Ah-h-h-h the weekend. When you work a 9-5, Monday through Friday week, Fridays, and especially Friday nights, take on a sense of anticipation for the one day when you can relax, sleep in if you want, putter around the house or the yard, meet friends for dinner and a drink or take the kids to the park. Saturday. Whatever you want. Even if your Saturday is filled with chores around the house, shopping, laundry and prep for the following work week, Saturday is still a time when the only pressure is the pressure you put on yourself. There’s no deadline looming on the horizon, no boss looking over your shoulder, no employees laying a crisis at your feet or dissatisfied customers to mollify. Just Saturday.
So, what happens when everyday in your life is Saturday? I’m finding the question which comes after, “How did you retire so early?” is, “What do you do all day?” Well, the simple answer is, pretty much whatever I want. There are still limitations, of course. But, the limitations are generally self-inflicted. If you make a commitment to watch a grandchild on a certain day, well, you can’t go gallivanting around the countryside on the back of the Kawasaki that day. Spending time with your grandchild, however, is infinitely more rewarding than anything else you may want to do, so, it’s not like you’re being deprived. Your days are filled with choices, your choices for the most part.
One of the main questions asked of us by financial planners was whether we intended to travel. While many approaching retirement express an avid interest in circling the globe, one of our discoveries about ourselves was how little extensive travel appealed to us in the end. We prefer the short jaunt. Mini-trips. Zipping to Blowing Rock, North Carolina on the motorcycle for a few days of biking and hiking through gorgeous scenery. Or a short hop to Michigan to see the grandkids (oh, yeah, and their parents). Or a brief stay at a relative’s house somewhere along the line to catch up with family. No, we’re not the RV type but, if you are, the gift of independence is….you spend your time however you want to spend it.
Mind you there are still chores. We’ll never escape the ‘have to do’ aspect of living. But, even chores take on a whole new aspect. If you use today’s Saturday to clean the house, change out the sheets and towels, shop for groceries, clean out the gutters or replace light bulbs, you still have six other Saturdays left to do whatever you want. Or, you can spread the chores across all your Saturdays doing a little bit each day. Again, choices.
So, what you do all day is up to you. Retirement is not an end. It is, instead, a beginning. And you begin by understanding your life is more your own than ever before. The schedules are whatever you create, if you create schedules at all. Your time is yours to dictate. You are truly independent in your thinking and doing. Every day is Saturday, every evening is Friday night filled with anticipation.