How to retire, Part 2

See the previous post for suggestions 1 through 4.

5. Learn to do something solitary and fun. This overlaps to some extent with item 1, but not entirely. The reality is that there will be times when you can’t socialize. Your health problems or those of others may be the cause. The Covid pandemic lockdown is a good example. So you need something you can concentrate on and keep you occupied. Even so-called mindless amusements are fine if you enjoy them: jigsaw puzzles, daytime TV, solitaire. But I recommend something new. I’ve learned enough computer programming to have create three games I play against the computer every day and I also solve ciphers that I exchange via email with a distant cipher hobbyist. Other ideas: take an adult education class or learn how to do something new from YouTube videos.

6. Develop a routine. Boredom is the biggest problem for new retirees, and it can be mitigated by developing a regular routine. If you know the next thing you’re going to do, your mind can relax. For me, I take of my morning ablutions, get dressed, take care of the cat, open up the blinds, empty the dishwasher, fix and eat my breakfast, sit with a cup of coffee and watch the morning news or read a book for a while and that takes care of an hour and a half or so. Then I retreat to my office to read the comics online and join in the comments section where I love to swap puns and enjoy those of others. The usual trolling of other social media is mostly absent. People who read funnies, or at least those who comment on them online, are apparently baby boomers like me and there for good humor, not arguing. Then Wordle and a check of my email and  the New York Times newsletter (which usually covers more than the morning TV news) and another hour is past. Then it’s time for a few of my online games.

Four days a week I exercise, either running or going to the gym. Somewhere in there I work on generating my own cipher to solve and send it to my cipher buddy. By the time I’m done with that it’s lunchtime and after lunch I sit with my coffee and read and then work my buddy’s cipher if I haven’t done it in the morning. My afternoons are then mostly free for chores, shopping, reading, online browsing, writing (this blog, for example), etc. but I have two regular luncheons or Zoom meetings each month and get together with my friend every Saturday for geocaching or television. Evenings are spent with my wife watching TV or reading, talking, and, of course, dinner. I could go on, but you get the idea.

7. Do more housework. If you’re married or living with a partner, it’s your turn now. You aren’t working. Your spouse will appreciate it, and, yes, expect it, and it will give you a sense of accomplishment and self value. You’ll find there’s plenty to occupy you if you get bored.

The bottom line: be proactive and create your own retirement plan.

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