Soon after Mr. Groovy and I quit our jobs I wrote about retirement bliss. A few months later I shared the six horrifying truths no one tells you about retirement. I wasn’t sure what to expect after that. Now, nine months into horrifying bliss, I’m happy to divulge the five surprising perks of retirement I’ve found.
Your phone doesn’t ring
We expected our phone would ring constantly after retiring. We thought our friends would assume we were sitting around eating Bon-Bons and twiddling our thumbs. In retrospect, our expectation makes no sense because all of our friends are still working. Even so, given we have no more mandatory conference calls, the Groovy household is awfully quiet.
In fact, the Groovy household is so removed from phone-induced interruptions, we thought nothing of leaving our land line plugged in and our cell phones left on while Mr. Groovy participated in a taping of Stacking Benjamins. Because really, who calls us? The town crier from Oyster Bay (Mr. Groovy’s former coworker) who checks in with Mr. Groovy once a week and reports on who’s retiring, who’s been indicted, and who’s passed away? Our wretched cable company that keeps trying to sell us services we don’t need or want?
And you might remember my love/hate relationship with Mr. Phone, which was more hate than love. So I’m not crying over no one calling me. The sound of a phone can still make my teeth grate.
No one cares that you’re retired
Many people agonize over what they’re going to tell people when they retire. They feel awkward or inept when it comes to answering the “What do you do?” question now that they no longer work. I’ve read numerous stories in the Mr. Money Mustache forums of folks badgered on a daily basis by neighbors about their lack of gainful employment. Check out this thread with 108 responses: “Was called useless because I don’t have a job – rant alert.” Another thread called “Dealing with hostility post FIRE” is equally disturbing. The psychological drama can get pretty intense. Fortunately that has not been our experience, at all.
Perhaps we don’t face these issues because we stopped working at an age more closely associated with normal retirement than most of those in the FIRE community? (Yes, Vicki, we are that old!) Whatever the reason, honestly, no one cares. Our friends and family are happy for us, of course, but when we mention in passing to an acquaintance that we both retired last year on the same day, the response is, “Oh that’s nice.”
You don’t think about the job you left
OK, so this one is NOT so surprising. I didn’t expect I’d think much about my job, but I’m thoroughly amused by just how little my former work life crosses my mind. The old job seems light years away. I receive an occasional LinkedIn invite from someone who missed the line I added to my profile about retiring in 2016. I also exchange email every once in a while with two former co-workers. But we catch up on life. They know better than to fill me in on their war stories. I didn’t care about the gossip and the politics when I was employed, and I certainly don’t want to hear any of it now.
You learn to embrace no-shower days
Mr. Groovy already mastered this habit before we retired, but I was late to the party. I even scoffed at him—but now I’m a believer too.
Since we worked our W2 jobs from home prior to retiring, we took our daily walks during lunch. When we returned, we grabbed a bite and Mr. Groovy was happy to wait for a break in his afternoon schedule to shower. But when he couldn’t find the time, he made an executive decision and declared it a no-shower day. I always needed my shower and coffee to start the day and to face my email barrage.
Now that we don’t work, we take our walks earlier in the morning. Since I’m very fair and always wear sunscreen, I’m not only drenched with sweat after we walk, I’m sticky with melted sunscreen. It seems silly for me to shower upon waking and then again two hours later. So I put it off until we return from our walk. But every now and then I get sidetracked, and I don’t shower immediately when we return. So then I figure I’ll stay in my smelly workout clothes and do a YouTube exercise video. Then, before I know it, it’s lunch time. After lunch, I get preoccupied with writing or reading. Then dinner time rolls around, and I think—oh screw it. I, too, can declare it a no-shower day. Am I not the fabulous Mrs. Groovy, after all?
You meet a lot of dogs
We walk every day in Crooked Creek Park, the same park where Mr. Groovy picks up trash. And practically every day we meet a new dog. Our first new furry friend was Kelsie, a golden retriever. Since then we’ve met dozens of retrievers, labs, terriers, and an adorable spaniel. Crooked Creek is a fairly new park with a large dog run that’s very popular in our neighborhood. Many of the shady parts of the park are on the walking path, which is where we meet our new friends.
Last week, a young lady driving slowly through the parking lot at Crooked Creek stopped and asked us for help in finding a missing black poodle, Ellie. She showed us a photo and we exchanged numbers. Mr. Groovy and I kept our eyes peeled during the rest of our walk and looked in the open fields on the way home. But we didn’t see any signs of Ellie. Frankly, I was hoping she didn’t make it as far as the park because the yard she escaped from was a good distance away. Luckily, a neighbor found Ellie that very same evening. Tracy, her owner, was kind enough to let me know.
You find out how awesome your spouse is (bonus perk)
I already knew I married the Fabulous Mr. Groovy, but since we retired, he’s become even more fabulous. He’s teaching himself how to create mobile apps, he started his vlog “Talking Trash with Mr. Groovy,“and he’s now learning more video skills so that he can make Talking Trash even better.
And this week Mr. Groovy upped his game to a new level. He’s taking on his nemesis—our front porch! The Fabulous Mr. Groovy is morphing into Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor. He’s going DIY on our front porch fix. Pretty soon he’ll be grunting like the Tool Man.
Mr. Groovy spoke too soon in his Dodged a Bullet post about how we got away with only cosmetic damage to our front porch. We were wrong. It’s not just trim that needs to be replaced. After removing more trim, Mr. Groovy found a portion of rotten wood that needs shoring up. Upon inspecting the second floor porch we could see where water leaked through the columns, damaging some of the underlying wood. The second floor columns need to be sealed as well.
We figured we’d bring in the pros for this job, and we began getting estimates. We received quotes ranging from $2,500 to $4,200, with differing opinions about what work needs to be done. One contractor practically wanted to rebuild our entire second floor porch. That’s when Mr. Groovy got fed up and decided he’d do the fixing himself. A couple of YouTube videos, a few Google searches, and he has a plan in place. Today he picked up some wood epoxy, sealant, new wood and paint for the trim—and this weekend, we begin. I’ll help of course—but I won’t be wearing Pamela Anderson hot pants.
In the words of Mr. Groovy—“I think we got this.” And in the words of our friend Jillian at Montana Money Adventures—”I’d rather screw up a job myself for free than hire people who charge me to screw it up.”