Ask the grumpies: What do you want to do when you retire?

CG asks:

What do you want to do when you retire? My motivation for asking is I’m always interested in these people who retire at 40 or 50–they have a lot of time left if things go well and what kinds of things do they want to do or accomplish with their second act? This applies to people who plan to retire at a more traditional age as well.

#1 doesn’t really plan on retiring.  I don’t know what I would do.  I’m honestly not very good at being unproductive 100% of the time (I am very good at being unproductive on weekends) and I’m sure I would feel huge amounts of guilt if I weren’t doing something to make the world a better place.  Depending on the trajectory that the US ends up in, I would probably end up miserable trying to herd volunteer cats to fight the power.  The life of a professor in which I gently nudge students to think critically about their goals and how to achieve them while also removing their math phobia seems a lot better than that.  If the world was in a good place, I don’t know, probably go places to try eating new things, read more challenging novels than I do now, and watch youtube videos.  I’d probably also exercise more.  I would hopefully not waste too much time arguing with people who are wrong on the internet, but who knows.

#2 loves the idea of retirement and would read books, foster kittens, and travel to Italy to eat.  Also all the naps.

12 Responses to “Ask the grumpies: What do you want to do when you retire?”

  1. Michael Nitabach Says:

    Eating yr way thru Italy sounds like an exceptional retirement!

  2. xykademiqz Says:

    I used to think I’d never retire. Now, not so much. I enjoy teaching and working with graduate students, but after 100+ papers, all the battles with referees are just a drag and don’t seem worth it, and don’t even get me started on getting grants. I plan to retire as soon as I can. I am serious about writing fiction, have written and published plenty of short works and poetry since I started in 2017, and plan on tackling novels and screenplays. And it would be nice to finally have the time to learn another language, maybe an instrument or two, and master a digital art platform. But I still have 20 years till retirement, so who knows? By then, I might be sick of my current hobbies, and on to something else.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      My problem is maybe that I don’t really have hobbies. I mean, I read books and I watch things on youtube. There’s this blog… I dunno. DH is so much more suited to a life of leisure than I am. He’s got so many hobbies that he cycles through. (He was depressed last week because he was between hobbies, but has apparently picked up perfecting chocolate cake as his next one?)

  3. solitarydiner016 Says:

    If #2 needs a friend in retirement, I’m all in. I’ve been to Italy a few times and can give advice on places to visit and eat at!

  4. Anne Says:

    Retirement is about doing what you want, which might not necessarily be no work. Successful retirement (as the saying goes) is to retire to something, not from something.

    Currently aiming to be done around age 50 (10 years from now). Plan is to slowly explore the US, including NPs. God help us if Covid is still a thing then.

  5. Debbie M Says:

    I do the same things I did outside of work. I’ve learned that to be happy, it’s good for me to do things in several categories:
    * physical – food and exercise. These days my exercise is just walking and an exercise video I like.
    * social – hang with friends and family. Facebook and blogs count for me. Currently I also have a weekly Zoom craft night. (And I’m lucky with a live-in boyfriend who I do like to be around 24/7.) I’m pretty introverted, so I don’t need as much of this as a lot of people do. Also, did I mention Facebook? Things are so much easier than in the olden days when I would write letters and hope people would write me back.
    * intellectual – learn things. Reading counts (even fiction–learning about the human condition). On on a break from learning Spanish right now, but then I’m learning stuff at my Elections job. (I know, retired, but that means I can do stuff like this if I want to.) I’m also on a break from reading books about and set in foreign countries because I’m focusing on decluttering my own books (I often have read or re-read the book before I can make my decision).
    * spiritual – I’m not religious, so for me that means mostly donating and phone calls to my reps. Currently, my Elections job also counts for that.
    * creative – make or design things. Currently I’m just knitting hand towels from cotton yarn and I need to make some more face masks.

    I also would not let myself play video games until I retired, just like I wouldn’t let myself read fiction while I was in college and grad school. But I’ve been spending way too many hours playing video games. I’m enjoying it, but they give a false sense of accomplishment. So, no new video games for me (I’ll keep playing the old ones until I get tired of them).

    I also want to learn Python and do some projects in that.

    I have already tried (and failed) writing a novel and writing a nonfiction book. But hey, you never know; I’m glad I tried.

    I’ve also learned that for some things I put off until I had more time, I still don’t want to do them. So that’s sad, because I’d like them to be done.

    **

    My boyfriend’s favorite aunt said that a lot of ladies spend the first couple of years after retiring finally fixing up their houses, but then they finish and get bored. And that’s when she hires them to be a personal assistant.

  6. CG Says:

    These are all interesting! I like the idea of retiring “to” something…just gotta figure out what that’s going to be.

  7. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life Says:

    I often wonder if I would be good at retirement. Right now I have A LOT of things to fill my time because it’s fit in around a full time job and full time parenting and full time dog parenting etc. But all of those aren’t necessarily going to still be applicable when retirement is possible. It makes me wonder if maybe I’ll just enjoy cranking down the intensity of what I need to do every day and appreciate that more relaxing pace.

    But there isn’t enough time in the world to read all the books I want, the dogs could always use lots more petting, and I am probably going to still want to do something that adds good (subjective though that is) to the world. There’s writing the blog though I wonder if that will fall off if I don’t have so much going on. I do love cooking and baking when I’m not feeling sick and there’s not enough time and energy for that right now. Maybe days full of a couple of hobbies and feeding oneself and napping would be fulfilling for a good while since I can’t seem to get enough of any of that now.


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