The Truth About Retirement: My Letter to a Friend

retired woman writing an email to a friend about being 65 and retired

This is an original, raw email written by Pat Ruppert to her friend, Mary. Pat was kind enough to let us share with the Project Bold Life audience. Enjoy!

Good morning, Mary!

I got your text—thank you! It’s been a hectic week (month, year) and I’m just finding time to sit down and send a note. Can’t believe that it’s already been a month since I left work, and if it wasn’t for my dwindling savings account, there wouldn’t be any concrete evidence that life has changed. My house isn’t any more organized, I haven’t finished any more projects, I still go out to lunch several times a week.

At dinner last night, [my son] asked me what I’ve been doing all day since I retired. I had to think for a minute. But hopefully my answer convinced him that I’m not just watching tv and eating Bonbons—although there is some of that going on, too. I’ve stuck to my plan to spend the first part of the morning on the treadmill or following along with an exercise video. Getting ready for the day takes a while; what I could do in 30 minutes when I was working now takes an hour and a half. My focused shower, dressed, hair dried, blush and eyeshadow, bowl of cereal and out the door has been replaced by a dozen distractions.

And it’s the same with everything. When you work, you have to pay attention to time. But when you’re retired, time expands. A trip to Target for shampoo that would have taken 15 minutes now involves shampoo, an overview of all of the women’s socks to see if there are any in “extended sizes” (there aren’t), a run through the bakery to look at today’s cake selection, sometime in the kid’s clothing department to be sure that there aren’t any “too cute” outfits that need to go home, and a search for the kind of pens that the insurance salesman had and I absolutely need. I might as well work there.

I’m trying to stay connected to my friends from work, but it’s harder than I expected. They still go to work. There are only 5 weekdays to get together for lunch. Now that I’m not getting money dumped into my checking account every two weeks, lunch seems much more expensive. I’m meeting with the financial guy next week to start my retirement distributions, so that should relieve some of the anxiety over money.

There’s so much to tell you. The people who are out and about during the day are the old people. They are terrible drivers, they still write paper checks at the stores, they move sooooo slowly. The young people working in the store can’t see that I’m different from the other old people. I have an Apple Watch and I kind of know how to use it.

Anyway, I miss you and hope to see you soon. Have a great weekend!

Love, Pat

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