Mr. Groovy and I are almost done with week two of retirement and I’m excited to share a theory with you we’ve been testing out. We’re hoping it can sustain us into our golden years. And since you’re already reading this post you know what it is—my idea of retirement bliss is doing one planned activity a day. Earth-shattering, I know.
Many years ago, I met a woman who was the living embodiment of relaxation. I asked her to share her secret with me and she said, “It’s very simple—do one thing a day.” She went on to explain that if you plan to shop—just shop. If you want to go to a movie—just go see the movie. She advised to let the rest of the day unfold. The value, she said, is in enjoying each moment and not being in such a rush that the days, months, and years go by too fast.
Now I know most of us have too many responsibilities to plan only one activity a day. But since Mr. Groovy and I suddenly have more time on our hands, we thought we might try to model this behavior—with a little twist. We’re continuing to carry out our daily and weekly activities, but we’re planning them around our one main venture for the day. If our routine tasks and chores fit in around that activity—great. We’ll add them to the mix.
On day 1 of our retirement, we focused on shipping Mr. Groovy’s work laptop back to his employer. We brought it over to UPS where the clerk packed it up nicely and safely to send off to Texas. When Mr. G handed the clerk his business AmEx card, the machine denied his charge. His employer wasted no time shutting down that baby! “Don’t let the door slam your backside on the way out,” as Fritz remarked in his post about our Day 1 of retirement.
Mr. G paid the $80+ fee with his Visa and later filled out a reimbursement form. To his company’s credit (and his former manager’s), they transferred the funds to our checking account by Friday.
On day 2 of retirement we saw the movie Sully. For a long time Mr. G said he yearned to see a movie during a midweek matinee. It was his FU to the 9 to 5 grind. And so we went to a 12:15 pm show. Of the seven people in the theater, we were the only two without white hair.
On Wednesday and Thursday (days 3 and 4), we visited Mr. Groovy’s parents. We felt great as we took a leisurely three-hour drive on a weekday for a sleepover! We stopped for our usual hot mocha at MacDonald’s, but this time we tried a caramel mocha—oooh, how decadent! At my groovy in-laws we imbibed on wine to toast our retirement. I can’t remember the last time I had alcohol in the middle of the day—let alone, a weekday. In addition, Wednesday was especially sweet because Mr. Groovy’s FI Gothic retirement day post landed on Rockstar Finance. J$ even tweeted it out with Mr. G’s original artwork—usually he substitute’s his own image.
On Friday, day 5, I had a mammogram. I recently found out my health insurance lasts until the end of the month. And this time, we didn’t need to rush home for conference calls. I get the 3D tomosynthesis mammo, which Aetna has covered completely so far. Under Obamacare, I’d pay a $55 upcharge for the tomo. So I knocked something off my to do list and saved money.
The Breast Center (yes, that’s what they call it) is located at a large hospital complex in the next town. My appointment was at 11 am. I was called in right away and finished in ten minutes. On the way out, the staff offered me a miniature cake—did I do something special? No, they offered cakes to all ladies as they checked out from the exam. Perhaps it was because October is Breast Awareness Month, I’m not sure—but these were no ordinary cakes baked by Martha in Pediatrics or Janet from the ER. These were seriously divine Bundt cakes. I chose a white chocolate raspberry Bundt cake because I heard a few staff members oohing and ahhing over it. We wanted to dive right into it in the car on the way home but waited until before (not after) dinner.
Mr. G is still talking about the white chocolate raspberry Bundt cake one week later. I’m sure we’ll be making a trip to the bakery that sells them before the holidays.
On the way home we mailed off a check for our property taxes and stopped at BestBuy to get a laptop case for me. Then we got a dunkacchino at Dunkin’ Donuts, using a gift card.
Saturdays and Sundays the past two weeks have been like any other weekend days. We cleaned the house, took our usual two mile walk, and just hung out. I should mention that Mr. Groovy had a terrible cold and cough that worsened on our last Friday of work. We never went out for a celebratory dinner that first Saturday. Instead, we got Chinese takeout food and I made sure he had some hot soup and tea.
This past Monday we visited my aunt in the nursing home and picked up food and litter for Groovy Cat on the way home. On Tuesday we went to the polls for early voting and on Wednesday I had a dental appointment. Last night we chatted with Ms. Montana as Thursday’s one planned activity. Correction—six bloggers assembled for a group chat with Ms. Montana and each other. Ms. Montana is super cool and dedicated to bringing great blogger minds together to network.
Today, Friday, is another low key day. Our planned activity is a trip to sweetFrog for frozen yogurt and a drive down our favorite country road where we like to count the goats and cattle we pass by.
As you can see, our weeks have been uneventful—and I’ve loved every minute. The weather here in Charlotte has been gorgeous. I wake up with no heaviness in my heart. Life is good.
Have you ever taken a vacation where you crammed so many sights into one trip that you couldn’t even remember where you’ve been? Or weeks you were so busy you didn’t remember what you did or what you accomplished? Have you returned home from work and put your keys in the refrigerator because you were preoccupied about a problem you had at the office?
Many of you who read Freedom Is Groovy are busy with life—paying down student loan debt, working a job and a side hustle, raising children, refinancing a mortgage, researching a car purchase—the list goes on and on. Many of you are also much younger than Mr. Groovy and me and aren’t thinking yet about age or health getting in the way of your dreams. However, Mr. G and I feel the clock ticking. We need to plan our most rigorous and adventurous trips and projects in the next five to ten years—while we’re able to handle them. It’s clichéd but true—time goes by in a flash. We’ve been married 14 years and it only feels like three or four years. I want the years to go by s-l-o-w-l-y, not quickly.
If given a choice between boredom and super busy, I pick boredom. I’d rather sit outside and feel the sun on my back and daydream than make sure every time slot on my calendar is filled. Just recently I’ve come to understand why slow travel has become so popular. Slow travel allows you to enjoy each experience instead of taking a selfie to post on Facebook before moving on to the next sight so you can say you’ve been there. Mr. G and I need to savor each moment and each experience. I’m only eight years away from Medicare and I’m not mentally ready for that. But if 14 years go by in a flash, how quickly will 8 years go by?
“But Mrs. Groovy, just like you said—I work full-time, have young children, and look after an older parent. It’s absolutely impossible for me to schedule one planned activity per day.” I hear your pain. And I’m sympathetic—before Mr. Groovy and I were free from work, it was next to impossible to schedule just one activity per day. But even with a hectic schedule you can:
Designate just one planned activity on a Saturday, Sunday, or another day off; or
Take a morning to yourself and do just one thing; or
Find an hour where you can fit in one activity—but REALLY make it one! That means no cell phones, no interruptions, and no distractions.
The concept is the same—savor the moments even if you must grab them where and when you can. We all have the same twenty-four hours in each day. What we make of them is a choice. We can squeeze in every activity under the sun or we can take a step back. For me, scheduling one planned activity a day is a way to slow down, notice my surroundings, and appreciate the life I’ve been given.