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Old 05-31-2010, 05:32 AM
 
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Ever since DH and I retired people who are still working are always asking us, "But, what do you DO all day long?" as though surely we must just be sitting around gathering dust. The next comment we often hear is something like, "I could never be retired, I'd go crazy with nothing to do." Maybe it's only me, but after hearing this so often (for the past 6 years) I'm beginning to feel as though it's a very rude question. It wouldn't occur to me to ask them to justify their 24 hours every day.

I always find myself at a loss for an answer. Sure, there are sarcastic ones I can think of , but I wouldn't say anything like that and other than that I really don't understand what they mean. So, I usually wrack my brain to come up with a list of some of the things I'm likely to do in a day (read, paint, cook, lunch with friends, etc.) which winds up sounding like a pretty lame answer, I guess. And, again it leaves me feeling as though it's none of their concern what I do with my time every day and why on earth must I justify it to others? Why must I be put on the spot to sit there and come up with a list of my day to day retirement activities? Is it that it's that our culture of busyness makes it more "noble" to work in many people's eyes?

I may get some comments here along the lines of, "Don't be so sensitive, they're probably just interested." But, I truly don't get the vibe that that's the way the question is being asked. When we say we're retired we rarely see them break into a smile being happy for us and then hear something like, "Wow, congratulations. That must be great!" Nope, it's so often a deadpan, "But, what do you DO all day long?" followed by a comment on how they could never be retired, they'd go nuts.

Anyone else tired of hearing that question?

Last edited by JudiPatooti; 05-31-2010 at 05:42 AM..
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Old 05-31-2010, 05:57 AM
 
10,318 posts, read 9,367,886 times
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Default "What Do You Do?"

Hi Judi,

Your posting really hit home with me! I have never liked people focusing constantly on what people "do", whether it's during retirement or just for the weekend.

My retirement begins the end of this year and many at work have asked me "But what will you DO all day?"...I just laugh and say, "Anything except go to work".

One gal asked me if I'll be bored. I asked her if she was out of her mind. I told her that I have never liked working outside of the home and when I retire my life will truly begin. She commented that she really enjoys working and can't imagine not working. I told her that everyone is different and 'what's right, is what's right for each of us'.

There are many who are jealous of those who are retired; and many who just don't get it.

One time when asked 'what will you do all day', I laughed and said I planned to stay in my pjs and stare at the wall all day...and then walked off.

I just consider the source when people ask stupid/rude questions.

Several are very happy for me; however, it doesn't matter if they are happy or not - I'm happy and that's all that matters.

There are several of us retiring around the same time; and we all have a smile on our face - - - and the workers who say they can't imagine not working, there are no smiles on their faces.

Can't tell you how to feel, or how to reply. Just enjoy your retirement and to heck with the naysayers.

And from me: Congratulations!!

Katie
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Old 05-31-2010, 06:31 AM
 
Location: Central Maine
4,687 posts, read 5,533,753 times
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What do I do all day?

Whatever I want.

I suppose the question is an extension of the typical "What do you do?" that people ask & are asked when they first meet. For so much of our lives, we are at least partially identified and defined by what we do for a living. And for some people, it must be difficult (or impossible) to imagine themselves NOT working, and they somehow think that the way they feel must be the way everyone feels.

I worked summer jobs in high school and college; I worked full-time from age 21 to 55; I don't work any more. I am a full-time retiree.

What do I do all day? Well, some of the things I don't do include sitting in traffic twice a day, sitting in a cubicle, being managed by people who couldn't manage to find their nose without a mirror, rushing out the door to "beat the rush" to get to work, rushing to get home & get ready for the next day, and having that feeling of always "working for the weekend."

What do I do all day? Whatever I want. I'm retired. Every day is different. Every day is good.

Life is good. Retired life is better.
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Old 05-31-2010, 08:34 AM
 
Location: DC Area, for now
3,517 posts, read 12,047,444 times
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I just answer "anything I want!" With a big grin.

If you think about it, what did you DO all day when working? Most of the things were dull as dishwater and exceedingly trivial. Only a little bit is ever important or interesting. It is only the fact that someone pays. Us that we decide it is important. But is it really?

I suppose one could retort with - What do YOU do all day?
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Old 05-31-2010, 09:08 AM
 
433 posts, read 991,407 times
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I take a tip from politicians and don't answer the question that was asked. Instead, when people ask me what I do all day, I smile and say "I can't believe I ever had time to work!"
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Old 05-31-2010, 09:51 AM
 
Location: Lakewood OH
21,699 posts, read 23,648,620 times
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How about "Everything I did not have time to do because I was busy working." Or "Anything I want to do."

Act like you are not taking them seriously. And remember you do not owe them an answer just because they asked a question.

Pity them. They are jealous. I know I am.

