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The first week of the retirement honeymoon is almost done. I think things are going rather well, considering. The first days tell me I have some things left to do, and then I’ll be in pretty good shape to succeed at being retired.
The retirement honeymoon phase
The first days of any big change are often a honeymoon period, where everything is good. In my case, the sensation of pressure coming off was gradual, starting at work about a week and a half before. At that time my involvement was fading and I was mostly cleaning out the office and saying my goodbyes.
That said, when I drove home the last Friday, the feeling of pressure floated away and I felt so relieved! I had no trouble not setting the alarm for Monday. Didn’t have to get up as early as 7 AM but I did in order to do laundry. It’s nice to do that early and get some quiet work done, then go back and snooze a little. So that’s what I did.
Tuesday I got a bit of energy and started picking up stuff around the house, throwing out junk, breaking down boxes, and shredding old papers. No outside pressure to do these things; I just wanted to. I’m planning a big carload to the transfer station on Friday afternoon, the first of many, no doubt.
Wednesday I spent $3500 on heating oil for the winter, got my bank account switched over to the elder plan so my checks are free, and spent way too much on groceries and cleaning supplies. Will have to watch out for that as that total was about $30 too high. Yet, I’m home eating at lunch so we will need slightly more food.
Thursday being the 4th of July, and hot, we’re staying home in the cool and taking it easy. My husband has been very supportive about my being home, showing me how he has been taking care of things. He has been doing yard work but not getting snarky because I’m sort of on vacation this week.
All this vacationing feels like an endless weekend to me. I’m fairly unstructured on the weekends. When I was working, I used to sleep a lot, do laundry, and maybe go out one afternoon.
To accommodate my many activities, this clearly can’t go on. The alarm clock is still on the nightstand because of appointments, meetings and get-togethers that require an early start. I have to keep my date book and update the calendar too, since that works for me.
In the summer I don’t air-condition the wool room so morning is better for spinning. When it’s too hot my hands sweat and the spinning is unpleasant. If I want to get spinning done I will have to arrange to be up for it.
Fortunately, on Friday the Tour de France starts. What does that have to do with anything? Well, years ago a spinner decided to spin every day that the riders rode in the big race, and called it the Tour de Fleece. I signed up with a friendly group and committed to spin daily during this year’s race. That will help me build the habit. They say Tour de France lasts like 3 weeks, and that should be long enough.
Time to be responsible
Some days, after the retirement honeymoon fades, I will want to spend an hour or so on computer projects such as courses of various types. That means I need to be more cognizant of how much time I spend on the thing overall. Lately it’s been a long time every day. But I find it’s hard on me to sit as much as that.
Which brings me to exercise. Sigh. I hate to do that. Still, it’s necessary. I took on the floor care and some outdoor work. That doesn’t add up to very much though. Have to work up to some movement most days or my hip will probably seize up. When my friend gets back from her travels I will see about some walks with her (or I won’t go). I’ll have to double check the pool schedule for free swim too.
As you saw with my groceries, I have overspent on a major line item. Overspending can be a danger in the retirement honeymoon. I haven’t bought medications on the Part D yet, so this clearly can’t go on this way, not knowing what to expect in real life.
As for the heating oil, that was the cost of the total amount of oil I bought last year, and this year I pre-bought the entire amount we used last year. That locks in the price. In spring the oil usually costs more when they fill after a pre-buy runs out. And this way I don’t have to come up with funny amounts every month.
But from now on I will need to be more budget-conscious. Getting too casual about spending money will not help in the long run. After all, I have no Social Security money till August. My last paycheck and vacation pay will have to cover what Social Security doesn’t, like the property tax bill in October, and my insurance premiums.
If I behave myself I may have some money left for Christmas stuff; if not, no big deal. We’ll have berries to make jelly with and I can knit up some fun things for people. My husband has more money and more relatives than I do so it’s mostly his business anyway to get Christmas.
Keeping up with things
Over a month ago I scheduled a dentist appointment for the 18th of July. A couple of days ago our birthday gang from work set up a birthday lunch for another retiree, to be held on the 18th. That fit in right after the dental cleaning just fine. And then, as I wrote these on the calendar, my husband reminded me that the 18th is our anniversary!
I used to paddle through the date book constantly while at work, trying to keep things straight. Have to do that every so often now to make sure that things go up on the calendar and I don’t miss anything. Different things need to go in the date book now, too. The lack of pressure seems to have made my brain float out my ears.
So even though I’m still in my retirement honeymoon, I know that things will have to change if I’m going to do the things I want to do down the line. Till then, I’ll enjoy my little vacation, putter around cleaning and organizing, and organize my time gradually for my next phase. Comments welcome!