However, all of the retirees I know are as busy—if not even busier—than we were when we worked for pay. It’s a fundamental mystery of retirement that I have so little free time. Or perhaps I should say “unscheduled” time, because really, I have nothing but free time. But I’m using a lot of it. Having fun.
Now that I can choose whatever I want to do with my time, I’m like a kid in a candy store. There are so many choices: classes, writing, travel, volunteering, two book groups and the associated reading, hanging out with friends, family get-togethers, etc. Why not set a date to make sure it all happens? As a result, I regularly confound my sons and working friends with how booked up I can be.
Here’s how a lot of conversations go:
“You want to stop by on your day off? Great! Oh, wait, I’ve got pottery class that morning.”
“Happy hour? I’d love to, but not that Wednesday—I’ve got Guthrie tickets. How about Thursday instead?”
I get that this is annoying to people who have less flexibility than I do. But if another day works equally well, I’d rather do the original activity I planned and paid for.
Of course, I’ll drop everything when something comes up:
“My car is in the shop. Can you give me a ride?”
“Can you pick me up at the clinic? I’m not supposed to drive after my outpatient procedure.”
For years, other people controlled my schedule. The magic of retirement is that now most of what I’m doing I’ve chosen to do. This time feels precious. It’s a gift—not empty hours while I’m waiting for someone to call or visit. Not too put too fine point on it, but I don’t know how much time I’ll have or how long I’ll be healthy.
I want to use my time well.