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Making retirement as easy or busy as desired

Things to do: retirement is a time to relax or fill your days with the chores of your choice

There’s an old proverb that says, “Man may work from sun to sun, but woman’s work is never done.”

While this might not be the case in today’s corporate environment, it is still quite often the case for women of all ages who work at home.

This week’s article was inspired by an older acquaintance who sent me a list of all her daily responsibilities that she compiled after her grandson asked, “Granny, what do you do?”

As you will see below, there do not appear to be many tasks that she is likely to be able to retire from any time soon. On the one hand, this might be viewed as a life of drudgery, on the other this might well be what keeps her young. Certainly, her sense of humour is alive and kicking.

If you ask me, I would far rather wake up in the morning with a huge list of things that need attending to than realise that it was 5am and that I had 14 hours to fill before I could sleep again and nothing to occupy my time. But I have always been that way; when I was small my mother used to complain that I needed to play with at least six toys at once in order to be happy.

In short, I love to be busy — but that’s me, and the great thing in this world is that we are not all the same.

So rather than attempt to tell you how to be, let alone how to spend your retirement, let me simply suggest that you attempt to truly know yourself and be true to yourself right to the end of your life.

Are you wishing that life was simpler and that you really had hours and hours to sit on the porch with a book? Then figure out how to make time for this, and knock your socks off.

However, if you are really craving more activity plan things to do, and plan back-up things to do for the moments when your plans don’t work out — if it’s too hot, or too rainy, or just “too Tuesday”.

Better yet, poke your nose next door to see what your neighbour is up to. If she is anything like this lady, she could use the help, and will certainly find you something to do. Just be sure to wear sturdy shoes in case she asks you to fetch the firewood!

Her reply to her grandson as promised: “First and foremost, I work out in the morning, one hour a day, and take my bath, Then I check on my husband who is still sleeping and doesn’t want to get up. I keep trying and, if he doesn’t get up, I will be the one to give the dog his morning walk. Then:

• I air the bed and make the bed later in the day.

• I do the laundry and put away all the clean clothes.

• I buy all the groceries.

• I let the dogs out.

• I pay the bills and oversee all the financial decisions.

• I answer personal e-mails.

• I let the dogs in and then let them out again ten minutes later.

• I make the lunches and dinners.

• I do all the dishes, put away all the clean dishes.

• I make sure my husband has a shower before dinner.

• I get all the firewood and set the fire for the cooler evenings.

• I pick up the grandchildren at least once a week and have them for dinner. A treat!

• I de-poop the lawn, de-poop the kitty litter.

• I put water in the dog bowls.

• And on it goes …”

Robin Trimingham is an author and thought leader in the field of retirement who specialises in helping corporate groups and individuals understand and prepare for a new life beyond work. Contact her at www.olderhoodgroup.com, 538-8937 or robin@olderhood.com