That doesn’t mean a thing to me now that I’m retired. It’s what I was told by this old retired guy while I was still working. “What’s it like to be retired?” I asked him. He thought a moment, then smiled and said, “Every day is Saturday.”
I knew what he meant. Instead of waking up to the alarm and putting on the coffee in the half-dark so that you can get a little caffeine into your system and get the going-to-work routine happening, you can linger a bit in bed, get up and look out the windows to see what kind of a day it’s going to be, and ask yourself, “So. What do I want to do today?”
Now, a couple of months into retirement, I’m finding out that it’s sort of like that. However, too many Saturdays in a row can get a bit confusing. I get up, look out the windows, and ask myself, “I wonder what day this is?” I’m thinking about getting one of those clocks that, instead of having numbers around the dial, has Sunday, Monday, Tuesday….
Even though we’re on a motorhome trip, it’s still not all vacation. Things need to be fixed. Maintenance done. Meals to be made, of course. And there’s laundry to do. There are shopping trips to make and bills that need to be paid. The dog needs its shots. The Internet has stopped working again. Sometimes I wonder where I ever found the time to work.
Margaret is also trying to shape my new life. She explained to me, “Being retired does not mean that you never have to do anything anymore.” From somewhere she has come up with a list of things that need doing. “But, but, it’s Saturday….”
I think what happens is that what used to be the background tasks have now floated up to much higher priority, filling the void left by the disappearance of my 9-to-5 job. They feel more important now. Some of them I’m actually getting done. The rest I can still push forward to an unspecified future time – some other Saturday.
When I think back, the appeal of Saturdays was not that I did nothing at all. It gave me a chance to tackle some chores – hopefully keeping that ever-growing to-do list from getting completely overwhelming – while still having the flexibility to get out and do some fun things, to visit with friends, to finally watch that movie I’ve wanted to see for so long.
My old Saturdays had to do with squeezing stuff into the scarce time available. My new Saturdays are more about putting the time I have to good use and not frittering it away by doing nothing. Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with doing nothing. It’s just, when I do nothing, I want it to be a conscious choice – something I’m aware I’m doing – so I can really enjoy it, wallow in the freedom of its sweetness. I want to know where my days go.
It’s Saturday. And it’s still early. What do I want to do today?