On being retired

Castlegar News bi-weekly columnist Gord Turner shares details of a special time of life


I don’t know about the rest of you, but I enjoyed being semi-retired. Traveling, golfing, and doing nothing for half a year, and then working half a year was clearly a good situation.

Now that I’ve left the College teaching job I loved and am available for whatever or nothing, things have taken on a different perspective.  I certainly am not moaning about the lack of responsibility and the free time I now have.

You see, I have so much to do in this new space I’ve opened up for myself.  I enjoy reading, so if I want to stay up all night to finish a book, I can do so.  I don’t have to worry about being tired for work the next day.  I just sleep in until 11 o’clock.

I enjoy wine and discovering more about it.  That’s why I try various grape types and blends.  Now that I’m retired, if I want to share two or three bottles with my friends while socializing or playing Mexican train, then I do so.  It’s possible to burn the night because there’s no job to have to get to in the morning.

When I was working, I never had time for the little jobs that needed doing around the house and yard.  This year of retirement, my wife and I filled 50 bags with leaves, and we cleared the yard of leaves for the first autumn in 30 years.  I didn’t have to get home from work exhausted and try to find the energy to tackle leaves.

I find I now have time for minor personal items.  For example, I took all morning recently to cut my toenails.  Not being in a rush, I didn’t cut part of my toes as used to happen when I rushed before—blood all over my socks. I even kept track of the clippings and disposed of them properly.

Coffee in the morning used to be a problem when I had to leave early for work. Those who know me know that I am not a morning person, so making coffee was not something I looked forward to.

Now, I simply take my time.  We’ve bought a coffee machine, which is automatic for everything but the cleaning of it. So I’ve become adept at washing and drying the seven removable parts of this machine.

When I was working, I would never have had time or patience to get the machine “ready.”  I would simply have gone without coffee.

During my working days at the College, I really didn’t have time to shave in the morning either.  But I always scraped the whiskers off my face, sometimes cutting myself in the rush.  Now, I can stay unshaven for days and not worry about it.

Not having to go to work, I often lie in bed well into the morning. I prop myself up while drinking a leisurely cup of coffee and think about the day ahead. I have all the time to decide if I want to do nothing or perhaps do an odd chore.

My retirement, it seems, has allowed me to refocus.  Before, I was always thinking about my job.  Everything at home and in my private life came second, and I would not do things (or not do them well) because my focus was elsewhere.

Now, when we’re not traveling, I am truly at home, and retirement has allowed me to be there—totally if need be. I now spend more time planning—rather than functioning in a helter-skelter way.

Need I say it–I’m enjoying this slower pace.