Retirement update: learning how to slow down

“What are your plans for the day?”Asked Mr. C (for curious) this morning.
“Ummmmm, well…maybe I’ll sew something” I reply, vaguely. This question, asked nearly every day, causes me to feel mildly anxious. To tell you the honest truth, I have no idea what I am going to be doing most of the time. Except for every second Wednesday, when I attend the Shuswap Quilter’s Guild meeting, my days are completely unstructured.

Isn’t this what I longed for in my pre-retirement days? Endless stretches of delicious, unstructured time? I should be blissfull! I should be rolling around in it like a dog rolling in….well… get the idea.

I’m not there yet. Moving from a structured, well-defined day with borders, hard edges and timetables to one that is soft and flowing takes time. Takes patience.


I am still in the uncomfortable stage of change.

I am as itchy as a wool power suit that finds itself in a room full of flowing cotton gypsy-skirts. I am discombobulated. (Isn’t discombobulated a wonderful word? I love it as much as I love ” verklempt” and ” obfuscate”)

Living a slower lifestyle is a learning process. It takes time and practice. Sometimes it’s great. Sometimes I feel as twitchy as a cat.


I am in the process of learning not to measure success (or my worth) by my pre-retirement yardstick. My worth is not measured by how much I accomplish in a day. Why is this such a difficult concept to integrate?
“It is okay to spend the day reading a book and puttering around the house or yard, Nita – it is okay!” Says I to myself.


I don’t have to bake a cake so I will have a physical result to flourish….”Ta da! Look what I did today! Here is credible measurable physical proof of production!”


I am learning to slow down. It’s a slow process. s.l.o.w. I’ve read on the many retirement blogs that I follow that it takes at least one year (often as many as 3 years) to fully settle into one’s new lifestyle. I am 5 months into the process and feeling like I’m in the waiting room or standing in a really long, slow-moving queue.

No regrets. We made the right decision. I’m just…itchy today.

I think I’ll go sew something.



  1. Hmmm…my previous comment must not have posted…but I wanted to thank you for sharing your transition.My days are structured 6am to 4pm and am growing exhausted of working….yet, I’ve just become adjusted to the empty nest and being Okay to just rest and relax during my after school/work hours without feeling guilty…can’t imagine what I’ll do when I retire. LOL!!! Babt steps! Like you, I’m learning to slow down. Learning how define my self worth through just me. Not in my roles of being a mom, wife, teacher or daughter…just me…as Val. (Not so easy after 22 years of being all those at once) Now…I finally have the time….but know it’s taking me time and PRACTUCE too! Though, I’m beginning to like it!!!! Hugs and smiles!

  2. I know how you feel. My first retirement was from a full-time job, with the plan to work some for a while yet. Knew I wasn’t quite ready, but was really, really tired! Kept working a few hours a week at a different job for another 3 1/2 years, when we went on an extended vacation. After that, it seemed quite easy to slow down – and now some days I’m so slow I don’t get any sewing done at all. It’ll come, it’ll come! That itchiness will gradually fade away.

  3. I understand totally about losing your structure. When I first retired, I wondered around for months. It took me a very long time to realize that I missed structure. I thought I was the only one who felt that way. I feel guilty reading also. Sewing is good.

  4. It does take time, and there is adjustment to your feelings of self worth, but eventually you get comfortable in the looser fit of the retirement garments and the thought of having a day that is more “fitted” is uncomfortable. It’s hard to remember that it’s ok to do nothing if that’s what you feel like doing!

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