Chapter Two: Vacation Retirement
Just as I was beginning to think retirement was the next best thing to sliced white bread, along came vacation while retired. I know, working folks are probably thinking, “What is she talking about. She’s already retired now she’s gloating about being retired and going on vacation – her whole life is a vacation!”
There truly is a difference between taking time off from work for a week or two and going on a vacation and taking a vacation when retired. I feel like I did as a kid going to Leach Lake. No responsibilities and no timelines. Ya, no timelines: I’m on vacation in California with my daughter and grandkids. The three of them have the itinerary planned. All I have to do is sit in the front seat, smile, enjoy the view and once in a while take out my debit card. My luggage is carried up steps, wheeled down hallways; my bags are carried at the mall; my soda is filled at the fast food restaurants. I recommend that everyone take a 15-year-old grandson on vacation – they are polite and kind to old ladies like me. I love it! When my grandson isn’t helping grandma, my granddaughter and daughter are.
No, that’s not the main reason that retirement vacations are awesome; it’s the knowledge that I know there will be no problems to worry about. Before I left I had nothing else to do except get ready. In the past, the first couple of days on vacation I would need just to unwind. Ahhh, I wasn’t wound up to begin with; I had already started to master not rushing and rushing and rushing to get my work done. I began enjoying my vacation at the airport, not even the hour delay upset me.
Usually about the time I started to enjoy my vacation, I would start to worry about the work I would have waiting for me when I got home. Even when I was teaching, vacations were planned in late July and early August. Usually I had my class assignments for the next school year before I went on vacation and after a few days on vacation I would be looking at a calendar trying to figure out how I could get all of the hours and hours of curriculum planning squeezed into my schedule before workshop started.
The best part of going on a vacation when retired is not having to worry about all the work that is piling up back home that has to be done. I have no work piling up on my desk at work and no work piling up at home. I have not felt so free since I was a kid.
Like the ‘slice and dice” man says on the T.V. ad says, “But wait, that’s not all.” Over the past summers my friend Kirstie and I have tried to plan Wednesdays as fun days. She’s way too young to retire, but is self-employed, so we’ve tried to make plans, do a little monkey business, on Wednesdays. When she texted me today, I suddenly realized that Wednesday Fun Days can now be year round!
Oh, one more thing I noticed in Southern California…the airport was packed, the freeways were crowded, the restaurants, like Chicago Cheese Factory, had lines of people weaving out the front door waiting for a table, the malls were teeming with people of all ages and the checkout lines were long. On the surface, life looks good out here in Southern California.