Bonnie Bing: Retirement takes some getting used to

08/05/2012 9:58 AM

08/05/2012 9:58 AM

When people asked me if I thought I’d enjoy retirement, I thought it was kind of a strange question. Now I know why they were asking. This is very different.

The first week, I decided it was a vacation week — so I’d just do whatever I wanted to do. I went to a movie, had lunch with friends, had friends over for dinner, had a party for the Gridiron cast, read a book, spent time with a Wichita State University basketball mentee, did water aerobics, had lunch with my mom and cooked real meals for my husband.

But on Monday of the second week, all I did was start one thing, not finish it, start another, then another. I was side-tracked the entire day. Where did my ability to concentrate go? I think the more I do the more I do, and the less I do the less I do. I’ve been told more than once that I have two speeds: high and off. But retirement puts you somewhere in the middle. Second gear takes some getting used to.

But then the real fun started when I tried to figure out Medicare. After meeting with two people, I still don’t have it exactly straight. So I decided to call the “if you have questions, simply call” number. Of course, to talk to a live human being on the phone takes an act of Congress. And they’re busy with other things.

The paperwork you encounter when you retire is enough to make you continue working until death. And I hate that kind of stuff. Working in an office that has anything to do with insurance or 401(k)s or taxes would be the fifth ring of hell, in my opinion. It took a few days — and a bit of unladylike language. But I have it all figured out now, right down to the last pill.

One of the biggest changes takes place on Sunday nights. I no longer open my datebook to check what I’m supposed to be doing and where I’m supposed to be going that week. Those blackened pages are a thing of the past, but I must admit they’re filling up. I had three calls on the second Monday of retirement with people saying, “Now that you’re retired, I want to take you to lunch and talk something over with you.” Uh-oh.

Do I miss jumping out of bed every morning, knowing I’ll be on a dead run until I fall back into the bed that night?

That would be a no.

Do I miss the people and the interaction in the newsroom?

That would be a yes.

I’ve spent a couple of weeks having a wonderful time playing Dora Bailey in Music Theatre of Wichita’s “Singin’ in the Rain.” So now I will have more time to work on the “When I retire” list of things to do.

Almost everyone who is retired said, “Oh, you are going to love it.” Others said, “I bet you won’t be able to stand it.” And a couple of people said, “Retirement isn’t what it’s cracked up to be, that’s why I went back to work.”

I’m not bored, and I have lots of fun things to look forward to. I’m sure I’ll adjust in no time. It seems the days still whiz by and a week is gone in no time.

But yes, it is different.

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