Just Retired? Don't Panic.
By Karen and Erica
You know that feeling, right after lunch and during a long afternoon, when you find yourself retired, with absolutely no commitments, nothing to do, nothing planned, no obligations? Everyone seems to be busy--except you. Panic sets in--what will you do for the next five hours or so until dinner when even working people might be available to spend some time with you? How can you make the afternoon go faster? Or, better yet, how can you convert panic to relish?
Mornings are easy. There is breakfast to consume, news to digest, bills and other paperwork to take care of, calls to return, errands to run. But the afternoons--that’s when the panic starts to set in. At first we wondered whether it was just us.
We quickly discovered that it is a common condition--a little, but not much, comfort. Then we started to figure it out. As full time working women, we were so used to, reflexively, choosing the earliest time in the day to do personal stuff. We no longer have to do that.
When given a choice to schedule something, we choose the afternoon. We specifically schedule chores for the afternoon--doctor's appointments, exercise, hair color. Then, there is the whole other world out there.
First, there is lunch. We now have time to dine mid-day at both new and familiar places. And the price of lunch--even at the fanciest of places--is far more reasonable than experimenting at dinner. We take turns inviting new people to join us.
We also now have time for us. We go to openings at the Met and the Whitney. We take an Architectural Institute of America boat tour around Manhattan. We go to lectures at the new Rizzoli on Broadway. We explore art galleries on the lower east side. We walk in parts of Manhattan we don’t really know and find interesting buildings, restaurants, and shops that go on our list. Sometimes we meet for a late afternoon coffee or a glass of wine at places like the Vin Sur Vingt in the Village or the Grand Salon at the Baccarat Hotel in midtown, just to catch up and plan something else, for some other afternoon.
We think together about people we each know or could get an introduction to and who we might, together, like to get to know better. Our calendars get pretty full pretty quickly. New people have new ideas and one thing always leads to another.
We also discovered that we were used to saving time by communicating via text or email. But when you have time, person to person is so much better. So, if given a choice, we talk on the phone or we meet.
Third, we created a new structure for ourselves. We go to our office and work. We write, we edit, we laugh and talk things through. And decide next steps. Generally, we work in the afternoons.
And then there is just the joy of down time and being alone. Remember how much we all wanted it when we were working? Relish it now that we have it.