60 minutes every hour, 24 hours every day, 7 days every week and 12 months every year.
Today marks 10 weeks since I left my office. I have had 70 days of retirement or 1680 hours! Where has the time gone? What have I accomplished? Have I been wasting precious time? How is time really spent?
In previous posts I have extolled the freedom that comes from no office schedule, the value of flexibility in how time is spent, and the luxury of spending summer at the beach. I have rejected setting rigid goals and have tried to limit daily ‘to do’ lists. But there is remains an orientation to achieve that nags at me and wants to keep me focused on what I am doing with the postwork phase of life. What am I doing with the time? Given that the way time is spent reflects the priorities of life, it is useful to analyze what activities account for the hours, days and weeks.
This blog post looks at what has happened in the past 70 days or 1680 hours. How was the time used?
- I will begin with sleeping time. Instead of averaging 5 – 6 hours per night, I am luxuriating in sleeping for 8 – 10 hours every night. During the first few weeks of retirement I was also taking regular afternoon naps to make up for years of sleep deficits. Fortunately, the need for daily naps is gone. The payoff from getting enough sleep at night is that my energy level during the day is consistent. I can also read the newspaper without falling asleep. The bonus is that those close to me say that I am easier to live with! At an average of 9 hours per day plus naps, sleep accounts for more than 25% of the retirement hours.
- Enjoying a liberal amount of playtime or goof-off time just hanging out with my husband, playing with my cats, chatting with neighbours and being idle has also taken time. Daily playtime accounts for several hours for which I offer no apology and which is a reward for so many years devoted to a demanding career.
- Attending to some health concerns and getting regular physical exercise has been another focus. Despite recent mobility issues due to osteoarthritis which have required many medical appointments, I continue to devote time to practising yoga, walking, and going to the gym. The yoga sometimes happens in formal classes, sometimes in the morning sunshine on the deck, and sometimes on the mat in my living room. When at the cottage, I walk on the beach for approximately 2 hours every day. The gym is not a favourite place for me but I know that weight bearing exercise is essential to maintain muscle mass in an aging body so thus the hard work on those machines! At an average of 1.5 hours for 5 days per week, exercise has taken 75 hours.
- On some days I get consumed with writing a post for this blog or learning more about blogging and spend hours at the computer. On other days I scarcely glance at emails so it is difficult to assess time spent on blogging but it likely averages to be about 2 hours per day.
- Some of my time has been spent catching up on home duties including organizing and beginning the process of de-cluttering — both at home and at the cottage. I have also been doing some of the things that I previously paid someone else to do. Along with daily and weekly household chores and errands, cooking a few meals, and taming my garden, home duties average 1 to 2 hours per day –sometimes more, sometimes less depending on my energy and the weather.
- Reading. Having free time has finally allowed me time to tackle a large pile of novels that have accumulated over the years and I have been finishing one or two books every week. Having caught up the sleep deprivation, I can also read for some length of time without falling asleep! Reading is a wonderfully passive activity that can consume hours.
- Entertaining. Most weekends include guests – sometimes for a special dinner or a barbecue and sometimes to stay over at the cottage. Catching up on visits that were postponed due to work commitments will take more than the 10 short weeks since I left the office. While entertaining gives great pleasure, there is a certain amount of preparation involved including marketing, food preparation and readying the house — especially for sleepovers.
When reviewing this list, it looks mundane. There is no glamorous travel, no exciting adventure, no life-changing events. Readers may think it a dull life, yet it has been a delightful ten weeks. The luxury of sleeping enough, of reading books for enjoyment, exploring new interests and re-connecting with friends has been pleasurable and satisfying. With no reason to pursue a lifestyle that is driven by deadlines there is time to savour the unexpected moments, to change course in the middle of the day, to be flexible and easy about activities.
Has the time been wasted? By some measures, yes. Am I bored? Not a chance! Not all of the hours nor all of the days can be fully accounted for. But in terms of postworksavvy, it has not been wasted; rather, it has been spent in soul restoring pursuits.
Retirement brings the right to ‘waste’ time, or, to ‘spend’ it in the way suits the moment. Making choices in how to use time is a well-earned postworksavvy reward. Enjoy!
Are you satisfied with how you spend your time? What does it mean to you? Are you still driven by external demands? Please email your thoughts and comments.
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