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:
Surfing the web
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?