Rhythms of Life While Retired

Friend Louise got us tickets for an 8am lecture at Pacific Science Center on the Terra Cotta warriors exhibit, followed by time at the exhibit itself. The lecture was sponsored by AARP; they provided coffee and pastries and got to give a short pitch at the outset.

All attendees, as you can imagine, were easily identified as older and retired — although not all of us were AARP members.

The people who mostly have time to attend a lecture at 8am in the morning are the post-work and post-family raising crowd.

The rhythms of life in retirement are different. When our children were small they were early risers; Jerry and I never stayed out very late even on weekend nights, because we knew one of us would have to get up at the crack of dawn and deal with energetic offspring. Now, if I stay out or stay up late, I can give myself a more leisurely start the following morning. I can go to a talk and an exhibit at 8am and have the rest of the day. I can give myself a “catch up” day whenever I want — I don’t have to wait for the weekend or a holiday from work. I can, if I want, get lost in a book and put everything I’d planned to do off until tomorrow.

This rhythm works for me, because I’m fairly disciplined. Well, very disciplined. I have friends for whom the lack of structure in retirement easily slides into a feeling of rootlessness, of having nothing meaningful to do, and from there a sense of being superfluous or out of the loop.

I had a lot of years, decades really, of working to the demands owning a business, of the needs of children who required doctor visits and new shoes and summer camps scheduled and friend dates planned. Now, I quite like being the manager of my own time.

The lecture was packed, so clearly there are lots of others my age who like planning their own time too and are willing to be up and out early to hear and see something good.

Emperor for whom warriors created.

Excavation site in China.

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