You would not believe how many times I’m asked that question, now that I’ve retired and moved to Panama. Here’s what I say: every day’s Saturday and I do whatever the hell I want – bwahahaha!
Here’s the less smart-assed answer: I love retirement. I feel busier then ever, but in such a good and fulfilled way. I know there are folks out there who love their jobs so much that they say they’ll never retire, even if it makes sense financially. Honestly, you’re incredibly lucky if you’ve found work that is so fulfilling for you.
For me, it was the exact opposite. I am so glad my time is now my own, and I do not have to answer to a boss or be working for a soulless, profit-obsessed company — which was the case through most of my working life. 3-4 weeks of vacation a year – really?? You have got to be kidding. Like the old Peggy Lee song “Is that all there is?”, I knew there had to be a lot more to life than that.
Our answer was to move to Panama, which allowed me to retire early and gave both of us the chance to have an amazing new cultural experience. And I haven’t looked back. I know this choice isn’t for everyone, but it’s doable if you have a thirst for adventure and you’re looking for an early way out of the rat race.
OK, so here’s a day in the life of a happily married, expat, retired guy:
Most cases I get up when Susan does. OK, well, not all the time! I did say most cases – and sometimes I get up before her. (Susan note: this is a matter of some debate!) That was almost unheard-of in my working days, except when I was traveling a lot. We wake up to the most beautiful sound of birds singing. It is amazing to hear the different bird chirps, gurgles, and whistles. We let the dogs out in the back yard and, and it’s a rare morning that one of us doesn’t say, wow what a beautiful morning. We live in paradise!
We get the coffee going — fresh-roasted Boquete coffee beans, I might add! I love to stroll around in the garden looking at all the plants, checking on how they are doing, and making decisions on moving this one or that one as they start to grow and crowd each other out. As our garden grows, one day we will not be able to see any of our back neighbors’ houses. Hopefully it will feel like a private tropical garden someday. We will see – but it’s fun watching it take shape.
After that, and in no particular order, here’s what I do to fill my days:
House/garden projects, shopping, errands, banking, paying bills, maintaining our accounts, walking the dogs and giving them attention, checking with Susan while she is working away to see if she needs anything. Messing about in the garden, watering plants, pruning, trimming. Dealing with any workers and maintenance issues with the house. Hiking, running, and yoga. Studying Spanish. I think I will be studying Spanish for the rest of my life!!
Planning meals, shopping, and cooking. I make breakfast, lunch and dinner if we are not going out. (Susan: I’m a lucky girl!) We do not eat out often. The food we eat and that I prepare is healthier and — not to brag, but – in many cases, just as good if not better than what the local restaurants offer.
Travel planning. Travel is a huge priority for us and I spend a lot of time researching destinations, looking for travel deals, getting stuff booked, and making sure the dogs are covered while we’re gone.
That’s about it. Each day varies. Oh, and as Susan says, I peel the grapes for her!