Everybody I know who is retired is so daggone busy doing meritorious stuff that I've really begun to think about just what kinds of things I could be doing. The books and magazine articles say we all have things we're GOOD AT, and that these are the kinds of things we should be doing now that we don't have to punch a time clock every day.
It's not that easy. I've tried to think of what I'm good at, and the list doesn't really spell YOUR PERFECT POST-RETIREMENT CAREER. For example, one thing I know with certainty I was always very good at was target shooting. I think I can pretty much rule THAT one out for my golden years. And I was pretty good at some parts of teaching (like making the kids feel good about the natural world) but very lousy at others (like handing back papers after I'd corrected them).
I took that test that Red Nose posted about this past week: the Strengths Finder quiz. According to that, my top five strengths are Adaptability, Relator, Actuator, Empathy, and Ideation.
I can see all that. Adaptability means I'm perfectly happy to switch gears if something isn't working. Relator means I pick my friends carefully and (probably) drive them up the wall with my attention. Actuator is another way of saying patience is not exactly my strong point. Ha. Empathy means I can sense what's going on with people (whether they like it or will admit it or not), and Ideation means I can have really cool ideas. I like the last one, and I can even admit it's been true in a certain area of my life: I have great housing karma, and I've been able to work with the light and space in a dwelling so that it's actually pleasant for me to live in. And I've loved painting and drawing, though the art provides all the fun there--I've never earned any $$ at it.
How all of this fits into retirement is beyond me. I do think I need to find someplace else to live. Maybe I should just quit dillying around (which is going against my strong point of Actuator) and get with finding a place. That, of course, will mean going against the Relator thing. I'm not particularly social, but moving house will mean giving up what little social life I have at present. The Adaptability will help with that, though, because I've been able to survive in a number of highly disparate environments, doing all kinds of weird things.
When I retired, I had worked as an editor for almost 30 years, most of which was in management. But due to circumstances (like being deaf as a post for 46 years) it was not always easy to find or get a job. Thus, I've had to earn my living at various times by teaching 7th & 8th grade life & earth science, walking beans (if you're from Iowa, you'll know what that is, otherwise, don't ask), painting houses, doing kitchen prep in a restaurant, hemming pants for a dry cleaner/tuxedo rental place, cleaning student apartments (gah), and cutting down trumpet vines in a wildly wooded apartment complex for $3/hr. Plus, there's that big chunk of time working as an editor. I liked that, but it's really hard work. Thanks be I could do that without having to hear much, but if I'd had my druthers....
Actually, this may be why I've spent the past year loafing or riding my bike--I'm resting. But since I'm running out of quarters, I'll have to get with it again. My piggy bank is looking emaciated.
If I moved to the Midwest, I could cut my housing expenses in way less than half, but who wants to freeze?
Anyway, each stage of life has its own challenges. I feel as if I've run out of ways to entertain myself.