You Didn't Retire Just So You Could Do Errands For Other People
By Karen and Erica
You have been working 24/7 for decades, in a great job. You raised your children, feeding and clothing them and your partner. You kept a moderately elegant and clean home. You had others to help along the way, since your work kept you in the office until stores closed--though internet shopping helped a lot. It was always busy, and your obligations never ended.
Now, you have retired. Suddenly, people think that since you don't have to work, you can spend all of your time running errands for them. You can be a full time housekeeper, plumber, electrician. Chief cook and bottlewasher. Scheduler. Your children, your spouse, your friends, have external obligations, but you don't, so you can now do all the stuff they don't want to do. Or have no time to do. They ask, and you feel as if you can’t say no.
Do not let this happen to you. You did not work as hard as you did so that when you retired you could become everyone’s dogsbody. Sure, you have just finished a long and illustrious career. But a key benefit should be that you can now choose what you want to do with your time. Maybe you like cooking for the family, or rewiring that lamp. Fine. But maybe you don’t. It's your choice.
Same with obligations you decide to assume. Have you found an amazing non-profit that seems to need your expertise? Once you get involved, are you relegated to party planner? If you enjoy that, fine. If not, just say no. You offered them your expertise. You did not offer them administrative support for activities that bore you.
How you think about your time is key. It is yours. You earned it. If you need to make money or care for a loved one, that is a true constraint. But otherwise, you should think about how you want to spend your time. And spend it exactly as you wish.