A lot of people, I'll bet, look forward to retirement as a time of freedom. I know I had images of doing lots of traveling without worrying about 'vacation days,' of reading and writing in coffee shops, of learning new things unhampered by the need to spend time learning things at work that I'd often soon find were useless (including the organization chart and how to navigate it). I envisioned myself totally in control of my finances and with all my stuff organized so it would be useful to me. I thought I'd be more useful to society in general and those around me than when I was committed to the 9-5. I saw myself doing exercise programs, playing tennis and playing Bridge. I saw myself well-informed, reading lots of books and three newspapers a day.
Life creates restraints, however, and working for a living is just one of them. Your health and the health of the people you are responsible for curtails what you might do. Once you commit to some activity, too, whether it's tennis or a commitment to yourself to do so many sit-ups a week, that's time you can't commit to something else. You have to budget every hour you spend. Looking at your investments? Then you aren't writing. Or reading. Or getting your house in order. Want to take a vacation? Still you have to plan it around your other commitments. Yeah, we have planned to take five days out of town in 2008. How can it be that we are missing two charity events we probably should have participated in and also having to get someone to take my dad for medical stuff. Five days. Geez.
And we aren't the people we used to be. We retired early but we are still too old to take up mountain climbing. Too old in fact to learn too many new tricks. But, one day, I hope you find me budgeting a morning a week to sit in a downtown coffee shop near my new home and drink coffee and read and write and watch the people go by.