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Is this what retirement is like? (Guest post)

by Mary Case

Day one of retirement was officially declared a “jammie” day. No alarm clock, a pot of tea, a good book, feet up, sitting in front of the fireplace. It was blissful and lasted almost ninety minutes.

Author in a comfortable arm chair, sitting in front of a fireplace with her feet up, reading a book with her dog at her side.

And then that was enough for the dog who, delighted that there was another human home, insisted on a walk.

Somewhat reluctantly I changed out of my jammies.

It is so quiet and peaceful on this crisp winter’s day.  No noise except the occasional passing car. Was this what it’s like, this retirement thing?

I returned home an hour later, fully intending to return to my perch. (My colorful, cozy jammies now replaced with walking gear, looking suspiciously like running gear), and then I had a vision: an empty pool, a lane to myself perhaps. Was that actually possible? 

Empty YMCA pool.  All lanes free.

It was too irresistible, and so the perch by the fireplace was abandoned again. And there it was: my empty lane. Two kilometres of blissful, uninterrupted swim strokes.

Was this what retirement is like?

The choice to retire from teaching elementary school music was a tough one. I loved my job and was not particularly desperate to get out. 

I had a fulfilling and vibrant career but, I was curious what life would be like on the other side. 

Last fall, in a moment of “but what will I do when I retire?” I wondered what it would be like to be a gym rat, and so I approached my computer in search of half ironman races. These are called 70.3’s in the triathlon world. It seemed a good idea at the time, and it was a distance that my years as a triathlete had prepared me for. 

I chose a date. May 31st, that worked for me. It would have been concert prep time, if I was not retired. 

I chose a location. Connecticut, I could drive there. 

Done! I signed up. 

Oops. I missed a little bit of homework here. I found out later that this half ironman is called the Beast of the East. 

As I write this blog, week one of retirement is almost over. It’s also my 59th birthday. I think about this “fitness” thing. For me, it’s always about the joy of seeing what my body is capable of. I do not have a point of view about speed, competition, losing weight, or much of anything else. 

I love a challenge; my body loves to move endlessly, and the amazing thing is that I am fitter, faster and stronger than I have ever been. 

I think I might  be able to get used to the quiet, the recovery time and being able to head to the gym, my trainer or the road, at hours that do not involve the numbers 4, 5, or 6 attached to “a.m.” 

I think I can get used to this thing called retirement. And who knows, hills may just become my new best friends. 

Author, School photo.  Looking very professional in a pink top and pearls.

Mary is a recently retired Elementary School Music Teacher, an Energetic Body Worker and a professional violinist. When not involved in any of the capacities mentioned above, she can often be spotted in water, on a bike, or running to prepare for her next triathlon.  

16 thoughts on “Is this what retirement is like? (Guest post)

  1. Am three weeks into retirement. It’s awesome.

    Congrats on your retirement. Enjoy yourself. Take it easy. Have fun. Great post

  2. I’m often envious of retirees for their/your time to train at all hours of the day. And rest and recovery. Wishing you a terrific training period and a great race. We’re looking forward to hearing how it goes. Come back and guest blog again any time!

    1. I am starting to see the value of the “recovery” part. Perhaps a blog post on that in the future. Cheers

  3. Retirement is still a long way off for me, but it kind of terrifies me. Not the whole having as much time as I need to workout (because that’s my job already), but the lack of responsibility to anyone other than myself…..

    1. I must admit, I was very resistant to the whole retirement thing. Now I wonder how I ever got everything done while “on the other side”

  4. This is exactly what retirement has been for me. Now have days of cycling, pilates, yoga, core workouts, ecstatic dance. And, of course, walking the friendly corgi. It’s been wonderful to have a free schedule.

  5. Work is SO over rated! I think a 4-day working week would be amazing for everyone, never mind the glorious freedom of retirement 🙏🏼😊

    1. A four day work week makes so much sense. I wonder what might change in the world if we followed this model?

  6. Lovely peak into the life of a newly retired professional. Enjoy your new lifestyle because you deserve it!

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