A few days before Jim and I left for Florida, my brother called to wish us a happy vacation. After a slight pause he added, “Wait, you’re retired and live in Cape May. You LIVE on vacation.”
Hum, is retirement in Cape May the same as living on vacation?
Two years into retirement, I still feel like I’m learning the ropes. When I first retired, I worried there wouldn’t be enough to keep me busy—that I’d be bored. Early on, my biggest challenge was learning to stop multi-tasking and over-extending myself and to get better at saying no.
Now that I’m getting the hang of it, I’m amazed at how much I savor the gift of time.
This memory about my mom helps to explain my point. My mom lived two hours away in Philadelphia, and visiting her took planning. One day I called to arrange a visit and told her I thought I could take a vacation day from work the following Tuesday or Thursday.
She said, “That won’t work, I have senior citizens on Wednesday.” When I repeated that it wasn’t Wednesday but Tuesday or Thursday that I wanted to visit, she said something like, “No, can’t do it. Two days in a row is too much.”
Back when I was working 10-12 hour weekdays and earning an MFA and writing novels on the weekend the resistance to doing something two days in a row struck me as absurd.
Now, two years into retirement I get it. The days with nothing on my calendar give me a perverse guilty pleasure. What a sweet surprise to find how much I relish slowing down and doing one thing at a time.
There’s still real life responsibility in retirement so it’s not exactly living on vacation, more real life without the grind of a day job.
There’s an indescribable wonderfulness about real life without work. Add to that, getting to live in magical Cape May. It may not be vacation, but it's priceless.