Being retired six months, by the numbers

Self-portrait of the old geezer out standing in his field. I love this photo because it keeps me grounded.

Self-portrait of the old geezer out standing in his field. I love this photo because it keeps me grounded.

The Armchair Mayor column, The Kamloops Daily News, March 14, 2013.

I have eight suits, five sports jackets, 36 ties not including the blue one my son borrowed and never gave back, five pairs of dress shoes and 22 pairs of dress socks in my closet. Oh, and a couple of pairs of very nice cuff links.

In the past six months, today being the six-month anniversary of my retirement, I’ve worn a suit and tie three times. Some people would view that as a plus. I view it as taking up a lot of unnecessary space in the closet, and confirmation that life has changed.

I’m not sure six months is long enough to find the right retirement rhythm but I’m getting there. Not having to polish dress shoes is certainly a start.

Some days my mind wishes it were back in the newsroom; most days my body thanks me for not forcing it to do something — namely work — that it doesn’t handle as well as it used to.

Certain things are the same. I still get all the abuse I can handle from people who disagree with me. When I was young, people told me I was young and ignorant. Now they tell me I’m old and ignorant.

All things considered, I’d prefer the first option, but as one kind reader advised me, enjoy it, we old farts have earned it.

As far as I can tell, there are two kinds of retirees: those who are bored out of their skulls, and those who are “busier than ever.” Happily, I lean towards the latter.

When I was working up the jam to retire, people would ask, “What are you gonna do?” Now they ask, “What’re you doing?”

I never had a good answer, and still don’t. I couldn’t tell you exactly what I’ll be doing tomorrow, but I know whatever it is, it will be my decision and my time, of which there never seems enough.

When I do my usual inadequate job of explaining what I’m doing, people sometimes try to keep the conversation going with, “How you enjoying it?” And I reply, “The afternoon naps are nice,” and they laugh, thinking I’m kidding.

Reviews on my retirement performance are mixed. I think Syd appreciates my attempts at tidying up after myself in the kitchen so she’ll have a clean place to cook dinner after she gets home from the office. I hasten to add that I’ve offered to cook but she knows better than to let me, especially after I made her taste my quinoa brownies.

The folks at the doggie day care wish I’d find a job because they miss Jesse. The horses get fed three times a day instead of just two, so they’re fine with retirement. The cat doesn’t much care either way.

Unretired people don’t understand that retirement is hard work.  It’s just a different kind of work, and we deserve a raise. There’s a lot of time management involved. I still haven’t caught up on my emails, fixed the fence or written a novel. Spring looms and the lawn awaits. I think about these things.

Much of the knowledge I accumulated during my working years now sits unused like a filing cabinet full of old notes. A lot of it is of little consequence anyway but, fortunately, a couple of times a week I get to reach in there and use some of it.

I wonder sometimes how I’ll ever fit everything in. Making its way to the top of the list, though, is bestowing on the thrift shop at least half a dozen suits, and maybe a few ties.


About Mel Rothenburger (9230 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

1 Comment on Being retired six months, by the numbers

  1. Mel;A couple of things you,ve probably discoverd in your dotage is that most of the younger set don,t really want to suffer many of your opinions anyway and this increasingly insane old world is rolling along at exactly the same speed without you.
    Thats a good photo. I,ve got one in video I look at in the bathroom mirror every morning. Most disconcerting.
    We delivered 10 round bales up the valley yesterday.The clutch is slipping in 5th so I don,t know whether to part the old girl out or fix it.It has become increasingly more difficult in the last couple of years to crawl around under all this old junk I have managed to keep afloat,and my advisor is becoming increasingly impatient with,” Carol–come and give me a hand for a minute”. I think it,s the minute bit.”Why dontcha buy a new one”is one of her favorite phrases.Doesn,t she know that what with inflation and the fact that with modern pills and medicine and the exercise we get around here,we may live to 100.I try to explain to her that frugality and thriftyness must be practiced.
    ” B——t,is her favorite reply”.

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