What happened to leisurely retirement?

For 25 years, I worked in the same place. During that time, people came and went.
As in every organization, there were a few lemons. But for the most part, the people I worked with made the work day fun.
I still get together with work friends periodically. And I also love it when I unexpectedly meet some of my former co-workers.
That happened last week when I ran into Richard. We exchanged some pleasantries about our work together. And then remembering the good times we had square dancing with Richard and Pam, I asked whether they still dance.
Just as expected, they said they just didn’t have the time.
I know how busy young couples are—attending their children’s games, volunteering, and both working full-time. So I believed it when Richard said that if they had two extra days every week, they still would be too busy.
But my question is: Why do I feel the same way?
The whole idea of having two more days seems very appealing. Maybe I could catch-up on e-mail or get rid of the clutter around my desk. Maybe I even could redecorate our bedroom.
Whatever happened to the leisurely retirement I expected?
Obviously, I don’t want to sit around with nothing to do. But, just for once, I would like to finish everything on my daily to-do list.
You may say, why not write a shorter list? But the problem is that everything on the list seems important.
I had begun reading a book, entitled “How Did I Get So Busy” by Valorie Burton, before I talked to Richard. So our conversation really made me start thinking about how I’m spending my time.
Burton writes, “Our lives aren’t just overloaded, but lived in overdrive.” Even in retirement.
The whole book title is “How Did I Get So Busy: The 28-Day Plan to Free Your Time, Reclaim Your Schedule, and Reconnect with What Matters Most.”
That seemed pretty good to me, so I began with the Introduction and took the quiz, “How Busy Are You?” The quiz included the following statements (how many do you say yes to?)
•My mail is piled up because I haven’t had time to open or sort it.
•I have not gotten together with friends for fun and conversation in over a month
•I never seem to be able to get anywhere on time.
•I don’t have time to write thank-you notes.
•I don’t take time to exercise.
Some statements were true for me, but some were not. My overall score was 15 points: Too Busy and Frustrated.
Before writing “How Did I Get So Busy,” Burton surveyed 300 people about busyness. Her findings are amazing:
•54 percent get together with friends less than once a month.
•80 percent say their schedule is somewhat or entirely over-committed.
•76 percent say they feel busier now than they did five years ago.
So this “busyness” is a real problem. And in the meantime, we can easily miss the wonderful journey of life.
Always remember that just because there is more to do doesn’t mean it has to be done today. And be sure to add some fun goals to your daily list.
Marie Snider is an award-winning health care writer and syndicated columnist. Write her at thisside60@aol.com or visit www.visit-snider.com

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