I have a lot of time on my hands now that I am retired, but that doesn't mean that I want to spend it wasting it.

I know that this sounds harsh.

It probably means that I am selfish. But I was put on the spot recently. I was asked to help host a bridal shower. And well, that has just never been my cup of tea, or I should say coffee. I like to be active, organized, and not be the one dancing to the whims of a couple of ladies that I can't really stand being around for more than a few hours.

The fatdroid put it down as a delima, her delima. Mine wasn't so much a delima as it was a tacklful way to say no.

I am not one for keeping thing quite for the sake of piece, if it hurts them and they retract from you, then you need to take it as a lesson learned. I would suggest being honest. Something like, "Hey X, I hate to do this but I can't help you out." You do not need to give them a reason here. If they ask. They are over stepping boundaries. They should accept that you can't make it and leave it at that.

You can also go with a more oblique, "So sorry but it just won't work, have a great time!"

Unless they are totally dense they will get it and like I said. If they pull the jerk card on you then you have learned something.

Normally when I find myself in this situation I will just write a short note on the RSVP card saying you would love to be there, but can't and you'll be celebrating them from home. Or write a short note saying you wish you could attend and you can't wait to celebrate the next time you see them.

But this depends on how close you are.

Since I was asked to help I needed to act quicker.

The woman being honored at the bridal shower really didn't make me feel like they really wanted to be there so I personally I don't feel like you need to explain myself at all, but a note card is how I will go abouthandling it.


Not working is a new experience and many of us don't have a clue how to approach it. I read a lot of articles and a book or two that gave me some direction, but no real roadmap to take me from working to a happy retirement.

While the process was disjointed and a little hit or miss, I can point to the major steps that I focused on to get to the point I am. To help you avoid the running in circles pieces that we experienced, I’ll organize this into logical steps that need to be completed. Addressing all of these is essential so don’t think that doing 7 of 8 is success. Some of them will evolve over time, but you need to have a plan to address them all.

These are the elements of your retirement transition plan inventory:

    • Personal activity plan – What are you going to do with your new found freedom?
  • Spousal/partner activity plan – What are you and your spouse going to do to make retirement a mutually happy experience.
  • Get your life in order – We all have little messes in our lives that need to get cleaned up.
  • Decide where you want to live – This is a complex question that depends a lot on many other items in your transition plan.
  • Develop a retirement budget – This will allow you to assess the viability of many elements of your transition plan.
  • Develop an investment strategy for your savings – This is an important aspect of a successful retirement.
  • Perform a personal and family health assessment – The life you live in retirement is dependent on how healthy you are and how healthy the other members of your family are.
  • Establish a calendar of events – Ideally, the inventory should be developed before you retire so that you have it as a guide to a happy retirement.

I discovered that a single hobby, no matter how exciting, can become a chore if you work on it non-stop. I ended up adding a couple more hobbies to the mix and taking occasional breaks.

I ad mit, it is nothing fancy, really, just basic project management principles like:

  1. capturing and tracking requirements and deliverables
  2. prioritization
  3. resource allocation in a multi-developer environment
  4. dependencies
  5. allocating time for code refactoring and documentation updates
  6. keeping the communications channels with the users open, establishing expectations and adjusting the plan based on their feedback

I retired about a year ago. I've been through the boredom. It's almost like there's too much choice and it's paralyzing.

Then I started volunteering.

It was okay, but didn't give me that boost I wanted. I still volunteer one day a week but it's become more of a chore than anything. Then I tried creating things - mostly tackle and stuff for fishing. Oddly, fishing wasn't as high on my list as it once was.

Then I went through a period where I stopped trying. For some weeks I'd tell myself I didn't need to rush it, that it was my job to keep my mind open for the universe to send me inspiration. That didn't last long. I realized I was totally addicted to the internet.

Like, while on the toilet, stopped at a traffic light, read over coffee, etc..

Then I started a habit at night: I'd scope out the next day - down to the half hour. What I wanted to do: exercise, yoga, write for 3 hours, read a particular book.

What I found was that when I formally planned my day, it took away the overwhelming decision fatigue of having no plans and infinite options.

I still slip back into old patterns but I've finished my writing and exercise and reading for the day. I feel better being online having accomplished things that give me personal fulfillment.

  1. Be ready to throw everything against the wall -- art, learning, socials, math, whatever. If you see that there's an introductory japanese class or someone you know is starting a book club, go to it all. Until you get a better feel for what you like, do everything.
  2. Find something interesting in everything you do -- it's the start of your "Story Repertoire" -- the great memories that you can share with others.
  3. Read. Every single day. I'd say a minimum of an hour.
  4. Actively be where people are interacting and look for situations that improve your likelihood of "collisions" (aka random conversations) with other people. eg. If I'm at starbucks staring at my laptop with my headphones on, no one will glance twice at you; but put the laptop away and write a few postcards / letters snail mail style, and suddenly you're chatting about your family with a lady and her daughter over tea -- why? because you're now doing something interesting to other people -- and being interesting to other people often is the start of an inspirational thread.
  5. Practice being the most ridiculously extroverted person that ever lived. Sign up for a few meetups and before you walk through the door stretch out your smile muscles & say to yourself "I'm going to go in there, shake someones hand and ask them what they do."
  6. Be an amazing listener and never brag. The perfect time to talk about yourself is in sharing your experience as a contextual reference in an ongoing conversation. If no one's talking, have some roughed out prepared topics [reading the news in the morning is good for this] to carry the conversation until someone else moves it forward. If no one's talking and there's no awkwardness, then just be comfortable to hang out in the quiet and enjoy eachother's company.
  7. After you've met a few people, make an active effort to invite them out; whether it be to an event or to your house for potluck/boardgames.

Anyway, that's been my experience. Take from it what you will.


Mornings are when I have the most energy and feel like doing things so I take advantage and spend an hour or so on chores like cleaning up, fixing stuff, opening the mail. Then I shower, get dressed and run some errands, usually on my bike.

If I'm going out I'll call up some friends and see if anyone wants to grab some coffee or have lunch or just see what they're up to. If I have no errands to do I might just go for a 10-50 mile bike ride to the beach, or down some roads I haven't seen before or in a while. Or grab a piece of fruit, water and then go for a long walk. Usually I'll stop on a bench somewhere with my tablet and read/surf/call someone.

I have one friend who's the a trainer at a local club so I'll stop by there around noon-time once a week for some interaction.

By the early-afternoon I'm usually back home and I'm pretty much a couch potato after that point.

I play video games, read, watch movies/tv, see what my cat's up to, take a break to cook up a good dinner and that's about that.

Just about every weekend friends come over on Friday or Saturday for a long visit.

Usually at least one day a week is a special day where I break out of my routine and do something that takes the entire day, like climb a mountain, take a drive to the nearest big city and hang out there for the day, go to the beach, go to a museum, theater, amusement park...

I think a big part of this is about getting into the right mindset more than anything.

Try and enjoy the day to day as much as possible.