Have a plan, man!

When I was at the grocery store yesterday, I saw a guy I used to work with.  He was wandering around with a cup of coffee in his hand.  I eventually found out that he was there with his wife, but it seemed pretty evident that he was enjoying just wandering around looking for people he knew to talk to.  So we talked.

I asked him when he retired.  He said in October.  I said, “What are you doing now.”  He said, “Nothing.  Well, I’ve done a few things that needed fixing around the house.”

I enjoyed visiting with him for a few minutes, but my over-all impression was that he is bored. So I came home with the conviction that I would post about retirement and what you might want to consider before you get there so that you don’t have to hang around the grocery store, drinking coffee and looking for someone to visit with, to fill your time after you retire!

Fifteen or twenty years ago Hubby and I attended a class about retirement provided by my employer for anyone over 45 and their spouse.  It was called Opportunities Unlimited and was lead by my very own dear friend, Linda.  (She has never claimed to be a public speaker and I would even say has shied away from it, but she did an excellent job at leading this group.)

It was a fascinating class because it made you really think about the realities of retirement — something I’m guessing alot of people at least used to not do.  I won’t go into alot of the details because I’m thinking this might be a subject that Linda could enjoy posting about herself.  But when I saw our former co-worker at the grocery, it made me think about that class, and wonder if he attended.

One of the things that was stressed in the class was that you need to plan for what your days will be like when you retire.  Yes, for a while it will be fun to get up in the morning and say, “What do I have to do today?  Ha Ha!  NOTHING!”  But after a few weeks that will get old and you need to have some plans for how you will fill your days.  A part-time job?  Doing volunteer work for a worthy charity?  Playing a game like golf or bowling in a league, so that you get into the routine of playing regularly?  Trying a new game like pickle ball or chess?  Taking classes about subjects that interest you?  Working out at a gym?  Traveling?  Maybe just regularly working jigsaw puzzles or playing board games with your spouse.  Any combination of activities you like that will keep your mind and body active.

And then on the occasions when you have time in your busy schedule to go to the grocery store, and you run into a former co-worker, when she asks you, “What are you doing now?”, you can rattle off a list of what keeps you busy, not only impressing her but making you feel good about yourself too.

When Hubby and I retired, someone said to us that he would give us about six months to become couch potatoes who sat and watched TV all day every day.  It’s been four years now, and it hasn’t happened yet.

Don’t let that happen to you either.  Have a plan, man!

7 Responses to Have a plan, man!

  1. Linda says:

    Ah, I should take my own advice. I don’t remember a lot of the specifics from that retirement course, and I no longer have the materials. So feel free to share whatever you can remember. I will say, though…you and your Hubby make great retirees. 🙂

  2. Sandra says:

    Linda — Ha! Yes, Hubby and I are working toward our professional retiree certification. ;P

  3. Margaret says:

    Now that is some great advice! Thanks for sharing your experience!

  4. Sandra says:

    Margaret — I’m glad if it has some value to you. I know retirement may seem a long way off to you, but it never hurts to think about any huge life change way ahead.

  5. C. Beth says:

    Obviously I read your follow-up post first! I admire your retired life!

  6. carlahoag says:

    Pickle ball? Please tell me what pickle ball is!

  7. Sandra says:

    Beth — Thank you. I assume it’s obvious that we are really enjoying it. 🙂

    Carla — Pickle ball is played on a court much like a tennis court. You use paddles that look like a ping pong paddle but are bigger. And the ball is the size of a baseball but is a whiffle ball. Oh and also, the net is down against the court so that you are hitting the ball over a fairly low object. Hubby and I have tried it and even bought the paddles, but my knee surgery got in the way of us playing it this year. We’ll probably try it next year.

    I have no idea where the name came from, but the first time I heard about it was when a friend moved to the Villages in Florida. She was a very committed tennis player here, but when they got down there she told me that “nobody” played tennis down there — they all played pickle ball.

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