Laziness, Or What?

Yesterday I lazed away the entire morning in bed, snoozing, catching up on a few old favorite websites, reading the news and watching a couple of stupid YouTube videos — you know, just yer everyday laziness.  I did have a couple chores to run, but none were critical so I kept putting them off till later until pretty much the whole day had passed by.

I’d like to say I felt guilty about it all, but I didn’t;  and when during a rare moment of introspection I paused to wonder why not, I realized that I am retired, and I don’t have to do anything I don’t want to.

As I said, I don’t feel guilty about this, at all.  And the corollary thought came to me that this guilt (that I didn’t feel) is probably caused by the fact that everyone has to be busy these days:  that inactivity is seen as a Bad Thing, or Laziness, and that I should be more like those old fools who spend their retirement walking in the Andes or going on adventures in the Amazon, or (eek) bicycling across Siberia or some equally-foolish nonsense.  Good grief, even camping makes me feel jittery.  I don’t do the latter because I did enough when I was in the Army, and even if someone did force me to do it, my reaction might be to equip myself with something like this:

Note the rain shield, the wooden floor (elevated so you don’t have to walk on the dirt, and so that any rain will drain away outside the tent) and so on.  On the other hand, there’s even a word for this: glamping (glamorous + camping), which is such a precious term I would not only not do it myself, but I’d punch someone in the face who boasted about having done it.

If you want to really rough it, stay at a Motel 6 in some small country town.  That’s about as far as I’ll take it.

But let me drag myself back to the original topic.

I don’t have any problem at all with a life of idleness after retirement.  I’ve worked fucking hard my whole life — even my hobbies, like paying in a band, were strenuous.  (Yeah, driving miles to a gig, setting up all the gear, playing like maniacs for five hours, then, when all the partygoers have gone home to bed, having to pack the gear back up, drive back to town and unload it all into the storage locker to be ready for the next practice — it’s not all fun fun fun.)  And as for my jobs:  stress, long hours, massive responsibility, brain-draining calculations and study — it’s a wonder I survived to age fifty, let alone halfway into my sixties.

So now I prefer to live a life of quiet contemplation and idleness — reading books (not too challenging, because I don’t want to overload my already-overworked brain), shouting at the TV, writing this blog and in all senses of the word, letting my life slow to a crawl before old age stops it altogether.  (I know, there’s that Uber nonsense that I do, but it’s manageable and I do it on my own terms anyway in order to fund good things like travel, fine food, single-malt Scotch and, very occasionally, a decent gun.)  I have my friends and family, and all of them know this about me because I’ve told them, in no uncertain terms.

As for the rest of it, it can all drift away on the tides of my indifference because I just don’t care a fig about it anymore.  All I’m looking forward to is annoying my kids when and if they present me with grandchildren to spoil — and if they don’t, c’est la vie.

It’s called Splendid Fucking Isolation.

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I think I’ll go out for some breakfast.  I’m lazy, but not that lazy.

17 comments

  1. I hear thee my brother in relative idleness. My situation is not entirely unlike yours. Worked for forty–five years, lost a wife when I was mid-sixties and retired the next summer. A pension from the Hearst Corporation and SS meets my needs quite handily. I spend too much time in front of a screen; surfing, writing, smoking my pipes, correcting the images I shoot in Photoshop, reading voraciously, and making few if any waves in the world. I judge it is a good era in which to keep ones head down. I frequently smile observing the busyness of retired friends who think the idle hours simply must be filled, or else.

  2. Kim, we are about the same age (skosh north of mid sixties) and I too am recently retired. If you ever get the itch to drive north to SW Michigan, make a post. We have extra bedrooms and a barn full of tools to play with, yes, “those” kind of tools as well. Open invitation. Conversely, when I get out on the road, no reason why the route could not go through Plano TX though my last drive Mobile to Phoenix on I 10 was perhaps the most boring on the planet, even at 100 MPH (ask me how I know this). Frankly, physical work (on MY stuff) for 4 to 5 hours a day is relaxing when compared to 40 years of offices, hotels, planes, trains, rental cars and riverboats in strange foreign lands.

      1. SW MI is beautiful. Family has a summer house there near Lake Michigan. By far the best beach ever and I’m not a beach person. They are rarely crowded and the water is clear.

