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What Do Retired People Do All Day?

It's a favorite question from younger adults, about those who are retired from the workplace.

What do we old folks do with all that time once taken up with commuting and working? people wonder.

The cheeky answer, of course, is “Look for all those lost keys and eye glasses." But the question itself is disparaging assuming, as it does, that old people don't have the wit, curiosity and interests to fill the eight or 10 or more hours a day they once spent on the job.

When I wrote about this subject the first time, I was concerned that I had slacked off dramatically from the efficient morning and weekly routines I had maintained to keep body and soul together during my working years.

But now, nine years later, I don't care. Because I live alone, obviously no one else cares either but I find myself annoyed when I have an early appointment forcing me to rush through breakfast and the morning news.

I've come to fervently embrace the freedom of not being required to live on other people's schedules, and I particularly like long, lazy early mornings which I'll admit are mostly rote - coffee, email, news, politics, workout and breakfast - before settling down for the day's workload. But I change it up now and then - for the thrill that I can.

Mostly, however, that routine isn't much different from the half century I was someone's employee – well, if you don't count the short commute, just down the hall a few feet nowadays.

People whose work is central to their definition of themselves may have more trouble retiring than I had. I enjoyed the work I did all those years but I began this blog while I was still working and with an equal amount of enthusiasm, I just segued into Time Goes By as my full time job.

Surprise to me: I'm still doing it 15 years later.

Beyond that and aside from the joy of choosing when I do what, nothing much has changed. I study ageing and produce this blog. I have a small volunteer position that doesn't take much attention. I read a lot on a variety of subjects (so much to know, so little time).

I keep in touch with friends. I enjoy cooking. I follow news and politics closely and I keep up with the renaissance in children's books. I often think about taking a trip and then remember for the zillionth time that I long ago decided I won't do that again until someone makes airline travel less painful. Fat chance.

The internet is not much help in finding what retired people do with their time. There are not many stories that deal with the question and few have a dateline so there is no way to know when they were written (never trust information that is not dated).

A lot of others are sales pieces for retirement financial services disguised with a few facts about retirement activities that may or may not be reliable.

One claim that shows up on several sites about retirees' use of time is that old people sleep a lot more than younger ones – 10 or 11 hours a night, they say. That sounds suspicious to me and further checking shows it is – there's no telling where that data came from.

The few lists of how retired elders spend their time that include a dateine are mostly eight or 10 years old. During that time, the demands of baby boomers, who have been retiring at a rate of about 10,000 a day, have made active retirement more important than these lists show.

Here, based on unidentified 2015 data, is a list of the activities at which retirees said they spend most of their time - in order of average duration per day:

Sleep
Watching TV
Home maintenance
Part-time work
Preparing/eating meals
Shopping
Volunteering
Reading
Surfing the web
Relaxing
Exercising

Activity levels differ wildly for old people depending on health and although there is nothing wrong with that list, I don't see hobbies, passions, curiosity, sports, travel, studying, etc. - all the stuff we didn't have time for when we were working.

Years ago, I knew a man who was a world-class chef, well-read and widely traveled, knowledgeable about the world, engaged in politics and generally erudite.

He always said, in those days, that he was saving two things in particular for retirement when he would have more time to concentrate: learn pastry cooking (which is more science than art) and to understand the music of Richard Wagner.

I envied him back then for having those doable goals, and I still do. My list is way too long to be useful so my knowledge and understanding – aside from ageing - are miles wide and an inch deep.

Now it's your turn: How do you spend the extra time you have in retirement? What do you do all day?


Comments

I don't think the question, what do you do all day? is necessarily disparaging of elders'
wit, etc. It might be a mixture of genuine curiosity and envy. I frequently get the question, What are you doing this weekend? My answer is always, Whatever I want to,
everyday is a weekend.

Get up whenever - usually 6:30 - 8 a.m. Take care of dogs. Bring in newspaper.

Breakfast - We love a good breakfast and with retirement we have even more elaborate food - eggs, French toast, Welsh rarebit, creamed ham and eggs. This fits in with trying more recipes. Read the newspaper straight through.

Depending on the pool schedule at the local Y, go over to swim laps, sauna, shower. The trip home gets tied in with any needed stops at the library, municipal building, post office, food stores, farmers market, etc. Depending on the season - weeding, bringing in firewood, etc.

