The fourth day of this head cold and I feel that I am languishing in a state of total inertia. In retirement jumping out of bed on a morning has commonly been driven by my passion for morning exercise classes. Presently and until Wednesday, I have cancelled them all. My calendar is blank and time is devoted solely to staying warm and cosseting myself.

To be fair, I have detected sufficent improvement in the malaise enveloping me that I am at least now looking at potential plans for activities going forward.

From time to time, I do look at the original strategy for retirement that I committed to writing back in 2014. Ashamed yesterday by how much of Britain I have not seen, do I now add to my mortification by potentially calculating how far away I am from fulfilling my own agenda? After all if I'm already feeling melancholy from a heavy cold, would a diagnosis of failure make me suffer any further? Perhaps adopting a dead cat strategy and analysing progress at this juncture might actually be a good thing.

Fortunately, now that I have glanced at them again those plans may have been strategic but they did not form a checklist, only a framework for the direction in which I saw retirement taking when I embraced it. Moreover and truly, with only a couple of exceptions, the reality has not been so far from the blueprint that I formulated:

1. Like most other retirees, to travel and see the world
2. For me to undertake an interior design course
3. To complete a circumnavigation of the British Isles
4. To continue to volunteer, currently in my case as a school governor and almshouse trustee
5. To spend more time as a couple and also with family
6. To investigate still further our family tree, visiting many of the places inhabited by our ancestors
7. To remain physically active and seek to improve fitness levels by swimming, walking and in the gym
8. To declutter and give our home a complete make-over
9. To finally embark on some of the design/landscape projects we have in mind for the garden
10. To keep our minds active and potentially learn more foreign languages to assist on our travels
11. To enjoy the arts: reading more, visiting the latest art gallery and museum exhibitions and taking in the cinema and theatre
12. To actively seek out the opportunity for "adventures"
13. To see friends more often, making up for years of neglect and as they retire too, we shall maybe even become "ladies who lunch"
14. To make time for writing, especially my blogs
15. To have occasions when we shall simply revel in doing nothing at all or enjoying the very simple pleasures of life, like watching the birds on the garden feeders or admiring the flowers in the borders

In fact I might even go so far as to award myself a gold star for certain categories (7, 13 and 15 perhaps). Knowing that I've excelled at lunching and doing nothing really does make me feel better.

I acknowledge that I never did undertake an interior design course. I explored the concept with some books, got put off by the idea of mood boards and realised that what I probably needed was an apprenticeship in painting and decorating. It's amazing though what YouTube videos, a good DIY book and a lot of practice can achieve instead. 

Also we are still no nearer to completing a circumnavigation of the British Isles and, after recently letting the retirement project go, are now unlikely to do so, or at least not in our own sailing boat. Still I qualify for my free bus pass in March, and according to the Cambridge Dictionary a circumnavigation is the act of travelling around something and doesn't have to be by sea (think Phileas Fogg) but no I won't be heading off on an elephant nor, as in the film, a hot air balloon. 

Otherwise and despite reining in some of the volunteering but only to prioritise family, I am going to give myself a big pat on the back. Yes much remains a work in progress; Duolingo sends me repeated messages expressing regret that I'm not logging in as frequently as expected; decluttering may require a house move to complete; my other blogs have been abandoned to concentrate on this one. Generally,  however, retirement has been shaped to pan out as initially conceived. 

All I need is a cure for this darned virus in order to get on with it!

(Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay)




Everybody's different and I must confess that I entered retirement in 2009 without a plan. I have just drifted along from this to that as the fancy took me. Though I have squandered a lot of time I have also achieved a number of things and I don't beat myself up too much. What will be will be. I hope you are feeling 100% again before too long.
Caree Risover said…
Thank you for commenting and also for your good wishes, Yorkshire Pudding. Retirement for me has been a mix of breathless energy and activity interspersed with down periods and although I had my vague plan or framework, I too have enjoyed the flexibility to react spontaneously as opportunities have arisen or to explore a novel avenue rather different to what I might have envisaged. I guess too much planning would have detracted from the pleasure derived.
Looking at your list, reminds me of my own retirement ambitions. I'm coming up on the 5 year anniversary of my retirement and am amazed at how quickly time has passed. I think we can give ourselves a break on accomplishing retirement things as we all go interrupted by the Covid years. Get better and get back at that list!
Treaders said…
I think my retirement plan started off quite grandiose, but then quickly shrunk! Mind you, covid and the lockdowns put paid to a lot of it, and then I realized I really didn't want to do half the classes I'd been doing anyway. Duolingo sends me messages every day and so far so good. As for decluttering, I see my elderly neighbours moving their stuff out in preparation for moving into an apartment, and so I really am trying to treat my decluttering like a potential move is on the horizon - which hopefully it isn't for a long time! Goodness knows I would hate to leave this place to my kids to have to empty if and when!
Caree Risover said…
I still find it strange when I discover that my own retirement experience is not unique. RetirementCoffeeShop and Treaders, there we are all in different countries with different work experiences behind us and “boom” we now share a collective retirement experience!
Royce Shook said…
I retired in 2006 without a plan, but over the years, I discovered fulfilling activities to occupy my time. I admire those who had clear goals upon retirement. Without defined goals, one may spend excessive time pondering how to make the most of their newfound free time. You have the wonderful option of looking back to see what you did and can compare it to what you wanted to do. Congrats.
Caree Risover said…
I think retirement is very much an opportunity to search and hopefully find fulfillment. That you have discovered that is surely proof that no definitive plan is ever needed although, like you, I am envious of people who have a genuine passion they retire with the aim of pursuing. Me? I just keep dipping my toe in the water before coming back to what I always thought I’d be doing - not a plan, so much as knowing myself rather well perhaps!

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