Both Carolyn and I have been asked multiple times, “What is it like to be retired?”
It’s a hard question to answer. For the most part, retirement is simply the lack of a designated place to show up to every weekday. Otherwise, somehow the days get filled with a variety of things. Carolyn has been especially busy… we went through our electronic calendars and realized that she had something slated for almost every day leading up to our Jan. 16th flight to Portugal. Do you want to meet up with her? I think she has 3:30 to 4:30 open on January 8th.
In addition, we’re living under the good graces of my sister Lynne. Which, despite the scalp-scarifying tongue action of her cat and a dog that has more energy than Donald Trump’s hairdresser, it is a very nice place to live. We couldn’t be happier with our temporary living conditions.
But that’s just the thing: they’re temporary. It’s someone else’s home. So the rhythms of retired life haven’t hit us yet.
Even after we land in Portugal, that will remain unchanged for a while. The first thing we’re going to have to do is find a place to buy. And then another (because we’re buying an extra place to rent out through Airbnb and VRBO, both for a little income as well as for a great place for friends and family (in other words, YOU) to come visit).
Now, buying a home can be daunting. Buying one in a new city you’ve only been to for four days can be even more daunting. Buying one in a new city you’ve only been to for four days in an entirely different country, well, that’s just plain stupid!
But we’re doing it anyway. I’ve always been a jump-in-feet-first kinda guy. It generally has worked for me over the years. I’m so pleased and feel so grateful to be with a woman who is willing to hold my hand and jump in with me. We’re both confident it will all work out. But we’re equally confident that if it doesn’t, we’ll just go to plan C. Portugal is already Plan B, but we’re happy with its ascension to Plan A. We’re excited to be going.
So yeah, we have no idea what it’s like to be retired yet. We can tell you what it’s like to pretty much not own anything anymore. It’s actually very nice. It’s just stuff. We’re after the memories and the adventures. Americans can keep going crazy with buying stuff and making that the most important goal in their lives. But we’re leaving that behind for the adventure.
Of course, this next weekend we’re driving to Bend, Oregon to see Caleb, Carolyn’s son, and it’s supposed to get down to 2 degrees on Saturday night. Fahrenheit. And we sold most of our cold weather gear- who needs that in Europe? Especially when you don’t plan on visiting Scandinavia in the winter. I guess that’s how you start accumulating stuff. I wonder if I can track down the guy who bought my ski coat at the estate sale…
Anyway, since what we’re doing is a bit uncommon, we may never be able to answer what retirement is really like. All we really can say right now is: so far, so good!