Lunch and dinner are interchangeable depending on what's in the fridge, leftovers, and the weather. But...more chances to try new recipes. May be followed by a nap, computer games, reading, working on Facebook or researching. If there are some good TV shows - Mary Tyler Moore, Donna Reed, Newhart, I Married Joan - I may watch

I have been rereading books from decades ago. Last year I re-read the Little House series and some related bios and analysis. I am just finishing up the twenty-plus Evanovich Stephanie Plum novels.

As I am an admin of several FB pages, I check them for content and post local government meetings, notices, information, events, activities, etc. The main page I treat like an old-fashioned hyperlocal newspaper. I previously worked as a writer (features and local coverage) and I am now trying fiction working on the second draft of a novel.

Evenings vary. I attend a lot of government meetings, mostly local. There are activities - free concerts, car cruises, library presentations. My husband is busy with competitive pool and veterans activities.

Somewhere in this I do some housework.

BTW, I really had to think about this. The days just fly by. Now I know what I do...LOL.

Days begin at 5-6am and I adore my morning coffee and internet scanning. Soon afterward, a walk, then exercise class ensues. Being at 75, I'm most alert in the mornings, so shopping, acupuncture or other health treatments, meetings, etc., are scheduled next.

The afternoons might include a movie, or a museum visit, something inspiring or different, a side trip to a nearby town, a lecture of interest(at senior centers or Osher-cheaper if your volunteer), or an art class of some form. Guess I'm more of a Jack of all trades than a master of one.

Or, I spend this time hanging around the house doing whatever my on-and-off again energy level allows. I feel no need to do anything. Deliberately without guilt.

A good amount of time is always set aside for ruminating over how I'm living and feeling my life presently, realistically. To live in the now with what is. This is life-affirming and purposeful for me. I use my mind by guiding it with loose intentions thoughtfully and realistically formed and seek grace to accept my limitations and work around them.

My angst is mostly for large projects that I don't want to tackle. Like going through boxes of photos and papers, or cleaning out storage or , or... I resent them for their nagging intrusion(heh) on my being that's often fine doing little more than reading a book for hours.

I quit cooking, so eating raw foods or fish prepared elsewhere works for me. I also spend time airing my sheets and pillows once a week, so another joy is snuggling into those and ending the days feeling very content.

A favored quote I read often is : "Life is not for solving problems. It's for living." - Angeles Arrien

Being only partially retired, my answer is similar to above - basically taking more time to live more mindfully and freely. For those lucky enough to have enough $ (whatever that means to each of us), it's the first time in our lives when we have complete autonomy - nice! Yes, everything takes a little longer, but we're more present. As to those big goals, mine is to read Proust's Remembrance of Times Past in French.

Ok so my life is a bit different from many in that my "retirement" allowed me to shift my focus to my real career as an artist. I work in my studio, belong to several artists groups and a cooperative gallery. And I have a somewhat disabled son who needs more help than most 50 somethings. But otherwise? Community service, reading, gardening, following various things online, running errands and having the time to chat with people as I do, cooking and doing a minimal amount of housework, taking care of the herd (4 dogs and 4 cats!) And I really enjoy a nap mid-afternoon. As my mother used to say, How did I ever have time for a job!

I'm 70, retired a year ago.
I'm up at 6am. I do exercise and yoga. Then I warm up and eat breakfast (which I cooked the night before). Then on to the computer to check email and news. By 8am, I am practicing the fiddle (for an hour) which I picked when I retired.
Later in morning I might do some gardening or other home chores. I am working on cleaning out the garage (a multi-year project!).
Lunch with my wife. Then I might take a nap. Some days we shop in the afternoon. Dinner later.

I go to yoga class twice a week. Update my blog. I belong to a meditation group where I go once a week. I belong to a local civic organization.

So far I do work two days a month. Not sure how long it will last. But that takes a full day when it happens.

I can say that things are pretty normal. What I don't have is the insane commuting and stress that I used to have when working every day. For that I am very grateful.

I play Scrabble once or twice a week, I read, I surf the net, I play games on my phone, I cook, run errands, shop, clean up, do laundry and take care of my husband, who is rapidly becoming bound to his walker or power chair.

I am 82 and live alone. So, I try to do things that involve being with other people, such as exercise classes, a singing group, a widows' dinner group,
and a film discussion group. I also have lunch with friends once or twice a week, go to movies with someone or by myself, and go to church. I tell my daughter I am addicted to coffee and reading books; which I often combine.
Of course, I walk my dog 2 or 3 times a day, take care of the house and yard,
prepare meals (albeit simple ones), and shop (as needed or for fun). So, in general life is good, as I am in generally good health and have most of my brains. The motto I fastened on after losing my husband and a son is: "enjoy what there is." And there is actually quite a lot.

