Thinking quite a lot about what I want to do when I retire also leads me to thinking about things I don’t want to do. Some are really easy – I don’t want to stop making a contribution to the global community that I live in. I think that as things come to mind I’ll write about them and then, after I’ve retired, it will be interesting to see how life unfolds compared to my roadmap. I’m guessing that lots of women who retire make plans for what they’re going to do after they retire and I wonder how often that plan “holds”. Generally in my life when I’ve made plans I’ve found that making them has little to do with what actually unfolds.
What about in your life? Are you actually living your pre-retirement plans? How different is your life now than you thought it would be?
And now … on to my first two “won’t do this when I retire”!
#1 – I won’t climb cliffs.
#2 – I won’t de-value my own time.
A friend of ours invited us to be his guests at a charity dinner and although usually I just decline invitations on work-nights I paused this time because I started thinking about post-retirement possibilities. I said yes.
So here’s how the night unfolded.
When we arrived there was a bar set up in the lobby. On the bar there were four bottles; gin, vodka, wine, scotch. I asked for a gin and tonic (after giving such an important decision appropriate thought) and the bartender said he’d love to give me that, but he didn’t have any gin and he didn’t have any tonic. Pointed to the bottle sitting there in clear sight … gin. Asked if I should come around the counter and check to see whether or not he actually had tonic too. Waited and waited to get a gin and soda water (close enough), got it, and then entered the “big room”.
There were 9 of us sitting at a table together; 5 men and 4 women. Before I say any more let me just interject that I’m sure they are all very nice people. Brief introductions, those halting awkward moments of first conversation among people who don’t know each other, and then it started. Golf. The guys were talking about golf; talking about it as if it could possibly be of interest to anyone. Okay – cut them some slack – this is what they think is worthy of a discussion. Time passed. Then it was basketball. Lots and lots of basketball. I remembered that there were some phone calls I needed to make and left the table politely to go outside and use my cell phone.
I returned to the table where the conversation had now turned to baseball. I turned to the other women at the table, smiled, and said “maybe we should change the seating arrangements and have the guys on one side of the table so they can keep talking sports and we could sit on the other side and talk about whatever interests us?” They smiled politely, nodded towards their husbands, and continued being good wives who listen quietly to the men’s conversation. I had images of old English parlours with men smoking cigars. I recalled so many movie scenes with women sweetly smiling at men who ignored then, dominated them, bored them. Oops – more urgent phone calls to make! One of those calls was to leave myself a message (need to get some technology to track my thoughts) to make sure to write about this in the morning.
So – here I am with one more thing I can put on my list of “don’t do this when you retire”. Even though I won’t have to get up early to go to work, it doesn’t mean that my free time has less value because it isn’t “paid-for” time. I’ll have to come up with some new response to invitations to things on week-nights that I don’t really want to do since I can’t use the “I have to be in my office at the crack of dawn” device any more. I guess I could just rely on the old “so sorry, I already have something scheduled that night” side-step which wouldn’t really be a lie since I will already have something scheduled – my life!