As most of my half-dozen readers know, I am retired. So is Sal. In theory, anyway, I am resting, taking it easy or generally living life to the fullest depending on what retirement myth the reader has bought in to. The reality of retirement is a smidge different. And it keeps getting different-er.
Retirement (for me, and Sal, anyway) is generally unpredictable, ever-changing, busy, 90% volunteer or non-remunerative and – this is the only consistent part – tiring. We get tired now.
Sal and I get up and get to doing things before 8:00 AM and we seem to go at a slower but steady pace until about 6:00 PM. Then we kind of veg out or, maybe socialize (as little as possible) until 9:00PM. At nine, half my mind conks out (rendering me stupid). The other half is charged with getting the rest of me horizontal as soon as possible. Rarely do I stay up past 11:00. Nine days out of ten, I don’t see or hear many ticks of the clock past 10:00. Sal is a machine – 7:30 to 10:30 with few, if any deviations.
So we each have 15 hours to work with and, well, some of them at least are not spent all that efficiently. There’s your habituated ablutions, eating, dog-walking and tea and wine drinking to mention the big ones. There’s time spent on the computer reading lies and news and making some of it up myself for the blog. And there are the chores, tasks and mini-goals that we set for ourselves all the time (pick up milk, gas the car, get prescriptions, library, Craigslist, etc.). Basically, our productive time is pretty limited to unproductive things.
But we managed to squeeze in writing a book over the past two or three years so that was good and, if you should ever read that book (unnecessary if you read the blog) you will know that we also build sheds, get in the winter fire-wood, fix boats and generally get up to something creative every year (last year was the BIG solar array – this year may be the guest bathroom. There is a long to-do list). We have the garden to tend, the buildings to maintain, the guests to receive and, of course, the boats to mess about in. We may not be busy but sometimes it feels busy.
And we occasionally travel. Usually just in the winter, tho. And travel is the big disrupter in our lives. Even going to town for a shopping day is disruptive but going to another city like Victoria or Vancouver now feels like all hell has broken loose. Things are forgotten (“Did you remember to bring…?”), schedules have to be followed. Names remembered. Social obligations fulfilled. Inevitably little crisis erupt as a result of being out of the normal routine.
If you wonder if you are getting old just measure how much time is now spent trying to keep everything the same and as it should be – and then compare that to when you were young and trying to discover everything new and different out there! Youth – when surprises and small disasters were interesting. We have turned the corner on that one, to be sure. If you don’t count the dirt bike I just bought and need to fix, I think our last ‘let’s give it a shot’ effort was chicken-busing through El Salvadore a couple of years ago. That was a wake-up call.
No more El Salvadore. Prob’ly no more chicken-buses.
“So, what’s your point, Dave?”
Confession is good for the soul – is all. And I am confessing. We are getting a smidge older. We kinda like a bit more routine than we ever have. We kinda don’t like surprises as much as we used to. Our energy levels are diminishing and more of that which we do have is spent keeping the basic home and hearth maintained. Put another way: we are not likely to explore Patagonia on an old motorcycle retracing Che’, anymore. The bucket list hasn’t run dry but it has been put away. On a high and distant shelf. We are not old but we are getting older and now feeling it a bit.
Maybe Joe Cocker’s death has hit me harder than I realized……..?