To live content with small means,
to seek elegance rather than luxury,
and refinement rather than fashion,
to be worthy, not respectable, and wealthy, not rich,
to study hard, think quietly, talk gently, act frankly,
to listen to stars and birds, babes and sages, with open heart,
to bear all cheerfully,
do all bravely,
await occasions,
hurry never........
in a word, to let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious,
grow up through the common.
This is to be my symphony.

William Ellery Channing

What do I do all day now that I am 82? Well, I...

Co-edit a magazine
Head up an elder cohousing project
Publish a very occasional newsletter and an occasional blog post
Post on social media
Talk to my friends
Sit on several committees
Exchange endless emails with people all over the world
Read the news
Read books
Write and publish book reviews
Maintain several websites
Take daily walks in the countryside
Dance around the house
Do codeword puzzles
Travel a lot - mostly to Italy, Spain and the US (We live in the UK but our kids are across the Pond)
Catch the bus to town and lug the shopping home
Do a bit of gardening (less than I used to due to a sore back)
Enjoy my wholesome, organic food, my coffee, my chocolate and a few glasses per week of good red wine
Cuddle my man, argue with him sometimes and love him to bits
Practise simple living (No washing machine, dishwasher. microwave etc. so more things need doing by hand)

...and generally enjoy my life more and more each day, except on those occasional days when I feel depressed about what we humans are doing to this beautiful planet and to all the fellow-beings we share it with.

I am working on my twelfth book and I am learning Spanish. Some days I do very, very little except sit in a chair and read a library book but that's OK too. We haven't had TV since 1985 and I am really happy about that.

Some days I remember to meditate but some days I forget. And when it comes to using those pretty coloured resistance bands I bought a year ago with the full intention of using them every day to strengthen my muscles I admit I have only taken them out of the packet three times!

I shall probably die with a To Do list on my desk but I honestly don't feel the least bit 'driven.' I am incapable of napping but I sleep nine hours a night and love my bed.

I think that just about sums it up. I always enjoyed my work but life at 82 is just as full and interesting as the work life was, albeit far less remunerative. I get to pick my own hours and to do a whole lot of nothing whenever I feel like it and the Government goes on doling out my pension whether I am busy or not. Seems like a pretty good deal to me!

As a resident of an assisted living facility, my time is somewhat structured. At least as far as meals are concerned. That means that I have to get up at a certain hour (7 am) to get to breakfast on time. However, the rest of the day is pretty much my own. This means that, essentially, I do the same things I did every day before I retired, except go to work.

Motto: do I hafta do what I wanna? Yes indeed.

Our retirement activities have morphed over the years. We are very fortunate to live on the west coast of Canada, and we love it. My partner has very much enjoyed keeping us stocked with salmon and crab; I used to join him but then gave it up for more land bound activities like hiking, walking, cycling.
We have also been fortunate to travel to many areas, more than I'd ever dreamed of.
I recommend travel early in retirement if you can afford it, as we are now in our early-mid '70's and are less able to get around on foot as we used to, and as you said Ronnie, air travel can cripple one. Of course that's just us, others may be able to prolong those activities. Now is the time to use any rainy day nest egg if you've managed to accumulate one.
I am also very fortunate to have a great circle of lady friends who get together for a walk, gab, laugh/cry fest once a week or so. So good!

My day starts late because I stay up late. Always a cup of coffee hot and waiting in the morning. To the computer for some quiet time browsing headlines, checking email, other blogs, etc. Maybe launching into another blog post. I don't like noise or conversation for that first hour or two. Any necessary appointments like haircut, veterinarian, doctor are scheduled for midday or early afternoon. That gets harder during the winter when days are short because I don't drive after dark. My yard has become an unwanted responsibility but as long as my dog (10 years old) is with me, I need it. Can't afford to move anyway. I don't nap because getting up just once a day is unpleasant enough, and besides, the few times I tried it, I never got to sleep. Go figure.

I cook very little, just fast easy stuff, and am a slob at housekeeping. Good thing I live alone. I play video games (shooters and role-playing). Not the physical exercise I should be getting, but great for mental alertness, reaction time, situational awareness, etc. And these days they beat the heck out of real world news and daytime tv.

I'd thought when I moved to Denver that I'd do a lot of driving to sightsee the West, but I've become much more cautious about traveling alone and painfully aware of how uncomfortable my car actually is after an hour or so. So I worry about getting tired in the middle of nowhere -- and there's lots of nowhere between here and there.

