Retirement indulgences are highly individualistic pleasures. Some consider them ‘guilty pleasures’.
I consider retirement indulgences the benefits of life after work. Retirement indulgences are those pleasures that give enjoyment and make life worth living. There is no guilt involved.
Retirement is the time in life to indulge in freedoms that come with growing older, having time for yourself, and finding contentment in your own way.
When I think of my retirement indulgences, I begin with those things I consider my ‘morning delights’. These delights include freshly brewed coffee that I drink while sitting in my favourite chair in living room, noticing the rhythms of the neighbourhood waking, and playing with my cats. I listen to world news on CBC, write in my journal, and make a plan for the day. Later, my husband joins me with his coffee and it’s time for some conversation. Starting the day slowly and deliberately is truly one of my retirement indulgences — something there was never time to enjoy when rushing to leave the house for work.
Another retirement indulgence is nap time. Whether it’s a nap during a rainy afternoon, a nap after a vigorous gym workout, or a quick nap after dinner, a nap restores energy. Taking a nap when I feel like it is an indulgence. It makes me happy and brings feelings of overall well-being.
Spending time playing with my grand-daughter is another retirement indulgence. I pick her up from Montessori school and take her to the park, or bake muffins with her, or simply play chase or other games of her choosing. I’m happy that I don’t have to miss hearing her laughter and squeals of delight. I watch as she conquers developmental milestones and marvel at her accomplishments. The time I spend with this child can never be replaced. There is no ‘clock’ time involved as I completely enjoy every moment.
No list of retirement indulgences is complete without mention of red wine or good chocolate. Knowing that the antioxidants from grape skins may lead to reduced risk of heart disease makes indulging in red wine feel like making a choice for health, and not for pleasure. Chocolate may also protect the heart and keep the brain agile. Whether or not this is so, enjoying a glass of wine and few bites of chocolate is an indulgence to be enjoyed — retired or not! On a personal note, I will add oysters with hot sauce, a taste that I acquired many years ago while on a road trip through Cape Breton, freshly cooked spring asparagus from my garden, and perfectly ripened Ontario tomatoes.
Wearing comfortable clothes is another retirement indulgence. I love my wardrobe of jeans, soft tee shirts, warm sweaters, and good walking shoes. On days when I have to ‘dress’ up for an event, I do so but I am happiest when I get home and don my comfy togs. I have vague, mostly uncomfortable, memories of business suits, panty hose, and pumps which were the work uniform that I sometimes wore for 16 hours straight.
Technology is another retirement indulgence. High tech advances already offer wonderful connectivity benefits. The internet brings a world of information to any screen. Most of us already enjoy smart phones, smart cars and smart devices in our homes. Many older people use monitoring services that connect them to health management centers. Smart appliances turn themselves off when not in active use. Apps are available to monitor physiological and behavioral information that provides useful health feedback. Soon, we’ll own self driving cars — something I look forward to so that I don’t have all those parking and reversing problems!
Having time for impromptu and planned visits with friends is another indulgence. Whether it’s a phone call that brings a lunch invitation, or an email suggesting a game of bridge, or an opportunity for a weekend getaway, retirement makes easy to enjoy spontaneous activities.
This list of retirement indulgences is modest. It could include travel to exotic locations, continuing education studies, pursuit of a new career, volunteering, time for hobbies, time for exercise, and a myriad of other activities available to retired people. I’ve included the things that give me warm feelings of contentment and pleasure.
I hope I’ve tweaked your thoughts about retirement indulgences that matter to you. Your list will differ, but I urge all postworksavvy readers to explore the pleasures of retirement that bring mental satisfaction and happiness.