You’d think someone would have forewarned me. But no-o-o-o. With all the yapping about FIRE, quitting the nine to five rut and retiring early, surely someone would have mentioned these things. But wouldn’t you know, it took me three months to uncover a few nasty truths about retirement. So I’m personally going to share with you the six horrifying truths no one ever tells you about retirement.
You Get Urges to Take Naps
I’ve never been a napper before except when I’ve been ill. Or those times when I was a teenager that I napped before going out for the evening at 11 pm. But that was long ago. So now that I’m not working, why do I have these sudden urges to curl up in bed with Groovy Cat at 3:00 in the afternoon? It’s not like I don’t have things to do. But I’m finding, like clockwork, my eyelids get heavy around 3:00 every day. I don my eye mask to keep the light out, turn on my white noise machine to drown out any street noise, and crawl into bed for an hour. On top of that, I get sleepy when we take even a short drive. Am I reverting back to childhood? Will I soon be sucking my thumb, too?
The Alcohol Budget Goes Way, Way Up
It all began with a visit from my brother. My brother is very generous with Mr. Groovy and me and we wanted to stock up on some of his favorite items to have in the house for him. It just so happens that Kahlua with milk (we call it a white Russian, but it’s real name is a Sombrero) is one of my brother’s favorite drinks. And Mr. Manners that Mr. Groovy is, he wouldn’t allow my brother to drink alone each night. By the time my brother departed, Mr. Groovy was totally ensconced in his White Russian habit. And we were making weekly trips to the local ABC store (the state-run distributor of alcohol).
To make matters worse, during Christmas, our niece concocted a spiked hot chocolate drink made with Kahlua and Frangelico and warmed in the slow cooker. So now that the colder months are upon us, I’ve been fixing and fetching Mr. Groovy a spiked warm drink every time we hunker down to binge watch Netflix—and since we no longer need to arise for work, these chocolaty cordials are not limited to weekends. With large bottles of Kahlua costing $20-something bucks, I’ve started to go heavier on the milk.
You Crave Foods from Your Childhood
A few weeks ago the forecast was for heavy snow and Mr. Groovy clamored for Pop-Tarts. Before I entered the supermarket for milk, he reminded me three times not to forget the Pop-Tarts. Ever since he read how sales of Pop-Tarts increase when it snows, Mr. Groovy decided he must stock up on frosted blueberry Pop-Tarts when a storm is imminent. Nice wife that I am, I got him the value pack containing 16 pop tarts. Stupidly, I forgot the fact that he all but cut sugar out of his diet—except on Saturdays. So guess who is stuck at this moment with 12 pop tarts wrapped in foil, staring her in the face every time she opens the cupboard?
Speaking of foil-wrapped sweets. I’ve been searching high and low for the Yodels of my youth. Or even proof that they existed! Because no one believes me, but I swear—Yodels in the 1960s were stuffed with raspberry jam. The ones I devoured while watching The Flintstones were not the creme-filled ones sold now. They came wrapped in a silver and blue tin foil package. But there’s nothing in the history of Drakes about jam-filled Yodels. The only evidence I’ve found that I’m not nuts was from a few comments in online forums.
And while on the subject of resorting to our childhood desires—Mr. Groovy has rekindled his love of dinosaurs. I’ve caught him secretly watching Dinotopia and Dinotasia on Netflix. This rates right up there with his fascination with Sharknado!
Dive Bars Are Not Open in the Afternoon!
We’ve been trying to plan at least one activity a week in the Charlotte area that’s new to us. Whether it’s a walking trail, a museum, a scenic drive, or a matinee movie—which I wrote about taking in on our second day of retirement. Last week we attempted to go for a drink at a dive bar but the haunts we wanted to check out were closed! Where are all the boozers when you need them? We’ve got a few sweet watering holes in our neck of the woods, like the Thirsty Beaver and Hatties Tavern. These joints seem to cater to nocturnal creatures but we’re not of the bat, werewolf or leopard species—we’re lame old people! Only rarely do we hit a bar when the sun goes down.
There are More Weirdos in your Neighborhood than you Think
Mr. Groovy and I go for our daily walk in a nearby town park. It offers a nice walking path around its baseball fields. It also contains a children’s play area with swings, sliding ponds, a zip line, and musical instruments. It also has an area filled with outdoor gym equipment, furnished by a local physical therapy company. And, finally, there’s a dog-run that is quite popular.
We often see the same faces at the park who routinely follow our schedule. There’s “Survivor Man” whom we dubbed so because he listens to survivor podcasts as he pumps iron. Then there’s a strange woman we call “Loose Doody” because of her gait. Her limbs all but shake loose when she walks. Nuf said? We make sure to take a wide berth when we see her flailing in our direction on the path. Then there are the neighborhood truants who’d rather run around screaming at the top of their lungs like banshees than be in school. The only halfway normal looking people are the dog owners who mingle while their pooches chase each and let off some steam. And this leads me to ponder—what do these fine folks think of us?
Only Freaks and Retirees Go to Museums on Weekdays
I mentioned above how we’re trying out a new activity a week. Before taking a feeble crack at visiting a dive bar one afternoon last week, we first visited the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art in Charlotte. After arriving at around 12:30 in the afternoon, we realized that aside from staff and volunteers, we were the only ones in the entire place.
In each exhibit room, a young lady sat in a chair, eager to answer our questions. Normally, Mr. Groovy is a quiet person but something comes over him when he’s around young people and he feels the need to ask excessive questions. Each time we went by one of the young ladies he pumped them with, “What’s your favorite piece of art here?” “What’s your favorite museum?” “Are you an artist?” He even tortured one poor soul and whipped out his cell phone to show her a clip of his FI Gothic—his most prestigious artistic creation to date. There we were in an art museum and Mr. Groovy thought he’d impress the docent with his cartoon drawing!
But wait, it gets worse. He even tortured one poor docent by launching into one of his all-time favorite riffs about his Jackson Pollock poster. If I have to hear him retell this story one more time, I’m going to rip that framed Lucifer poster right off our wall! You see, back in Mr. Groovy’s graduate school days, he took copious notes in class. And in one of his classes, he had a female friend who often missed class because of her crazy work schedule. Invariably, toward the end of the semester, she would beg Mr. Groovy for his notes. “What can I give you in return?” she would plead. And since Mr. Groovy was keenly aware that she worked at the Museum of Modern Art, he would trade his class notes for art posters. And this is how Mr. Groovy became the proud owner of a Christina’s World poster, a Flag poster, and, of course, that damn Lucifer poster.
Well, no one said retirement was going to be easy—but I don’t know what I was expecting. Retired people mostly seem to worry about running out of money, fighting boredom, or missing their jobs. Clearly I’m in the minority. All I know is when the time comes that I’m clamoring to watch Let’s Make A Deal or I want to go play bingo every day—please someone, just come shoot me in the head!
Do you think I’m losing it so soon?
Should I fight the urge to nap or just go with the flow? After all, I did work for many years.
I’d love to hear your thoughts.