Last edited by Minervah; 05-31-2010 at 10:39 AM.. Reason: adding a thought
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Old 05-31-2010, 09:54 AM
 
Location: Deep In The Heart of Texas
1,603 posts, read 1,269,897 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JudiPatooti View Post
Ever since DH and I retired people who are still working are always asking us, "But, what do you DO all day long?" as though surely we must just be sitting around gathering dust. The next comment we often hear is something like, "I could never be retired, I'd go crazy with nothing to do." Maybe it's only me, but after hearing this so often (for the past 6 years) I'm beginning to feel as though it's a very rude question. It wouldn't occur to me to ask them to justify their 24 hours every day.

I always find myself at a loss for an answer. Sure, there are sarcastic ones I can think of , but I wouldn't say anything like that and other than that I really don't understand what they mean. So, I usually wrack my brain to come up with a list of some of the things I'm likely to do in a day (read, paint, cook, lunch with friends, etc.) which winds up sounding like a pretty lame answer, I guess. And, again it leaves me feeling as though it's none of their concern what I do with my time every day and why on earth must I justify it to others? Why must I be put on the spot to sit there and come up with a list of my day to day retirement activities? Is it that it's that our culture of busyness makes it more "noble" to work in many people's eyes?

I may get some comments here along the lines of, "Don't be so sensitive, they're probably just interested." But, I truly don't get the vibe that that's the way the question is being asked. When we say we're retired we rarely see them break into a smile being happy for us and then hear something like, "Wow, congratulations. That must be great!" Nope, it's so often a deadpan, "But, what do you DO all day long?" followed by a comment on how they could never be retired, they'd go nuts.

Anyone else tired of hearing that question?
I find that the people that ask me what I do all day are the ones who immediately wonder what THEY woujld do all day!
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Old 05-31-2010, 10:00 AM
 
2,024 posts, read 2,985,773 times
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I've had the same annoying question and it's asked by people who have no life outside of work, no sense of self w/o a job.

My sister just decided this week to retire at the end of this school year. She's worried she'll be bored and has asked 'after I'm finished reading the paper and drinking all the coffee, then what'?

When I have bothered to list all my interests and things I want to learn, people are surprised and it's obvious there are many things to do w/o a job. No rocking chair here.
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Old 05-31-2010, 10:46 AM
 
Location: Tennessee
34,667 posts, read 33,667,394 times
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If you want to end the interrogation quickly:

"The same thing we used to do all night long. I'm exhausted."

But seriously, I have found that people who ask that question are more worried about themselves than they are curious about us. They realize they have no outside interests and retirement scares them so it's easier to belittle your retirement than to face their own looming predicament.

Tell them retirement is a new adventure and a chance to try new things and see new places and if they aren't ready for a new adventure in life, are afraid of change or being in control of their own time, or if they didn't financially plan for that adventure, they should definitely keep working.

You might also ask them what is it about their job that they like so much and tell them they need to find a way to take those things they like about their job to retirement activities. You know, if they are managers they might be great at officer positions in some social/hobby clubs/organizations. If they like interacting with the public maybe they should volunteer to work booths at community events, corral parade participants, hand out playbills or work a booth at a flea market. If they like instructing new employees, making presentations or teaching school, maybe they would like to teach some skill/hobby/subject to other retirees. If they like learning new things at work, maybe they could take classes and not just in college. They will find out that there are people everywhere willing to talk about and teach the things they like and do from park rangers to police officers to local business men and women to store arts and crafts people to sports enthusiasts. Being retired doesn't mean you have to stop learning. If they like carpentry, maybe some community playhouse, for example, could use their help to build sets. If they like planning or problem solving, maybe they could be on some organization or town event planning committee or belong to some civic group. If they like to help people, the sky is the limit.

You could ask if they have solo hobbies now and tell them now that they are retired not only do they have the time to do those hobbies but they also have the time to join clubs where they can talk about and do those hobbies with likeminded others. Those club people may replace their work friends as the togetherness will be tied to some common activity just like it was at work.

In other words, ease their mind about retirement by pointing out some options that they probably never considered. What YOU do all day, doesn't have to be what THEY do all day and you might tell them that.
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Old 05-31-2010, 11:30 AM
 
12,677 posts, read 14,059,781 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JudiPatooti View Post
Ever since DH and I retired people who are still working are always asking us, "But, what do you DO all day long?" as though surely we must just be sitting around gathering dust. The next comment we often hear is something like, "I could never be retired, I'd go crazy with nothing to do." Maybe it's only me, but after hearing this so often (for the past 6 years) I'm beginning to feel as though it's a very rude question. It wouldn't occur to me to ask them to justify their 24 hours every day. ....
No one has ever asked me that, though I have seen that question thrown out on various forums, or people expressing the worry that they will be bored in retirement.

I am inclined to suspect that people who ask this question are those who got a job, got married and had kids........and whose lives then quickly narrowed down to work and kids and kids and work.

Whenever I meet an older person who begins a conversation by telling me what their kids are doing or what's happening at work - I flee ASAP. I know this is not a person whose company I will enjoy, and vice versa. These people are the living dead.
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