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Did leisure time activities change much after retirement?
Old 05-05-2013, 08:52 PM   #1
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Did leisure time activities change much after retirement?

I'm a couple years from retirement, and I'm wondering if my retirement life will resemble an enlarged version of my current leisure time activities -- basically doing a lot of nothing -- or whether I will be struck by inspiration and filled with energies previously directed to work, filled with enthusiasm and a venturesome spirit, set to climb figurative mountains.

Most of my leisure time now is spent in what I would call "leave me alone" or "I don't want to be bothered" mode. I accomplish very little aside from routine household chores. I don't socialize much. I rest; I nap; I eat; I watch TV and fiddle on the internet; I read a little. Mostly I just take it easy and don't do anything much of anything.

So I'm wondering, is that what I have to look forward to in retirement, just more of that? I am hoping that all the energies I expended on work will be freed up, and I will be motivated to do the things I tell myself I will be doing in retirement (but which I have no energy for now) -- writing, camping, travelling, socializing, building relationships, taking classes, etc.

I guess another way of saying this is, I have dreams for what a retirement leisure lifestyle will look like, but when I compare it to my current leisure lifestyle, there is a huge gap, and I have to ask myself, if I don't feel like doing those things now, why do I think I'll do them in retirement? Will being retired change things all that much, or will I just continue to do what I'm doing now in my leisure time -- just more of it?

I know no one can tell me what I will be doing in retirement, and that's it's ultimately up to me. But I'm curious what people's experience has been. If you compare how you spent your leisure time before retirement to how you spent it after retirement, is there a big difference there? Or was it just basically an expansion of what you were already doing in your leisure time?
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Old 05-05-2013, 09:01 PM   #2
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I think it's good to take time to decompress. I smile when I read posts about how people leap into things like traveling to Africa a month away from work. It makes me wonder if they retired too late.
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Old 05-05-2013, 10:40 PM   #3
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For me the big change was not ERing but switching from working full-time to part-time
(including a mostly telecommute gig). My leisure time up to that point was like yours - not doing much of anything and not doing stuff I really wanted to do but could not due to fatigue and lack of time/desire.

Months before I made the change to part-time, I was already planning to do one activity (school Scrabble volunteer) and began the lengthy process of applying for it. The other activity did not need much lead time so I waited until the PT gig began. It was an evening activity so simply not having to work that day enabled me to resurrect that thing.

When you ER, you will be able to do those everyday chores and local errands during off-peak times such as weekday late mornings when there are far fewer people doing them.

So I would advise you to seek out the things you could not do because you were too tired or unavailable due to working and start doing them in your ER (as you seem to be preparing yourself for already). Then every day will seem like a weekend!
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Old 05-06-2013, 12:22 AM   #4
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Before I retired I always wanted to do some big deal get out of town type thing.

One of my favorite things now is to alternate reading books I have wanted to read, with rowing on my rowing machine. And I cook all my meals, so these things can use up most of a day.

I also like to go out and walk around the city.

I like to dance, but lately I have been kind of held back because of hip pain. I am finally getting up the nerve to see if I need surgery.

Like many other members, I run out of day long before I run out of attractive things to do.

Ha
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Old 05-06-2013, 07:01 AM   #5
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Yes, how I spent my retirement time was quite different from my leisure time while working. Precisely that several of the purely recreative activities got dropped. What surprised us most was that we dropped the frequent sailing. It was a lifesaver while working because it was such a great destresser and something we could do after work. Once retired we didn't need that destressing plus we were traveling too much to maintain a boat.

But other activities like hiking and bird watching - increased quite a bit.