  3. While I have quite a ways to go before retirement, I’m right there with you. Every time I take a week or so off from work all my coworkers think I’m wasting my vacation time when I tell them all I’m going to do is sit around the house and do nothing I don’t absolutely have to.

  4. I am another mostly retired guy with a constant struggle between boredom and laziness. Much of my income is from residential rentals, they need some looking after, but that’s it.

    So, traveling 4 times a year, puttering about the garden, walking, hiking, hunting in the fall, skiing in the winter and pressuring the sons to produce grandchildren.

    Like Kim I no longer feel guilty for drinking coffee and reading a book all morning, or leaving town on zero notice to anyone.

    Being able to travel anytime seems also be a real money saver. I get emails from multiple airlines, including cheap charter operations advertising sales. Snagged one yesterday, return from Calgary Canada to London Gatwick for $US420.00 each next April. It’s a redeye but that’s OK too as my 65 year old sleep patterns are absurd anyway.

    1. Sadly, living a few miles from DFW means I get very few if any cheap flight offers to anywhere. However, I do have to use my AA miles before June 2019, so there’ll be SOME travel in my future. Details to follow, much later.

  5. Been retired, the second time around for five years now and it took a couple of years for me to learn how to do nothing and then get up the next day and finish the rest of my doing nothing. At this time of my life I have settled into a comfortable routine of cooking, usually grilling, fresh meat and vegetables I avoid processed stuff, I have learned to cook fine steaks, fish and fowl with excellent results for a fraction of the price of a good resturant, not that I don’t enjoy a good meal out but the ones I like are few and far between and expensive.

    I spend time on the internet thing each morning catching up with information of my choosing and a little over a year ago I completely gave up on TV, the local broadcast news is blood and gore and saved kittens/puppies and the national is crap, at least to me. So I read, stuff on the web and then books, lots of books mostly mystery, military and history and the best thing of all is I can read all night if I get caught up in a good story and then sleep in the next morning.

    I do some local church stuff and like to shoot, I have four nice outdoor ranges, here in the Texas Hill Country, all less than 45 minutes from my front door and I have some decent guys to shoot with. We reload a bit, meet early in the morning usually at Bandera for rifle, Kerrville for skeet, we shoot some and visit while barrels cool off and then either go get coffee or lunch and talk about the sorry state of the whole wide world, just like old men are supposed to do.

    A few driving trips each year to see kids and grand kids, last year the boring I-10 to Jacksonville then up to Savanah and this year a nice ride up to Gunnison where there is not much oxygen mix that with a few trips up to Dallas and then an opening Dove Season trip to Abilene and I have things on my calendar besides doctor appointments. I really try to avoid airlines but had to do a few a couple of months ago, first time in three years and I was amazed at the phone zombies, dressed worse than bus station people, walking around and sitting in the airports with no idea of their surroundings.

    I do like having time to sit down with coffee in the back yard in the morning and watch the birds and clouds and in the evening a bit of whisky and water watching birds once more, I have interesting ones, vultures riding thermals, doves flying out to water, cardinals that nest in one of my trees and little asshole hummingbirds that dive bomb each other, fighting over the feeders, they are some of the meanest little shits in the whole world.

    1. Bang, you smacked me in the head.

      I just realized I didn’t even really know what a bird was until I retired. Now I see them everywhere, and finally appreciate them. I’m 65 and literally had no idea that I was surrounded by Northern Flickers, Blue Jays, Rocky Mountain Blue birds, Loons, Whiskey Jacks, Rufous and Calliope Hummingbirds et. endless cetera.

      Truly, youth was wasted on the younger me.

  6. Having spent 15 or so years in the military and worked about 35 years as a field engineer – mostly ME or Far East – I usually tell any friends who ask that my idea of roughing it is having to stay in a Hilton because the InterCon or Crown Plaza is full, heh, heh, heh.

  7. I pulled the plug on 1 July at age 66. We took a trip back east to see the 90 year old mother in law while she still recognized us. Now I’m working my way through a “honey do” list which will probably never end, because every time I cross something off the top a new job gets added to the bottom. That’s okay I guess because I’m still in reasonably good shape and actually enjoy doing stuff.

