It’s 8:00 a.m.
I sit in my comfortable chair, staring out the window, a cup of coffee on the table, Pandora playing Bach. The window is my TV screen: people and cars and squirrels enter one side and exit the other. Runners run by, cars drive by, high school kids saunter by… and neighbors leave to go to work or walk the dog or take the kids to school. Another Tuesday morning. Oh wait… I think it’s Wednesday.
Outside my window, 8:00 a.m. is a time of motion and purpose. On this side of the glass, not so much. I sip my third cup of coffee and ponder the big decision: oatmeal this morning, or yogurt?
This time of day glaringly demonstrates my lifestyle change from a short time ago. It’s very clear that those people traveling past my window are working, whether they’re going to a place of work, or managing a home and kids. Each one is actively involved in doing something; they have goals and tasks they need to accomplish before the sun sets.
A couple years ago, I was one of them. 8:00 didn’t find me pulling out of the driveway to go to work, but I was working and producing. And earning. For 20+ years I worked at home as a freelance writer, using the third floor and wifi as my home office. 8:00 a.m. would find me checking my Google calendar to see what phone interviews were scheduled with people in London, Baku or Houston. Or what deadlines I had for the corporate magazine I wrote.
That was then. A couple things have happened since then.
For starters, the price of oil plummeted, and my major oil company client decided that the price of my writing should plummet accordingly. Halliburton and I both took big hits in revenues that year. I decided it wasn’t worth it to write articles for $29 a barrel, so I stopped producing. Last I checked, Halliburton was still hanging in there. As was the major oil company. Gosh, I hope they’re okay.
The other event occurred shortly thereafter, and it wasn’t a surprise. I had suspected it was going to happen for quite some time, but I didn’t think it was a big deal. What happened was… 70. And I quickly learned that when 70 happens, things just aren’t the same.
That combination of 70 and retirement created a person I’m not yet comfortable with: an old retired guy. I know what I used to be: writer, tennis player, husband and father. Now each of those roles is changing significantly.
So I had an idea: why not write a column that explores this new lifestyle? A narrative – like a diary or a journal – of one guy’s transition to retirement, something everyone experiences eventually. Some experience it more gracefully than others. Mine doesn’t feel graceful so far.
Writing this could be fun. Or laborious. Or even boring. Just like retirement itself, I guess it depends on what I do with it. How I handle being an old guy, and writing about it.
No matter what, it should be cheaper than therapy. Right?