On Being Retired … 1 Year Later

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Crummy laptop pic of my happy self!

On March 3rd I hit my 1 year anniversary of being retired … that year went by sooo fast that I really can’t believe it has been 1 full year! A lot of stuff happened over this past year, much of it chronicled here in this blog, some that has remained kind of private, but mostly it was just life zipping by at its usual rapid pace.

Here’s a list of what I don’t miss, at all:

  1. Working at my old day gig

  2. Getting up at 5:00 am for said day gig

  3. Trying to plan months in advance to take a vacation

  4. Playing in night clubs until 1:00 in the morning

  5. Hosting jazz jams for marginally talented musicians

  6. Dreading Mondays

  7. Looking forward to Fridays

  8. Being tired all of the time

I don’t miss any of that …

Here is what I really LIKE about retirement:

  1. Tremendous time flexibility

  2. I’m never bored … ever

  3. I eat soooo much better than I did when I was working

  4. Traveling is a lot more fun when there are no time constraints

  5. I’m able to work on my cooking skills (or current lack thereof)

  6. I never worry about “Monday “, nor do I particularly look forward to “Friday”

  7. I can play music I enjoy, when I want, without worrying about pay rates (or the lack thereof)

Could have been me, everyday

Of course, much of this pleasure in retirement has to do with meeting Sheila after the passing of my late wife. After she died, I had the absolute possibility of becoming a real, true grumpy old man in every sense of the word. But meeting Sheila, moving to Georgia (and, of course, leaving New Jersey), getting married, making many new friends and becoming part of a whole new, wonderful, loving family eliminated the grumpy old man blues!

deck retired
Retirement … it’s a hard job, but somebody has to do it

Here’s a great example of how completely cool my life has become and why y’all, every one of you, should be aggressively jealous of me:

Today when we woke up, honestly a little bit later than our usual 5:00-5:30 am (darn time change messed with us this time), we were doing our usual slow wake up sitting in bed and having our morning coffee and yogurt (Madison LOVES licking out the yogurt containers after we’ve finished) (I have to remember to gather them up or else she’ll squirrel them away under the bed) and chatting when Sheila said “Why don’t we watch the Legends of Jazz show?”

For those not in the greater ATL area, or for those who are not jazz fans (or, for that matter, both), there is a venue in Alpharetta GA called The Velvet Note, a well known and respected club that features really great jazz artists, both local and nationally recognized (I played at the venue in early March, quite the honor!). The Velvet Note has a monthly feature they call The Legends of Jazz, hosted by a seriously talented quartet that provides a 90 minute show dedicated to one of the jazz greats … this show depicted Lester Young and they have a running narrative of his life as well as showcasing some of his more famous songs, played in the authentic style of Lester Young. It’s a great series and can be found live-streamed on FB (search The Velvet Note and you’ll find their many taped sessions) (including the March 1, 2018 date I did) (shameless plug). The Legends of Jazz is narrated and performed by the Justin Varnes Quartet … these guys can REALLY  play!!

Now, for the jealous part … how many of you have a beautiful spouse that volunteers (really, volunteers!!) to slow down the start of the new week to enjoy live jazz (well, okay, taped “live” jazz) with you in lieu of watching some mindless morning news? I’m willing to bet that # is crazy, crazy low, and possibly non-existent. Of course, it helps that Sheila has a reduced work schedule today, and that I’m retired (remember, retirement? the purpose of this particular blog post?) (see, I can stick to a theme if I really try) (well, sort of, sometimes).

sheila beach
Sheila, at our “2nd home” in Destin FL

All I can really say is that, if you can figure out how to do it … retire! Yup, it’s scary at first and it’s not easy to give up a steady paycheck. But really, take a good long look at your situation, objectively, and see if there isn’t a way to do it. Yes, it always seems like, if you can only work a year or two more, things will feel more “secure” if you wait. But both Sheila and I know … in very real-time, direct experiences … just how quickly things can change and how fast your plans can be crushed. If you can do it, don’t wait!

Retirement is great!!!


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