Metropolitan Homesick Blues

Southampton Stories & Other Stuff

Posts Tagged ‘retirement


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One of the promises of retirement was the luxury of time.

I had lived a professional life of long days and working-weekends filled with projects dictated by deadline after deadline. The allure of time, free of constraints, was one of the key reasons I left the world of advertising. In my retired world, no one would be asking “when can we see the work.” I would be the time keeper. I would do things on my own clock, on my own terms, in my own way.

One of the first was reading Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past, all three, two-inch thick volumes. Six and a half years later I have plowed my way through Volume One and only half of Volume Two. I got bogged down by his complex two page sentences and rambling chapter long paragraphs. Because I had so much time on my hands, it was easy to put the book aside until another day. No doubt I’ll finish it in another six years. It really doesn’t matter.

What does matter is that I made that decision without fear of consequence. There were no outside mandatories hovering over my head. This does not mean that I walk away from all my home grown obligations. I simply gauge the need and act accordingly. One can think of it as Discretionary Time.

Discretionary Time is budgeted according to need and desire. The ratio between needing to mow the lawn and the desire to do so depends on the heat of the day and your energy level. The balance between cleaning out the garage and the desire to sit in the shade depends on whether you want to read more of Proust and how cold the beer is. You get the idea.

Discretionary Time allows you to spend your days wisely without waste. It is an economic model, a simple algorithm, a sophisticated process that helps you regain your sanity while letting you get away with things you never thought you could.

Everyone should ultimately invest in Discretionary Time. It pays great dividends.

Written by metropolitanhomesickblues

October 21, 2011 at 5:35 PM


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What do you do with yourself when you have all the time in he world?

Ghandi had some good advice – Live as if you were to die tomorrow ~ Learn as if you were to live forever.

Learn! Discover! Re-educate yourself! An old U.S. advertising campaign for education use to sign off with these words ~ a mind is a terrible thing to waste; to which I would add ~ especially when you retire.

Of all the idiosyncrasies that come with old age, the closing of your mind, in my mind, is potentially the most debilitating. Retirement should not mean the retirement of your thirst for knowledge, your curiosity, or your quest for an understanding of what the world is all about. The meaningful learning opportunities that exist for the inquiring mind suddenly open up to the one who has the time and the desire to pursue them.

You would be surprised how easy it is to put yourself in a learning situation. In my part of the world I was happy to discover a small cottage industry of seminars and lectures conveniently available for a small fee. Most are offered by not-for-profit, volunteer managed organizations.

If you live in Grey/Bruce County check out The Bluewater Association for Lifelong Learning In Collingwood there is the Georgian Triangle Lifelong Learning Institute Saugeen Shores offers The Chantry Institute Lecture Series .They also feature recorded seminars with world renown scientists in The Perimeter Institute Public Lecture Series  And there is so much more if you look for it. All of these lectures are delivered by active and retired teachers, university professors, artist, writers, scientists, and highly placed working professionals who unselfishly share their time and knowledge with those who want to learn.

Winston Churchill sarcastically said ~  I am always ready to learn, although I do not always like to be taught. Well, the pressure to learn now becomes the pleasure of learning. There are no questions other than the ones you want to ask. There are no exams. You control the curriculum. Topics you never had time for, those subjects that were once a mystery, everything you ever wondered about, is spread out before you. The hardest thing you have to do is pick and choose.

Enlightenment, inspiration and information are out there for the mind open and curious enough to seek.