I will be 80 in Ocober. I make art. I didn't start my art passion until I retired and now, I know that I might be long gone if I did not make art every day. It has also brought me a whole new tribe of folks who have the same passion. Many of my closest arty friends are 30 0 40 years younger than me.

What a question. 83 and I never stop. Up at 5:30, straighten house, cook, wash, walk outside to look at gardens. Lunch, paperwork, crash at 1:30 then rest and begin to prepare the second meal. In the evening before bed at 8: oo I read, computer and time for bed.
No television watched here, love to read and 4 children all over the world and on
the computer a lot. To the market twice a week. Everything is done slowly with a cane in
hand so I do not fall with this arthritis
Again, I never stop...

For myself and many elders I know, caregiving takes up a great deal of time. I am the care manager for my handicapped son and that takes about 20 hours a week. More time if he develops a complication. I see many people caring for a spouse, a parent or friend who may be chronically or acutely ill or both. Also, consider those who are caring for or raising grandchildren.
There are many underappreciated older people who devote their time and energy to caring for others,

Photography, making movies, traveling, writing, exercising in and out of water, helping people, learning something new , taking OLLI classes, eating with friends, streaming good Brit stories, watching PBS (the last two while I'm processing photographs or doing puzzles). Church on many Sunday mornings.

I spent a great deal of the first 12 years of my retirement caring for my mother and/or husband. So when I was alone I gardened and volunteered. Now I have a small apartment in a house I co own with my son and his family. So I get to spend a lot of time with my young grandson, but only when I want to or am asked to. Additional, I go to an exercise class daily, care for a family orchard and a flower garden. I am also involved with a knitting group, book group, a couple of civic groups and most importantly I work with political groups trying to make changes in our elected government. I like being busy and active - and it helps me avoid doing those big projects (like sorting photos) that have been on my to do list for 15 years!

My life as a retired 71 yr old and a widow for 5 years is more active and satisfying now than when I was married.

My husband was one who didn't handle retirement well and it effected our marriage. Now I volunteer once a week at my hospital and go out for dinner and drinks several times a week with various friends.

I also am not a morning person, though I get up about 7, have my coffee and follow my blogs and news articles on my iPad, which can take up to 2 hours. I also watch some news. I like to garden, TV at night and generally sit around too much.

But I eat when I want, do what I want, decorate like I want and have firmer opinions on things like politics than I did before. I'm freer than I've ever been.

Do I get lonely...yes occasionally, but everything has a price.
I enjoy retirement. I feel I have finally become me and I will not give that up now.

Worry about Bowel Movements!! This is a very frequent topic when I chat with others and should be first on the list!

I write and I participate in groups and workshops with other writers. I paint and take classes as this is a new interest for me. I do other crafts, often getting together with friends over various projects. I cook for myself. I work in the yard and tend a tiny garden. I keep the house clean and organized because that is the way I like it. I read a lot and wonder why there isn't more time to read everything I want. I go out with friends. I spend time with family, extra time with my grandson. I watch movies or a couple of favorite TV shows. I meditate and go to a meditation group once a week. I do yoga and take a variety of classes and special workshops. I volunteer, doing literacy activities with young children, committee work at church. I take long exercise walks. I am having much more fun than when I went to work each day, came home to cook and clean, then fall into bed exhausted. I hardly ever have to start my day with an alarm clock and most of the things I do now feed my energy rather than sapping it. I did like my work and I am grateful that it gave me ability to save for my current lifestyle, Retirement is the best time of life as far as I am concerned.

Everything I do has been covered--and then some. At 81 I can no longer do everything I used to do. Some of these lists are pretty demanding, but power to those people (who are likely still in their 60s or 70s, plus a couple of 80-somethings who do far more than I). Cheers to you!

At day's end I am tired and wonder where the time went. I must be doing something to fill in those hours, but there are times I wonder just what.

Well, after that tongue in cheek summation I have to admit that my days are filled with two things. The computer and books. I am an avid reader and have one or two books going all the time. I don't think I will live long enough to read all of the books on my Kindle.

I still do my own laundry and keeping the kitchen clean, but I leave the rest to a cleaning lady who comes in for a few hours bi-weekly and keeps my house presentable.

Some evenings I watch videos and have several series I am following. Other nights my back prevents me from sitting long enough to turn the TV on so on those nights I go to my recliner and read until I am sleepy.

