I have no obligations, no deadlines today, except for writing this post. As I sit here listening to the light rain falling outside, the incessant robin's call in the tree, and the white-crowned sparrow tweeting away, I ponder what feels relevant to share. Sometimes I have to wait until I've finished the post to find out what will emerge, especially on days like today when nothing particular is on my mind. There is a little bit of anxiety that I will fritter this post away, filling it with fluff because I'm unable to pull anything of substance from the cabinet of my mind.
I don't usually allow myself "free" days, those without a structure. I like having a schedule; it gives me a reason to get up in the morning, fix breakfast and head out the door. It's always been that way for me, and years of being in the office by 7:00am have morphed into my schedule of leaving the house around that time and walking to the bus. Tomorrow, Memorial Day, the buses aren't running and the Y is closed anyway. Although the coffee shop will be open, I won't be there. I could drive or ride my bike, but I will probably join Al and some other Trailblazers for an impromptu hike in the wilderness.
I've been retired for five years now, and the structure of my days is fully entrenched. It's only those pesky holidays when everything comes to a halt that I need to develop some alternate plan. I have plenty of books to read, but it's not my style to spend the day indoors. I like to be out and about, and then come home and read, watch TV, or visit with Smart Guy. I also spend a fair amount of time reading the blogs I follow and writing comments. I carry my laptop into the living room and stretch out in the recliner with it. However, I find that I get restless after awhile and need to get up and move around.
Some people like the free flow of their days, without a plan or obligations. To me, it would feel restrictive instead of freeing. That said, I am careful not to obligate myself to activities that aren't fun for me. I tried a bit of volunteering and found that it was more like work than I was comfortable with. I take my neighbor to the grocery store since she doesn't drive any more, but that's not on a rigid schedule. I go to the movies with my friend Judy, or we go out to dinner if it works out for the two of us. These are fulfilling activities and don't feel anything like work. I don't miss my Thursday hikes if I can help it, because I know they will be enjoyable and I'll be in the company of my friends. On Saturday mornings I meet the walking group for a brisk outing, but if I decide to go south to Snohomish to play with my skydiving buddies, nobody is going to be surprised.
When I was working, my life revolved around my career and my boss's needs. That is all different now, and weekends don't mean the same thing to me any more. What's a weekend when you are not tied to a job? It takes on a different character entirely.
The structure of my life is fully established here in the Pacific Northwest. I don't see it changing any time soon, unless I get sick or injured, and then I'll need to deal with that. But for now, it's smooth sailing. It's interesting to wonder what other retired people do with their time. Are you retired? What makes you feel good about your days? If you want to share, I'm curious to know: do you like deadlines and obligations, or do they make you feel restricted?