Retirement a very long weekend [UPDATED]Published 9:42am Thursday, September 13, 2012 Updated 11:46am Thursday, September 13, 2012
Many, many people have asked me, now that I’m retired: “What’s it like, being retired?” Or, “How does it feel, being retired?” Or, “What are you going to do, now that you’re retired?” Yet another, “What time do you get out of bed, now that you’re retired?”
First, there isn’t any really big impact, no big feeling; no “I was there one day and now I’m not” feeling, due to having the last 15 summers off from teaching. So that’s kind of a built-in shock absorber. It lasted until school started a couple of weeks ago. The day school started was when I first really retired. So now I’m feeling it, a bit.
And what does it feel like? It feels like a really, really long weekend. Mow the lawn? Sure, on Monday through Friday. Feels like the weekend while I’m mowing, which, of course, was when the lawn often got mowed.
Go out to supper, and to a movie? Monday through Thursday? Sure, easy, and halfway through eating, it feels like the weekend again. Mow the lawn AND go out on two separate weekdays? Feels like a three-day weekend, no doubt about it.
Add in staying up late (like 11 p.m., yawn), must be a long weekend plus a sick day. No other explanation, that’s the way it feels. At this point, anyway.
What am I going to do? First, remember, this is a 120-acre farm. It comes with, in the summer, somewhere around — Here, I have to estimate, if I spray one thistle every 30 seconds, and I spray for 20 hours each summer.) then, two each minute, times 60 minutes in an hour, times 20 hours — 2,400 thistles, waiting to go to seed should I dally.
But, before you can do anything on a farm, you have to do something else — (This is where long weekends really shine) so if spraying, that means find the sprayer. (Let’s see, where did I put that so I could find it right away next summer?)
Once you find the sprayer, which you stored high on a shelf next to some old tires that you’d forgotten were there, which you did because you wanted to remind yourself to sort those tires out and go through them to see exactly why it was you kept them in the first place, and once they’re out and down on the floor, you see those old humidifiers that your brother found for you at a garage sale but you no longer need because the house is now foam insulated so tight that no extra humidity is needed and you might as well disassemble them and recycle the parts which means finding those bags of pop cans that have been in the recycle corner so long that the bags are falling apart so you’d better run those to the recycle center, along with a bunch of other stuff that you’ve taken apart and can’t find because you put those things next to two old freezers from which you have to recover the refrigerant but there’s no oil in the recovery pump now where is that darned oil, and it goes on.
Now you know what I’m doing and why the long weekend feels like it does.
That just answered the “What am I doing?” and the “How does it feel?” question.
Which only leaves the “What time do you get out of bed?” question.
Pretty much, whenever I feel like it.
And you know what? That’s probably the best part of being retired.
The worst part? Over all this glorious long-weekend feeling hangs a very slight cloud, barely perceptible but still detectable, a cloud with a definite ominous tint to it. Why?
Because, no matter what, if retirement is a long weekend, nothing, but nothing, changes the fact that it is the last long weekend. Ugh.