being retired.


That is one of the great things about retirement, almost everyone gets to choose what they will be spending their time on. In the six years of full retirement (another six in semi-retirement) I have managed to knock off a few of the things on your list. I also volunteer a couple of days a week.

Everyone has the same 24 hour day. How we choose to use them is up to us. Even though I traveled frequently in the corporate world, I very much enjoy several traveling vacations a year. Most are car vacations where we take our time to see this country.


I think you're right. I'm get about the same amount of things done before I left my job. Of course, taking care of a rambunctious 2 years old took about as much time as my old job did. Life is good though.


Follow-up to Jan. 22nd comments -

Syd: Guilt? What guilt?? Am I supposed to feel guilty??? I don't think so...
No time for that!

Happily, I'm feeling much better-health wise these days. Which is good, because we just made an offer on a house. It's a short sale, so it's going to take a while. First we'll sell my house, then I'll move into his while we get it ready to sell, then we'll move into the new house together! Not sick any more, but getting tired just thinking about all the work to be done.

Also, new house is ex-pen-sive, so I'm glad we didn't blow a bunch of money on the wedding. Thanks for all the advice!


I found your blog after I retired in June at age 49. Some days I feel like I "should" be doing something more but I really don't want to and am just enjoying taking life slow. Glad I found that someone else about my age is going at the same pace.

Retired Syd

Crystal: Here's a little trick I learned yesterday. I got the vacuum cleaner out yesterday but just let it sit there while I goofed off all day. Then when I heard the garage door open (husband arriving home), I started the vacuuming. Now I know Doug doesn't really care what I do all day, but I just feel better if he sees me actually DOING something when he gets home. Silly I know, but there it is.


I laughed when I read this post because this is exactly what is happening to me now that I've retired early. You're right, because "there's always tomorrow" I don't feel the urge to do anything, even though while I was working I kept thinking to myself, "if I weren't working, I'd be doing this or that..." I'm still trying to figure out if that bothers me. One thing I do know for sure, I absolutely do NOT want to work again.


I posted this on Facebook since I write a lot about retirement. With a link back to you.

I do still send real Christmas cards, and I've lost weight twice, 2006 and 2015. I did clean some closets and repack everything about 8 years ago. 3 years into retirement I started pitching all the stuff I didn't throw out when I retired. I did join a book club. No garden and not much house cleaning. Watch more TV. Learned blogging. Received as a gift a lot of Martha Stewart cookbooks--and I do more cooking than I did when I worked, but also go out to eat more. Am saving the world, one baby at a time at PDHC.

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