As that great philosopher Bing Crosby once said:
I’m busy doing nothing, working the whole day through.
Trying to find lots of things not to do.

Your list doesn't include crafts. I've been a writer-for-life, will never stop. But a good part of my "free" time is quilting. It's been a craft I enjoyed for about 40 years, now I have time to explore new methods and expressions. Likewise, I have friends who always wanted to paint-- now they do. And I have many friends who volunteer for many kinds of organizations. Many of us are exploring various exercise regimens -- the gentler ones usually. Some have turned to poetry. Many of my friends take classes in many areas at an organization called Academy for Lifelong Learning -- reasonable fees, socializing a well as learning, sharing ideas, teaching (on a volunteer basis, as I do). Most people make time for grandchildren and of course there is home and garden maintenance, sometimes spouses with health problems. Local arts groups, theatre, concerts ... this is an active time, full of stimulation and satisfaction -- including, because we feel we MUST speak up, some political activity.

I'm up by 5 am now because it's so blinking hot in E WA . Coffee on first, eat some fruit and water the patio plants. Then I make breakfast which is my favorite meal. The remaining meals are catch as catch can. At 8:30 am there are no lines at the grocery. Lots of trips to the grocery as I eat a lot of fresh veggies and fruit in the summer and they don't keep in quanity. After 50+ years cooking no longer appeals to me although sometimes I get a bee in my bonnet and whip up something pretty tasty, or I think it is. By 10 am it's like trying to breathe with your head in an oven outside. Hooray for air conditioning.

Some days are planned such as Tuesdays when I have my two soon to be 12 year-old grands. Friday afternoons I have my 6 and 7 year old grands. Not all day though. There are three colleges here and someone often is having a free concert, free film, a dance recital, etc. The church across the street has a brown bag first Thursday concert with some very talented musicans. I do worry a little about outliving my money. Last year $4000 dental event and car breakdown made me think a lot harder about where my dollars go.

I sleep 6-7 hours a night except on Wednesdays after grandkids then I am likely to take a two hour nap. I try give myself one housecleaning thing to do a day. Today's is vacuum (which I hate) and clean the air cleaner filters as we have smoke in the air again. The air quality this morning was in the red (stay inside). Yesterday I washed the dishes and called it good. The day before? I guess I missed that day ha ha ha!

A couple of times a week I have a phone visit, often an hour and a half, with an old friend who lives far away and cannot travel much. I have two or three books I am reading usually, fiction and non-fiction. I'm a big fan of Asian film something I inherited from my Dad who was a big Akira Kurosawa fan. I've added a lot of history books since I retired partly to understand the background and the culture in foreign films I've been watching and to understand what happened with my own grandparents who were all born in during some very hard times. I joined my gym again. Right now I go 6 days a week, not for long about 20 minutes just enough to to get used to it again. Use it or lose it?

I'm involved with my family. There is a lot of them here in town. The things I like plays, art, film, sightseeing I take some of them along with me. Then there are kids' plays, soccer and other sports, piano recitals, the product show from robotics camp; all that stuff I thought I'd never do again (whoopee) when my kids grew up. Who knew I actually liked that stuff? Even so I have a lot of spare time and I really enjoy that.

I never retired. I was a stay at home Mom whose children left the nest. I own my time now more. Before it was being Mom and that filled my days along with a small horse farm and riding and competing dressage horses. Now, at 67, I compete mini schnauzers in dog obedience and do ballroom dancing. We have many 70-year-olds plus and those well into their 80s and beyond dancing at the studio. It is something one can do forever. This gives me my dance family, keeps me active and also connected to all ages. The morning starts with caffeine, exercise and a few dance moves followed by a 3 mile dog walk. My husband is busy-he's a retired professor always on the go-I train my dogs daily and join friends for lunch. I am part of a group of ladies who have lunched together for 30 years. Sister friends. Afternoons always find me in our local coffee shop reading for over an hour. My quiet time. Then it's home for the husband, walking the dogs and off to dance. Life is full and joyful. Busy. We also enjoy an evening pause on our deck with the trees, sounds of nature while sipping
wine. Who could ask for more?

I'm doing pretty much what I said I'd do when I retired: indulge my short attention span. It's working out pretty well. I audit classes in a variety of content areas at the local university, I sing in several choruses, work out, volunteer teach, etc. At 76, life is better than I probably deserve.

