One of the problems with being retired is that you think you have all the time in the world. Well, it turns out not to be true! First of all, there are all those causes for which you want to volunteer. It's hard to choose one or two and to limit the time you are willing to commit to each. Then there are all those tasks you had planned to accomplish around the homestead, not so attractive when it comes to actually doing them. Then there are all the things you want to do just for you -- they all cost money and take time -- sometimes in the middle of the day, effectively messing up the time you could spend doing an all-day activity. Turns out, time management is one of the most crucial of retirement tasks!
Let's take the last problem first: I pledged myself to take water aerobics and have, in fact, signed up for and attended classes since the week I retired. Fortunately, these classes are held at the local New York City Parks and Recreation Department Recreation Center right here in Chelsea, only three blocks away from our apartment house. Unfortunately, the classes are held from 12:30 to 1:30 on Mondays and Thursdays. Now, swimming requires a vigorous shower immediately following any dip in the over-chlorinated pool. This, for me, includes a vigorous hair-washing, adding an additional thirty to forty-five minutes after the class concludes. Together with getting ready to get in the pool and walking time, door-to-door time for this activity totals, at a minimum, two hours -- right in the middle of the day! Only if I get up early (i.e., before 8) and get moving fast can I accomplish anything before water aerobics. Afterward, I need some recovery time (a water aerobics workout is a REAL workout!). So it has developed that I don't take two days of water aerobics anymore -- one is enough, although I'm for sure sticking with it.
Tasks to be accomplished on our homefront may in general be summed up in one word -- declutter. When you live in an apartment (no matter how large or small) for 15 plus years, you accumulate a hodgepodge of stuff. It depends on what your tendencies are (ours tend towards books), but, no matter what, you just accumulate stuff. Dan and I live in a two-bedroom apartment with a generous-size living/dining room plus a balcony that has been enclosed. We have begun the decluttering process on the living/dining room and have pressed the balcony room into service as an overflow area, so it now needs serious attention. Also, although Andrew has his own apartment and half of his belongings migrated there, unfortunately our "guest" room is still half-filled with his stuff. I do fondly imagine that sooner or later he will come and weed out what he wants to keep and at least make that room a tad neater. How soon? Who knows....
Our bedroom is another story. It has been the recipient of a great deal of clutter for which we couldn't find other spots. A lot of it is clothing that needs to go to the church that gives it away to homeless persons, and that, unfortunately, requires time on my part. Some of the rest includes the paperbacks I have read but haven't yet decided to give away -- these are more or less easy and I will deal with lots of them during this year. More of it includes piles of paper. A lot of this is paper accumulated at various of my jobs -- none of that is needed any longer. It just requires sorting, and voila! Out! Still, all this stuff requires time and attention.
Then there is the volunteer issue. Warned by a neighbor who retired not too long before I did, I limited it to two, but even so, with all this other stuff to do, it's hard to work them into my schedule. My first allegiance is to the New York City Labor Chorus, in which I have sung alto for almost 20 years. I am working with the Treasurer and keeping the books. This requires a minimum of three to four hours a week (a morning or an afternoon), though sometimes it requires a day and a half. My second volunteer allegiance is to Project Reach, a nonprofit with which I have had a relationship for more than 25 years. Hard to fit all this stuff into my schedule.
So here's my dilemma: how can I fit in learning to quilt, restore antique furniture and speak Spanish, not to mention the demonstrations and other political work needing to be done?