Four years ago I wrote about training to ride across the country, but how do you train to retire?

I firmly believe that retirement takes training. I have said many times that retirement, like voting, should be done early and often. I also think beliefs are like freckles. If you look closely, most of us have a few and having a bunch doesn’t make you better. (And are liver spots [or age spots] just big freckles?) Or maybe I believe that beliefs are like diapers and should be changed often. I definitely believe that beliefs are like selves and shouldn’t be taken too seriously.

I’ve been working (with a few breaks, or practice retirements) since 1965. On June 4, I will walk out of the hospital at around 1500 (that’s 3 pm to normal people) for the last time after 23 years. I won’t be going back to that job, or maybe any job.

How to train for what’s next? For 9 weeks, I will ride my bike 6 days a week. That oughta help me get used to not going to work. You train by doing what you plan to do. I don’t want to sit on my ass and watch TV while drinking beer, so that’s not what I’ll train.

Without a structure after that, I’ll have to create one. I want to ride at least 4 days a week year ’round so I will plan that. Exercise just happens now – it’s how I get to and from work. It won’t just happen after this trip.

Sunday morning was a hard freeze. We hit the road with the temperature near the freezing point and rode a leisurely 37 miles. By the time we got home it was a summery 45 degrees (7 C). If we didn’t have days like this, I couldn’t justify the tights, fleece jersey, and shoe covers I bought. The only thing green was the winter wheat.

I have tasks that have been on a to-do list for years (like replacing 106 year old putty that is falling out of windows, replacing sash cords – I was amazed that all sash cords were intact when we bought this house 26 years ago [that is no longer the case], and repairing/replacing the plaster wall that my daughter kicked a hole in years ago), and will need to make a schedule so I actually do some of those while I still can.

I bought a kayak in preparation for retirement. It needs to spend much more time in the water than it has. It needs to see water farther from home.

I bought an espresso machine because I figured that was cheaper, in the long run, than hanging out in coffee shops with the other retirees. It may not be cheaper than just brewing coffee at home, but it sure tastes better.

I bought a new lens for my camera, hoping to get out in the donzerly light when I don’t have to get to work. Maybe I can capture some of that early morning magic to have more than memories and mental images to share here. And I won’t be limited to the route from here to work.

I figured that whatever I thought I would need/want in retirement, I would buy while still working; so the training has been going on for a few years.

BK (Before Kids) I served on the boards of a few organizations and volunteered for others. Most of that was not part of any Grand Plan – it arose and I did it. Maybe I’ll do that again. [And it wasn’t all BK – I spent 8 years on the board of their daycare center.]

The university here allows old folks to audit courses without charge. It’s part of the Wisconsin Idea. (Also here.) Maybe I’ll go back to school when it is safe.

It’s a funny thing about work. Over time, you come to define yourself by what you do, not by who you are. I have the advantage of having done many things, so that definition has some flexibility. I am an Occupational Therapist, but I was a plumber before that and a co-op manager before that. Something has been constant through those career changes. Am I still in touch with what that is? Vamos a ver.

It is time to train to be a retiree. (7)

Author: halffastcyclingclub

We are a group of friends who ride bikes. Some of us are fast, some of us are slow, all of us are half-fast. In 2018, one of us rode coast to coast across the US. It was so much fun, he's doing it again in 2022! If we meet Sal Paradise, we'll let you know.

6 thoughts on “Training”

  1. I found when I retired that I didn’t want to help anyone do anything ever again. I was DONE serving the people. I guess 38 years in the classroom kind of wrung it out of me. I got a bike that I still cannot get on without laying it on the ground and stepping over it which is NOT all that practical except at the beginning of a ride. It’s frustrating, but I’m not giving up. I knew I was going to paint, I didn’t know that artists are highly competitive and can be very very mean. I was in the middle of writing a novel so I kept at that till I finished. I learned that retirement is just like weekends (when I wasn’t teaching Saturdays) or the rare summer when I wasn’t teaching and I could wake up in the morning and think, “I can do anything I want!” It’s great.

    Stuff came up, too, like a hip replacement. That seems to be a “thing” about being, uh, not young…

    Anyway, I like being retired very very very much. I think you will, too. It helps to have a passion or several and you do.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have known people who stopped working and died promptly, having nothing else in their lives. I have known people who became very busy in retirement and wondered how they ever managed to work full time. I hope to end up somewhere in between, keeping in mind the dictum “Everything in moderation…including moderation.” You seem to be doing it well.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. So far so good. I’ve known people who died within months of retirement, too. Time can weigh heavily on people — I remember when I first moved here and met the two women who live nearby they said to each other, “I guess she doesn’t get bored,” about me. I learned from that that they DID get bored. Boredom is OK with me because it means something interesting is mulling around somewhere in my mind. I think you’re going to have a good time!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Steve, you speak truth and your plans are sound…. but don’t forget to include some travel in your plans ( beyond the x-US bike tour). You don’t have to go far by car or bike, Wisconsin and the Midwest have a lifetime of interesting places to see and sample….And Covid safely with some prep. So enjoy and keep us posted!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sounds like you’re putting a LOT of thought into retirement, which is great. Can’t see you sitting in front of the tube swilling beer. Might want to leave a little time for unstructured “fuck it” nothing planned let entropy rule today!😉


    Liked by 1 person

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