Last year, when I hit the 1-year mark post-retirement, I wrote about what I'd learned. I'm at the two-year mark now, so it's time for an update. I suspect this will be my last one, since things are leveling out for me. I'm not sure if this will apply to anyone else or not, but I thought I'd share.
1. The main adjustment I've had to make is to life being smooth.
I just don't have much I have to "cope" with or deal with anymore. No big problems, no major decisions to wrestle with. Knock on wood.
While this equanimity is nice, it's also something I've had to get used to, because it feels strange. Sometimes I wonder if I'm doing something wrong.
It's not that I like problems or struggles. It's that, typically, those things were the impetus for a lot of personal learning and growth. I value that. Of course, I could create problems and struggles for myself, but that would be dumb. Besides, I like the ease and peace of mind I have. It's just taken me a while to get used to the lack of struggle.
2. I've developed a "routine," or a set of habits, that I like.
I do pretty much the same thing every day: reading and coffee in the morning, bike ride, take my dog to the park, then a couple hours of writing and social media, followed by dog walk, then a big lunch and a nap. The afternoon is similar. I won't lay it all out for you, because it would bore you.
The point is, I've developed a routine I like. Sometimes I worry, "Have I fallen into a rut?" I don't think so, because although the activities are roughly the same, the content is always different. Whenever things start to feel stale, I shift the routine a little. So far, so good.
3. I've kept in touch with one friend from work, but I haven't had contact with any others.
Establishing new friendships has been kind of tough because of the pandemic, but that's okay.
4. Speaking of the pandemic, it's been nice to see that I've survived the "isolation" quite well
. I could even say that 2020-2021 have been some of the best years of my life. I'm a big introvert with a lot of solitary hobbies (e.g., reading, writing), so the enforced isolation hasn't been a bad thing.
5. Writing has turned out to be a big part of my retirement.
I've learned that I enjoy blogging. I started one blog, then eventually turned that material into a book. Like many people, I have always wanted to write a book, and now I have. That's kind of satisfying.
It's not really about that, though. It's more about the pleasure of writing itself. I get into the "flow" of it. Hours can pass while I'm absorbed in the work, then I'll look at the clock and be stunned at how much time has gone by. It's something constructive to do in retirement. It's a way of giving my mind something to chew on, a problem to solve. I also think it helps a few people, so that's good, too.
It's nothing big. Small-audience stuff, relatively niche subjects. The book is just a modest self-published effort. But it gives me satisfaction and feels like meaningful activity, which I need.
6. I've started to buy some nerdy stuff to hang on my walls -- stuff that is kind of silly, but it makes me smile.
Prior to this, all the artwork in my home was pretty serious -- you know, abstracts from famous artists, nature scenes, etc. But I'm starting to populate my walls with stuff that is kind of fun or nerdy, but which I think is kind of cool. I mean, why not? I've got the money. I'm not trying to impress anyone with my decor. Why not have some fun?
For instance, here's a poster that just arrived yesterday:
I used to be into science fiction when I was a kid, and these old pulp SF covers (that's a reproduction of a magazine cover from the 50s) make me smile. I've also started to read some of the old SF writers I enjoyed as an adolescent.
Anyhow, that's about all that occurs to me. Onwards to year three.