    I’m trying to learn to take my time. I still get up between five and six because that’s what I’ve always done but now I can enjoy a second cup of coffee and play with the dog before I figure out what the day’s schedule will be. Right now I’m spending a couple of hours almost every day knocking out jobs that I should do – for example this morning I did some lawn work while it was still cool and then serviced the A/C in my pickup. The truck is 16 years old and needs a can of refrigerant about every 60 days. In these hot summer days I retreat to my office in the afternoon and load ammunition, watch a movie, or read.

    A very close friend and hunting buddy retired about 12 years ago. He reminded me “Don’t do it all today. If you do, you won’t have anything to do tomorrow.” We lost him to the complications of COPD last spring. He lived in the UP of Michigan and really seemed to enjoy life. I hunted with him over 25 years and he took a buck almost every year with a Remington 600 carbine in .308.

    We have some charity work laid in for the fall. I can still swing a hammer – although not as fast or as long as I did 30 years ago. That’s why I’ve got a compressor and a couple of air nailers. If you give me a young helper I can still hang drywall. So we’re going to do a church remodeling project down on the Gulf Coast of Texas where they’re still recovering from Harvey. I normally would have headed north to go hunting in November but since my friend Tom is gone I hope to honor his friendship and memory by taking the same 10 days to do some good.

  8. Unlike the rest of you old-pharts, I am not quite retired yet. However…
    “Standby on my mark.” “Mark!” – 285 days, 22 hours, 48 minutes.
    That’s how long till I join this august company. But who’s counting.

    I have been a field engineer for a medical electronics company for over 33 years. I have never really “loved” my job, but I have almost always “liked” my job – until recently. It’s always had its ups and downs, but it seems that in the last 6 or 7 years or so, corporate management and HR have initiated a program to take every bit of enjoyment and satisfaction out of it. Nowadays, every penny – and I mean *every* penny – has to go through the pinching machine. I could understand it if the company had fallen on hard times, but they have not. Indeed, they made over half a billion in profit this past fiscal year.

    But enough of my bitching. In a little over 9 months from now, I will be done. My retirement is a three legged stool – a traditional company pension, a 401K, and SS. That should keep me in pork-&-beans quite well.

    People ask me: “What will you do after you retire?” I answer: “Whatever I want.”

  9. 33 years in IT (well, not completely; there was this several-year period doing engineering design stuff in semiconductor manufacturing, but I can come up with a plausible alibi for that), so 12-16 hour days conducted at 200 MPH were the norm. When I was offered an early retirement buy-out option I broke the sound barrier getting out the door only because the desk-to-door distance was too short to allow accelerating to light speed.

    When my late father retired from corporate law he adopted the motto “why put off until tomorrow what you can ignore completely” and I have tried to honor his wisdom. So far, it’s working.

    Before I t̶u̶n̶n̶e̶l̶e̶d̶ ̶u̶n̶d̶e̶r̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶w̶i̶r̶e̶ retired I heard the constant refrain “I’m busier in retirement than I ever was working” and considered it bullshit. Turns out it’s true, but it’s busier doing the stuff you want to do. Income is down, of course, but all that’s meant so far is I reload more instead of buying factory stuff, and wishing that “couponing” was a thing with Macallan.

    I’m spending more time at the range, reading more books, watching more movies (and watching them repeatedly if they’re decent – I’ve streamed Wind River three times and will probably do it a couple more times; it’s a simple movie, but it’s made me a Jeremy Renner fan where The Hurt Locker didn’t). The biggest change? The ability to walk away from bullshit and tell idiots to fuck off and mean it.

    I’m considering starting a side business abducting and torturing people who apologize for being retired. I think there may be money in it.

  10. I have 20 years until I can retire. I can’t wait. I want to travel and spend my time doing things that I want to do.

    The things that you folks are listing as doing in your retirements are going onto my to do list.

    Enjoy your retirements!! you folks have earned them!!

    Jim

  11. 48 years doing what I love and I can’t imagine ever stopping. I’m doing work with glass that is truly unbelievable and I’m still learning. Spent 11 hours today in my studio working-on a Sunday. Wish you could see it, maybe you’d understand.

    I traveled the world, sailed for years and have pretty much no desire for anymore of that. My only child, my beautiful daughter, passed away a few years ago and my only sibling is a creepy REgressive and we have little contact. Everyone else but my old friends are gone.

    Up everyday about 3, hit the gym and then me and the doggies head to my shop.

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