We traveled when we could while working - even just short day or weekend trips. This expanded considerably after retiring, and was what we most looked forward to after retiring.
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Old 05-06-2013, 07:14 AM   #6
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My advice would be to not try to force yourself into what you currently perceive as desirable activities. Give yourself time and see what makes you happy - then do that some more. Unless you are on a destructive path like drinking or gambling, for example, it really doesn't matter what you spend your time doing, as long as you are happy.
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Old 05-06-2013, 07:23 AM   #7
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Yes, how I spent my retirement time was quite different from my leisure time while working. Precisely that several of the purely recreative activities got dropped. What surprised us most was that we dropped the frequent sailing. It was a lifesaver while working because it was such a great destresser and something we could do after work. Once retired we didn't need that destressing plus we were traveling too much to maintain a boat.

But other activities like hiking and bird watching - increased quite a bit.
Great activities (as are sailing and biking). I am finding you have more time to notice things you didn't before. I'm not a binocular-type guy, but I like having time in the morning to notice birds that I apparently missed in the past. A new one, very handsome, showed up just today. No idea what he or she is, but clearly is not retired - they're busy!
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Little Change In the Fun, Just More of It
Old 05-06-2013, 07:35 AM   #8
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Little Change In the Fun, Just More of It

Yes, I vividly remember being so tired that all I could do was crash on the couch and vegetate.

Now, better rested and de-stressed, I'm free to carve out the day into what I want it to be: some days I just drift off into 8 hrs. of reading a novel I'd put off for 10 years; other days I work out, or walk 3 miles, or run errands. It just depends on the motivation for that day.

The mind is now free for more intriguing ventures as well. When you make the change, you might be surprised how your rested mind and body could be ready for new versions of fun. Seven days of "weekend," every week, provide endless opportunities for happy living!



Oh, but here's a caveat: retirement did nothing to improve me as a "domestic goddess." The meals are no better. The house is not cleaner. Spring has come to Ohio and weeds are sprouting in our flower beds, but I STILL procrastinate on doing anything about it. (Work used to be a FABULOUS excuse.) So, I still don't like yard work or housework. And even though the need to do them is there each day, I'm no more motivated about them than I was at the age of 12.

Thankfully, DH has a lower tolerance for dirt and mess than I do. When he can't stand it any more, he charges forth in "clean this place up" mode. Then I can't find my stuff..........but that's another story....
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Old 05-06-2013, 07:55 AM   #9
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I didn't have a list of things to do but very quickly found myself occupied, in a pleasant way. The few new things I thought about doing in the beginning are still waiting. The biggest change so far has been just slowing down to enjoy scenery.

What Mr. Ha said sums it up perfectly for me

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Like many other members, I run out of day long before I run out of attractive things to do.
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Old 05-06-2013, 08:02 AM   #10
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I didn't change a lot, mainly increased my reading because I could. By chance DW and I both went on a cycling vacation about a year after I ERd and both discovered that we really like riding. So now about 80 miles of rides a week plus a stable of bikes is a key part of our lifestyle. That is a significant change but was not planned.

As a side issue, it took me about 15 minutes to adjust to not working. Just a great relief that still thrills me 8 years later when I step out on the street on a weekday morning and see all the commuters rushing to the Metro.
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Old 05-06-2013, 05:45 PM   #11
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Yes, I vividly remember being so tired that all I could do was crash on the couch and vegetate.

Now, better rested and de-stressed, I'm free to carve out the day into what I want it to be: [....].
Thank you, that is right on target. Thanks to everyone for their feedback. I think this thread has helped me recognize (again) how much of my life energy is being eaten up by my work. Sometimes I kid myself that it's just a 40 hour gig. But if most of my leisure time is spent doing nothing, just resting and recuperating, then the actual cost of work is much higher than just 40 hours. There's a term for that. "Opportunity cost," I think.

Makes me sad. Work takes too much from me. Or I give too much to it.

On the other hand, it does give me hope that, once I'm retired, I will eventually, after a period of rest, feel like doing something more than just lazing around the house all day.

"Not that there's anything wrong with that..."
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Old 05-06-2013, 05:55 PM   #12
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I will be retiring next year.
I've made a list of things I like to do: mainly hobbies , exercise schedule, financial studies of investments, trips, etc.
I will also be moving to a locale that has more venues for the said hobbies.