I am 69 and enjoy most of all grandparenting! I have 6 grandchildren near so spend much time being a child again with them!!! Hiking, swimming, visiting museums, baking and reading. When I am not with them I am recovering and keeping the house clean; I also do tai chi and take in weekly movies with adult friends. I love this life stage and have never been this happy

I sleep late. I read and read. I do some gardening when it's not too hot and my bones are not killing me. I sit around and think about things. I look up things on the computer and often find that 2 hours have passed as one thing has led to another. I do housework when the cat hair blows around on the floor when I walk. I sit around and think about things. I wish that OLLI had a course that interested me. I read some more. I do errands. I wish I had grandchildren. I wish my son weren't an alcoholic. I sit around and think about things. But most importantly, I wait on my 2 cats.

I'm hardly ever lonely, have one good friend close by. My husband's prolonged illness and death has made me think a lot about how I want to live my old age and how I want to die. I go to Death Cafe meetings periodically. I realize I'm tired of people telling me what to do, so I've gotten fat, quit taking a few of my meds, and am not going to get any more screenings or even go to the doctor unless I have an acute, uncomfortable illness. I feel more and more alien from our consumerist, hyperactive, vulgar society and am glad I am no longer much involved with it. I sit around and think about things. I re-read random stuff. I worry about the bees. I talk to some neighbors. I do errands. I'm finally being my real self.

Vanity, vanity, all is vanity.

Thanks to Ronni and all the contributions that helped me to put my own life in focus.
At 83, my life has settled into a fairly comfortable routine e xcept for our annual exodus from the unbearable Austin summers and this year will be the last of those. I caught a bad virus in Oslo that I thought might be pneumonia but I’m on the mend now

My activities have evolved and changed as I worked part time ‘til age 79. Even at that can’t quite bring myself to allow my state license and national certification to expire. Plus I’m interested in developments in disciplines like neurology, psychology, etc. — any area impacting communication, cognition, swallowing — so to keep attending required continuing education seminars is attractive — reading professional publications — plus, a lot has personal value as pertains to adults, geriatrics.

Mostly I value not having a schedule and I minimize making regular commitments as I like activities for which I’m not obligated to attend every time if I happen to not be in the mood on any given day. Also, I no longer schedule appts for first thing in the morning, preferring the earliest to be 10 a.m. I’ve always been a bit of a night owl that had to adapt to being a day person when I had a full time job and then when I had children, so now I tend to indulge myself — in fact, I have to monitor myself to not stay up til dawn some nights.

When I awaken I turn on all news L.A. radio station which also has segment of national news that I may listen to as I loll around in bed, or as I get up engaging in personal care/dressing. My morning routine varies with the most recent pattern being I eat 4 moist prunes every day, then I go to drive thru bringing home a hot prepared breakfast (one place I go I save half to reheat for another morning), have decaf (rarely keep a pot to drink throughout day any more), simultaneously tuning in TV news, checking out a bunch of news sites on computer, checking my blog to moderate/respond to any comments on current post (only writing weekly presently), may multi-task playing solitaire. Visiting other blogs often not until evening, but most not daily.

Have had some property upkeep issues and long overdue personal business to arrange should I become incapacitated or kick the bucket that have been taking more time than I like. So, I’m vegging out some with a few decades-old primo TV pgms I missed when originally aired, reading whatever book I’m into (have been skipping book club of late as have too many on hand of my choice I presently prefer), occasionally catch some PBS programming.

May make a grocery trip for fresh produce, deli and frozen items since microwave my cooking preference especially during hot weather. Do laundry when have a load, housekeeping gets a lick and a promise, have had to leave exterior to weekly gardeners. Fluctuating frequency of IMs, emails, phone mostly with adult children in other states, friend in So Cal who lives some distance away. Ongoing commitment to downsize household items, organize a bunch of records, as need to get to long needed interior redecorating.

Currently, I mentioned activity for our city senior programs, then unexpectedly became involved with planning; agreed to more involvement beginning in fall.
May get back to attending movie occasionally, also periodic jazz concerts as stopped these since like to shake up routine every once in a while so I don’t get in a rut with same ol’, same ‘ol, day after day.

Wow after reading all these wonder comments, I feel like a slug! I wish I had the energy most of you do, but I couldn't keep up the pace. I do the usual things with friends, keep up with current events, socialize and all, but I need down time that evidently, most of youndont. I'm envious!

Make art for as many hours a day as I can.

No Mary, you and I can't be "slugs"...if we got down that low to the ground we would NEVER be able to get up!! I carry a walking stick even in my own yard to help me if that should happen. I too, am envious of those still full of such vitality.

