Thoughts on “What Do You Do?”

I love the serendipity when different bloggers begin talking about a similar question or life element.   Recently, there’s been a few talking about answering the question for soon-to-be retirees – what do you do everyday in retirement?  Or how do you answer the commonly asked question “What do you do?” if you are no longer working? And another who asked: “Are you living your best retirement possible?” I love that last question used the word ‘your’ versus ‘the’, indicating that the author understands everyone’s ideal retirement is different. Looking at how others are living their retirement should be for inspiration not replication!

So this blog is a snapshot of what I do – how I’m living my retirement days – for inspiration.

One blogger talked about a way to really understanding where you spend your energy – your time and your mind-space – is to log it.  Capture a few days or weeks of reality – What are all the activities you’re doing this week/this month?  List the major commitments, minor commitments, planning, basic life errands/chores, time wasters (social media time suck!), and quiet time. Being a planner and a list maker, I could easily look back over a month to see what I did.

By having a detailed account of where you spend your time, you can also look to see if it is in line with what’s really important to you. Are you making conscious choices, or defaulting into activities because you think you should be doing them? It’s not that you will stop doing something, but you might adjust expectations on outcomes. If you only spend 5 hours a week on a project, when realistically will it get done?  Every “yes” to time spent on one activity is a “no” to time spent on another.

What did my monthly log look like? It’s a blend of activities that actually match my life vision!  But I also noticed that it is not necessarily balanced in the right level of time spent.  I knew this month was going to be high on consulting work, so I was pleasantly surprised I kept up many other things on my life vision, even at reduced levels.

  • New Home Activities – lots of time spent on this huge life changing activity (our rightsizing moment) – home inspection, contractor discussions, packing, donations gathered and dropped off, the closing, picking out paint colors.
  • Consulting Work – a lot this month – besides 5 full day trips, multiple hours on many other days.  Too much and something I need to address going forward.
  • Fun with Friends – multiple dinners out, a couple of coffee dates and walks, attended 2 open houses, Leading Ladies charity event.
  • Time with Tim (hubby) – besides dinners with friends & the house things, also did our favorite specialty store shopping, date night Playhouse, and supported his eye surgery days.
  • Me Time – daily journaling; daily crossword; blog reading & writing (not as much as desired); physical therapy; weekly Zumba & yoga (most weeks)
  • Caretaking – shopping excursions, issue resolutions
  • Planning – planning activities with friends, planning The Move, planning the upcoming Big Trip, planning swim lessons
  • Errands/Chores – gift shopping, finances update, bills, spring yard work, spring cleaning, and car service.

One thing I’ve noticed is life in retirement means no two weeks or months are the same. May was a heavy-work month while June will be a light-work month. That’s the consulting world if you’re part-timing it. But also, the seasonal changes mean doing different things and there are always new things from my possibilities list to plan and execute.   In retirement, I am trying new experiences, building new relationships, exploring new possibilities.   I’m also working on not feeling guilty if I spend the afternoon doing the crossword, taking a nap, reading a book, or writing a blog.

Someone once said the answer to “what do you do everyday in retirement?” is … “whatever I want to!”   And when those activities are linked to what’s important to you (your life vision, your life purpose), retirement life is pretty darn fun.

 

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7 thoughts on “Thoughts on “What Do You Do?”

  1. I’m still in the “whatever I want” stage. Although I do have certain things that are required of me even in retirement, I can do them, for the most part, on my terms… or my husband’s and my terms (yes, I actually give him a say in certain things… as long as he doesn’t push it). 🙂

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  2. It’s been just about three years of retirement for me and I can confidently say that no two days have been the same which is just fine with me. Like you, my days are a mix of “must do’s” and want to’s”, though I still have yet to lie in my hammock and I am not practicing golf anywhere near as much as I would like to do. Also like you, I don’t compare myself to anyone in a competitive sense. I seek tips and inspiration from lots of places, but in the end, I do my own thing and I’m content with where I am.

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    1. The past few days have been perfect for laying in the hammock – hot & humid. You need to try it. 🙂 Of course, I’ve been busy working on our new (old) house. A lazy afternoon nap sounds so lovely!

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  3. I agree with you! It’s never the same from week to week but that’s what makes it all fun. I like the idea of logging it and being aware of the time sucking activities, the time just gets away! I try to ensure I get my walk or run in each day and bogging is taking more time than I had to give i when i worked full time. I’m surprised at how fast the day can go,,, Great post!

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  4. I agree. No two weeks in retirement are the same. Even with regular clubs and activities, retirement days/weeks/months vary incredibly. I absolutely LOVE that part!

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    1. I had hoped to find a new rhythm as I like security and patterns. So having this level of variability has taken awhile to get used to. I settle myself with schedules. And don’t panic if I decide to change the schedule at the last minute. This week had a bit of that as new (old) house things didn’t go as planned… we are up to trip #15 to the hardware store (combined hubby and me). Not sure I can say I love that part!

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