Just looking at the list and making researches, I think I will have a hard time doing them all or becoming good at all. There will be compromises, and it's all a matter or time, energy anf money.

I also think that I may have to slow down and think about what is important for me, not just keeping something in the schedule bec. I planned it.
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Old 05-06-2013, 06:00 PM   #13
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Since retiring, I don't have to wait for the weekend to golf with my other retired buddies. My golf partner is retiring soon and that will be one more available during the week. Also do not have to ration vacation days for fishing trips, out of town golf trips and visits to family a couple of states away. That still leaves lots of time for relaxing and taking care of things around the house. A little consulting for the first couple of years was fine but really interferred with other things i would rather be doing.
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Old 05-06-2013, 07:10 PM   #14
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Interesting post! I'm not retired yet, but am naturally a high-energy person with a lot of interests while also an introvert who needs downtime. For many years, I wore myself out trying to pursue all my interests in addition to a full-time job. I'm clearly slow to catch on, but in recent years I have discovered that, like the OP, on weekends my preferred state is "cocooning," with perhaps one scheduled activity at most.

One of the reasons I'm most looking forward to retirement is so that I can pursue all my dormant interests balanced by the downtime I need. My parents are retired and very busy pursuing their passions and that is the kind of life I envision for myself.
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Old 05-06-2013, 08:48 PM   #15
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Since retiring, I have been able to spend more time at the gym and being active than previously. I went to the gym when I was working, but just didn't have the time for it that I now have. I have continued some of my other pre-retirement leisure activities too, and have had the time to pursue them in greater depth than ever before. I am the same person that I was before retirement and I like doing the same things, plus I have added a few.

I love the fact that Frank and I can spend more time together now because work doesn't interfere. Every day we eat out, run errands together, and go for a pleasure drive, just hang out, or go to the gym if it is a gym day.

Surprisingly, we have lost interest in going on local road trips. These were one of our favorite escapes when we were working. There is nothing to stress us out, nothing get away from, any more.

At one point I had a list of 22 new interests/hobbies that I wanted to pursue after retirement, but I haven't had the time for them!
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Old 05-06-2013, 09:23 PM   #16
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One thing retirement gives you is time for bigger projects. You might not have wanted to start something that you have time to really work on, but in retirement that's not an issue.
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Old 05-07-2013, 07:00 AM   #17
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One thing retirement gives you is time for bigger projects. You might not have wanted to start something that you have time to really work on, but in retirement that's not an issue.
True. Got a home renovation project going on that would have been a PITA if I was still working. Still a PITA as it is getting in the way of my golf. I want my leisure time back!
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Old 05-07-2013, 07:14 AM   #18
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There was one change that was the result of my retirement. Some others, mostly family members, felt some of my time was now available to satisfy some of their needs, and that I was being selfish by not accommodating them. They feel boldly empowered to claim "fair share" over my time and priorities. Even now, after 14 years, the "but you're retired, I'm still working so it's easy for you" card is still being played.
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Old 05-07-2013, 08:08 AM   #19
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What you do during retirement and how busy you want to be is very much up to you. When I was working, I resented the job because it was keeping me from doing activities away from office and rushing my routine personal life so much so that taking a shower or house activities feel like chores. Everything is so different during retirement. I get to go out as much as I like or stay at home and just enjoy my home. I am traveling a lot, exercising a great deal, meeting up friend and trying out new restaurants a lot, I also watch a lot of movies and TV which is what I always wanted to do when I was working. I do household activities and don't look at them as chores. I take long baths, enjoy spa time, take time to breathe mor, golf during week days and weekends.......Yes, being retired is wonderful. I do more variety of things now and enjoy them.
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Old 05-07-2013, 12:24 PM   #20
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That sounds pretty nice, Moscyn. I'll look forward to having a life like that.
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