I enjoyed reading about all the ideas and activities in the other comments, but I think an old JANIS IAN song, (amazingly written when she was still in her teens) is my theme song how. I would love to see Peter's "Elder Music" talk about her...Top of the charts at 17 and a 'has been' in her early 20s. Wonder why?
It was called "TEA AND SYMPATHY". Here is just a fragment of the lyrics; and you can see how it fits many of us in our 80s. I can't post a link, yet it is easy to find on Google.

"I don't want to ride the milk train any more
I'll go to bed at nine, and waken with the dawn
And lunch at half past noon
Dinner prompt at five
The comfort of a few old friends long past their prime
Pass the tea & sympathy
For the good old days long gone
Let's drink a toast to those who most
Believe in what they've won".

I’ve been retired for about 20 months. I moved right outside of Portland, ME when I left my job in MA. For the first several months, I did a whole lotta nuthin’! Since I quickly got over that, I volunteer once a week at the local library and 2 months ago, started a 3.5 volunteer shift at the University of Southern Maine OLLI office. I’m on my second OLLI class and looking forward to a couple more when the fall semester starts. My volunteer time in the office gives me some free classes (they are $50 each). I also don’t love to fly, never did. Next Spring, I’m taking the train across the country, from Portland, ME to Portland, OR (where my son lives). I’ve done it once before and really enjoyed the 3 days of travel through our country. Maybe that’s an option for you?

"Let's drink a toast to those who most
Believe in what they've won".

Ahhh, such a deliciously perfect lyric. Not to mention a fitting ending to this discussion.

Thanks for that Charlene. I always loved Janis Ian.

Get to volunteer a little bit; unfortunately spending way too much of each day trying to take care of a too-big-for-us place (that husband refuses to consider moving out of to someplace even slightly smaller); paying bills, balancing checkbooks, and doing laundry. He gets to play golf 5 or 6 days a week though!

After years of working, I sleep in most days!
I cook healthy meals because I now have the time. and try new dinner recipes,

I belong to a book club, which has renewed my interests in reading,

I kayak and hike occasionally. Do a weight strength class at the gym.

Have a small business making art from wine corks!

Work part time in real estate.

Care for my little grandson a few times a month.

Travel a little, try to do one big trip a year.

Enjoy life!!!!!

My life hasn't altered much because I spent the majority of my time at home raising my kids. I did work for a total of 20 years after I married but the last 13 of those 20 were part-time so now that I am fully retired it's been a segue. My husband retired 3 years ago, kind of, although he went back to work almost immediately. That lasted 9 months and since then he has done some consulting but not much. We wake up about 6:30 or 7:00, I get on the internet and check news and email and he goes out for a walk. He walks 4-10 miles a day, depending on his energy level and mostly his knees. I walk about 3-4 miles a day. We don't walk together because I walk much faster than he does. Twice a week we go to a gym and work out there. I love gardening and spend a lot of time in the yard. We clean the house once a week, do laundry. I handle the money and do the shopping. He cuts the grass, plays golf twice a week. Both of us do home maintenance projects--we just finished painting the screened porch--and there is still a lot of painting to do, not to mention a major garage cleanup in our future.

We both spend too much time on the internet. He likes to watch TV, which bothers me because he likes to watch political news shows and I become stressed out very quickly with the current political situation. I'm not that into TV except PBS or Andy Griffith. I read and do watch Netflix when I can find something to watch. We volunteer at the local nature preserve by monitoring a bluebird box trail for the Cornell ornithology program. We visit our sons, both of whom are out of town, and help them with whatever they need. Recently we installed the tile backsplash in our son's kitchen.

So what do we do? I don't know, but we sure stay busy. Oh, and we travel when we can.

I have to get out of the house everyday. It drives me crazy to stay home.

I retired early at age 56. I thought I would work part time until age 70 then file for SSA. This was Plan A. I went thru Plans B thru G in a hurry.

I do a combination of exercise classes, art classes and volunteer work. I was an ESL tutor for 4 years and helped refugees and immigrants from around the world learn basic skills in English. I joined a nonfiction book club at the library. I learned how to do vegetable gardening. I learned how to sew. I tried to learn French and have not given up on this! I travel 2 - 3 X a year but these are short trips.

I spend too much time on SM. : (

As a 60 (in less than a week 61) year old who retired at 57 I have a different take than some who posted but found the article engaging. At first my friends and siblings asked what I planned to do in retirement and my workmates seemed shocked that I didn't want to work anymore. But the pictures I've sent them from France, Australia, Mexico, Canada have stopped the questions.

