Saturday, March 20, 2021

Retirement: Social media vs. reality

 I've been retired almost three months, and if you were to peruse my Facebook account, you might think all I do is hike all day, every day, and that every day is pretty perfect. But that would be wrong. 

Here is a pretty picture of a lake I hiked to recently:


What you don't see: the first mile and a half was as icy as a skating rink. I slid even with spikes on. I giggled inwardly as I caught up to and passed some young guys in their 20s, but then double timed it to stay ahead of them. I carried my snowshoes nine miles and didn't need them. Not having eaten, I ate chocolate like a wild dingo at the lake and then discovered it was 500 calories. On the way back I heard a loud noise in the woods and yelled Hey Bear loudly as I slid down the trail.

Last week I didn't post much on Facebook. That's because I was crankily perched in front of my computer, completing a helicopter manager refresher in Microsoft Teams so that I can stay current and still go on fire assignments. The cats walked across the keyboard, attempting to send messages in the chat. My camera refused to turn off for awhile after I stopped talking (the horror!) A glitch locked me out of the meeting for an hour.  Meanwhile, it was sunny and in the 50s outside.

Other days, I wake up and don't feel like gathering all my cold weather gear and driving a long way to a trailhead. Hiking with friends is still logistically complicated; often we take separate cars due to covid, leaving cell service and hoping everyone will make it to the trailhead. Some days I just drag myself to the gym in the middle of the day, joining the ranks of people who seem too young to be retired, and either are remote workers or have trust funds. It's not very exciting, so gym pictures rarely make the cut. 

When I was still working, I fiercely envied retired people. I imagined their lives to be carefree. Time, I thought, would slow down. Well, nope. It's great not to be working, but there are still plenty of bills to pay. Days seem to hurtle by even faster than ever. And if you were considered an expert in your field, you are suddenly not relevant. It's a lot to process.

So, for every trail photo you see on social media, there are exciting nights devoted to reading books (Nomadland: read it) and eating cookies. It's not bad, but it's not perfect either. It's just life.


I hope my snowshoes enjoyed riding in my pack for 9 miles

12 comments:

  1. adjustments for sure, from the life that was and the one that is and is still evolving. What would be strange is if it DIDN'T feel unsettled at times. I remember those times when people moved on and it was like I wasn't there. You will work it out. And a comfortable, workable life will emerge.

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    1. Once the annuity gets figured out it will be better.

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  2. So far I've enjoyed my retirement immensely. I sometimes have to pinch myself because I've been so happy and content. It's been wonderful to do whatever I want everyday and not worry about work any more. And, yes there's days when all I do is chores - grocery run, bathroom cleaning, etc. But I'm ok with that - gotta have some downtime too. My hubby (who still has to work another 3-4 years) made me a "honey do" list, but I've only completed part of one task so far! :)

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    1. Oh don't get me wrong, it's pretty great. But I think if you're not a fairly happy person before, it isn't going to turn you into one. Haha at the honey do list.

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  3. Open Horizons are exciting and also somewhat scary, till the "next chapter" appears. NINE MILES?????

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    1. I think the farthest I've carried them is 10 miles, with 5000' elevation gain in 5 miles.

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  4. If sounds like you are adjusting well. Take the time to settle in and create the new habits and routines that make you happy!!!!

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    1. I am, since my job was pretty demanding it's taking time to wind down but I'm working on it!

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  5. You really look way too young to be retired! Your hikes sound great. My cat likes to walk on the keyboard while I am working too! Must be a universal feline thing.

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    1. Thanks! They do kick us out early in the firefighting job and don't let us stay in that position till traditional retirement age. My cats tend to ignore keyboards until I'm actually working on them.

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  6. 2 questions. Dingos like chocolate? Are tame Dingos significantly less hungry than wild Dingos? Hmmm... :)

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    1. There's a special chocolate loving wild dingo.

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