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Retirement ups and downs and the slow passage of time

Posted 11-10-2022 at 11:35 AM by Igor Blevin
Updated 11-15-2022 at 09:05 AM by Igor Blevin

I have been retired for about 3 years now.

Retirement is great with many advantages. I am grateful for the freedom and autonomy. It is welcome not to be under a boss's thumb, and live a harried life of time restraints, being violently jarred from pleasant dreaming by a shrieking alarm clock, and having to scurry through shave, shower, breakfast and a combative commute, only to be chained to a desk for the next 9 hours, and then return home to a dinner routine after which you might squeeze out 3 hours of discretionary relaxation and entertainment before having to crawl in bed and do it all again the next day.

Retirement far exceeds the alternative of working until you drop, especially if your job is difficult, stressful, or hateful.

So I am eternally grateful for retirement, but it has been much of the routine couch-sitting and TV watching that I was fearful of and hoped to avoid. I was hoping not to be a typical retiree. As a typical guy, it is natural that I have become a typical retiree.

18 months of Covid shut me in before I finally moved from California to Tennessee.

There is plenty to do and explore here, and yet exploding costs from inflation and the health impacts of aging do limit a senior citizen. I went to Clingman's Dome, North Carolina for fall foliage and it was beautiful, the woods flocked from an unusually early snowball. Beautiful. I hiked up the relatively steep paved trail at a fat old man's snails pace, while children ran cirles around me and young couples floated by at pace. I crept so slowly up the hill -- just placing one foot slowly in front of the other -- that a dozen people at the top noted their pleasant surprise to see that I had made it to the observation deck.

It is just not the same being old.

I am not complaining, but reality rarely fulfills fantasy and retirement is no different. It is wonderful and has fulfilled my every hope for relief from the pace and stress and structure and demands of working life. I was unrealistically hoping to be able to enjoy retirement adventure. That fantasy just won't be met.

And so today I was just thinking about the creeping pace of retirement over the past 3 years. How one day can bleed into the next and the next. One similar month into the next with the same selection of meals, and the same minor chores, and the same music, and the same silly hobbies. On and on.

Is this it? Yep. This is it. I am happy but sometimes retirement is underwhelming. I am not complaining! The alternatives are, work until you drop or die young. It is easy to fantasize that winning the lottery would fix everything, but it wouldn't. The effect would be temporary. You can't escape yourself or buy your way out of many things.

It is just been kind of a slow and steady summer and fall without major distinguishing features.

Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow, creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools the way to dusty death.
Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player, that struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more.
It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

Ah, just one of those days. Not bad. Not good. Just "blah".
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