My favorite reason to stop working was to be able to slow down and enjoy visiting other countries and cultures instead of feeling like I was speeding by them without time to notice anything beyond the surface. So I spend a week in a city or area instead of a day or two. I go to several local restaurants, theaters, and stroll in parks or gardens and not just the obligatory churches and museums. Instead of flying somewhere I take the train or (better yet) cruise the Atlantic for two weeks (or more) instead of flying and having jet lag for a week only to leave in another week like I used to do when I only had two weeks of vacation.

When at home (not traveling) which is seven or eight months of the year, I get up when I want and do what I want. I volunteer and study issues impacting my community in a way to build responses with other concerned residents that have a lasting positive influence.

At this moment, I am spending over a month at my Mother's house helping her prepare for and celebrate her 90th birthday. My sisters and brothers are not able to be here because they are working. They'll come in for a couple of days and rush back to work and feel tired from all the energy they spent getting here, rushing for the few days they are here, and then hurrying back to a desk full of stupid things to do because some corporate boss has a boss who had a thought that something was important. Oh and they will also have an inbox of emails that will take a few days to a week to clear out.

So I can see why people who are working wonder what retired people do - we do whatever we want, when we want, for as long as we want, until we want to stop. I tell my siblings that the solution is to find those things that you care about and inspire you and begin living them now so that you hit the ground running when you do retire.

I retired at 59. Corp America just was an unhappy environment. People ask me all the time how’s retirement, what do you do, are you bored. I worked for 40+ years, no I don’t get bored. Every day I wake up between 7 and 8 , have coffee and breakfast read the paper and news on internet then go out for a walk or bike ride.

I partake in photography as a hobby, I go to coffe shops and talk to people like me retired, go to the library, garden. Basically whatever I feel like doing and that interests me. The days go by fast and I have no stress and enjoy every one.

Those who say they can’t retire and would be bored love work, great for them and enjoy. To me life is not work it is a way to support your life. Life is short and precious and I am glad to be in a situation where I am in control of what I want to do each day. The so called experts are all wrong, if you can find a way to do it and enjoy the rest of your life if that fits.

Retirement is great and I will never work again and be subject to others time and days. Life is short and money is not happiness.

Retire and enjoy!!!!!!

interesting comments as ever i'm pleased to say...my own life changed dramatically 5 years ago when with my wife (10years younger..) we decided to leave the u.k. and settle down on a remote and isolated greek island here in the dodecanese groups of islands..i am now 70 and have never once regreted our decision to leave...I personally gave up a great deal to come here ..my very secure and well paid job/my cycle racing that I had competed in for 50yrs consecutively (a national record!..) and leaving a psychedelic group I was playing in!!!! plus friends and two children from a former marriage...not once have we looked back..my days are filled with riding the mountains here 5-6 days a week (up to 3500ft..) where I am completely alone and have the world to myself for a few hours...the views stunning and with sun filled days 10month's of the year you cant go wrong! I am also a huge film buff and have over 6000 blu-rays/dvd/s in my collection and adding to it weekly...our evening are based around a film and maybe eating out at a harbour side taverna with greek friend's..we are the first and only English people to settle here and I must say that I say kal mera (good morning..) to more people in 15 minutes than I ever did in the u.k. in 6 month's...to see me cycling please check-out my youtube channel - fourlapfever where I descend at over 50mph with no helmet as I hate the thing's..we do so much more here than I can mention here so will sign off...I can of course answer any questions if you are thinking off doing a similar thing here in Greece....dave Tulloch.

I think people who wonder what us retired old farts do all day need to get a life.

After having a working life where I was defined by my career, which I so enjoyed as I was fortunate to have created my jobs and I was able to make use of a variety of skills: marketing, writing, sales, negotiation, technical expertise, and so on. So retirement has left me at a bit of a loss. Also friends are harder to make, and are becoming more of a necessity; travel companions have always been hard to find, especially as single women generally don’t have that sort of disposable income. Passions and interest seem to have left me. Not having any long term horizon many things don’t seem worth pursuing. Daily activities seem to revolve around food and health, oh yes gardening as seasons allow, but even that is less ambitious.

Such great comments. Love the underlying theme - enjoy being the boss of your own time. Life is short - enjoy retirement. Thank you all. I'm encouraged that retirement will be great (still a handful of years away). I will miss spending without too much of a care. (I am frugal and am saving for retirement - but know that there's more $ coming each year. Not the case in retirement.)

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