I’m now three months into retirement (you know, that thing that sad-assed, old farts do, but you, yourself, will never have to deal with because you’ll be forever young) and I’ve learned a few things.
First, I still feel guilty almost every day when I wake up and realize I don’t have to go to work. No demands on me, no rigid schedule, no answering to “the man.” Who’s paying for this? Jeeze, what a deal! It’s like going to school but having recess all day long.
Second, I’ve been able to indulge myself with daily workouts, weekly yoga (Ommmmm!), daily writing sessions, long walks with my dog, and just recently, meeting with a group of people who like to talk about politics, economics, foreign policy, and declining societal values. All this, without guzzling beer and without shouting. Imagine that. Of course, it would make for very poor TV.
Something else, and it’s much more subtle: I find myself driving a little more slowly these days and enjoying the ride. Every morning on my way to the gym, I take the road along the coast. It’s longer but it’s endlessly fascinating and, more important, it’s calming. Yeah, I know it’s a cliche but it’s true–the world out there is gorgeous but too often we miss it because we’re in such a hurry to arrive at our next destination.
Speaking of destinations, I’ve already taken a road trip to the South, and I’ll soon be taking another one to the West Coast. Travelin’ man. Forty years ago, I would have hitchhiked; these days, I’m traveling in style, in a 2006 Honda CRV. That wanderlust, which I exercised as a young man throughout Europe and South America, and as a career man at CNN, is still there.
No bingo games, no shuffleboard, no 4:30 discount dinners at Denny’s for me. No sir.
Which is not to say that I’m occasionally reminded that I’m not as sharp as I once was. I went out trick-or-treating with our grandson a few nights ago, along with hordes of other children and their parents. At one point, I leaned over and said to him, “Hey, lemme have one of your candies, okay?…How about this one?” He gave me a funny look. A moment later, a woman stood over us with a thin, puzzled smile on her face.
I took another quick look at my “grandson.” Turns out it wasn’t him, just some other boy about the same age and same height. Yikes. Who let grandpa out of the old folks home?