Saturday All Week

Andrew Forsythe, 1:53 am ET

AS A HAPPILY RETIRED 69-year-old, I still remember a conversation I had with an acquaintance two decades ago. The gentleman had had many years in the military, followed by time as a city police officer. He had recently retired—forever—from his third career in federal law enforcement. That meant he was sitting pretty with three different pensions. To top it all off, he was probably in his mid-50s.

Even though my own retirement was still many years away, I’d already started dreaming about it. To be honest, I felt a twinge of jealousy regarding this gent’s situation. I asked him, “What’s retirement really like?” He couldn’t help rubbing it in a bit: “Andy, I’ll tell you what it’s like. Every day is Saturday.”

I love retirement and, although I miss many of the people I worked with, I don’t miss the work at all. Now I can do much more of what I enjoy during my days, and a lot less of what I don’t. That said, I maintain a similar rhythm for the week. Mondays are still the most stressful day, and I might be a little cranky. As the week progresses, I get into a more comfortable groove and work on accomplishing the various tasks I’d outlined for the week. Oh yes, there’s always a list.

And Friday is a happy day, just as it was during my working years, and the weekend still officially begins with the Friday edition of the PBS NewsHour. Saturday is likewise happy. Everything happens at a slower, more relaxed pace. Sunday is restful, but with the same touch of melancholy it’s had my entire life: Fun times are over—for now—and it’s time to get serious about the upcoming week.

I’m wondering about my fellow retirees: Even if your activities are different and more enjoyable, is the week’s rhythm still the same?

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9 months ago

Great article and comments. My own retirement journey started two years ago at age 62. Because my prior work life was so precised and regimented, I was petrified at the thought of having each and every day wide open, with no obligations. Yes, it sounds strange, but if you’d been a slave to your job 24/7 for nearly 40 years, the choice of how to spend the rest of your life was daunting. So, after considering that time is the currency of life, I took up golf again, and volunteer at a local golf course. Playing a few times a week, along with meeting golfers from all over the world has been a great source of satisfaction and enjoyment. Throw in a few extra days a week for the grandkids, fishing and home projects, and I’m left wondering where the time has gone, but what a ride it has been.

Andrew Forsythe
Andrew Forsythe
9 months ago

Mike, sounds like you’re enjoying a nice interval in your life rather than a retirement. I imagine that at your age you have way too much energy and drive to settle into any flavor of retirement.

What makes it so satisfying for us golden oldies is that the relaxed pace aligns nicely with our decreased energy and drive levels. A lot more contemplation and a lot less agitation!

Good luck on your planned return to the workforce and let us know where you land.

Mike Zaccardi
Mike Zaccardi
9 months ago

I’ve been sort of retired since January. I do some financial writing and consulting to keep a (very) little busy. I find that weekends indeed feel different and more relaxing. Probably because the markets are closed and Twitter is slower. During the week, I write perhaps an hour a day, read books, read blogs, look at Twitter too much. That’s the morning. The afternoons are more chill–just some editing and lots of walking outside between small meals. I’m not a homeowner nor do I have a significant other, so it’s a quiet life. Too quiet. I’m looking to return to the workforce.

Jeff Bond
Jeff Bond
9 months ago

Here’s my stream-of-consciousness response.

  • I’m 68 and retired almost 15 months ago. My wife is younger, but retired about 8 months before me.
  • My wife and I both have kids and grandkids from our previous marriage(s), and try to be involved (as much as possible) in their lives.
  • I dedicate a chunk of my day to exercise, usually on an off-road bike, but sometimes at the YMCA for stretching and weight machines.
  • I’ve read more books in the last 15 months than I did in the previous 15 years.
  • I check on finances often, usually daily, but do not obsess with the results. My wife has a pension, but I have no retirement income other than my own savings, investments, and 401k/IRA savings. Neither of us have filed for Social Security yet.
  • I use a Medicare Advantage plan that has served me quite well so far, and my wife’s employer covers her health insurance until she qualifies for Medicare .
  • I keep abreast of current local, national, and world events – even though they are often depressing.
  • I have maintained social connections by meeting friends via ZOOM, with COVID-style outdoor lunches/dinners or occasional beers, and hikes or bike rides.
  • I watch less TV than I thought I might. I listen to more music now because I can.
  • I’m taking a beginning woodworking class at a local university craft center and enjoying it immensely.
  • I’m on a committee at my Church that really isn’t a lot of work, but it keeps my thought processes going in business-like fashion from the standpoint of cost/budget and scope of work.
  • There is a constant stream of household projects. I try to manage them, but I don’t feel hurried to address them unless they cause problems – and some of them do.
  • For the “every day is a Saturday” quote – I disagree. Places like Lowes or Home Depot, grocery stores, and restaurants are much more crowded on either Saturday or Sunday than they are on Monday – Thursday. Friday seems to be transforming into Saturday and Sunday from my perspective.
Andrew Forsythe
Andrew Forsythe
9 months ago
Reply to  Jeff Bond

Thanks, Jeff. I identify strongly with a couple of things in particular you mentioned: the chance to read more books in retirement, which has been a joy; and keeping a closer watch on the news, which yes, at the national level at least, can be very depressing.

R Quinn
R Quinn
9 months ago

I am 78 and have been retired since January 2010, actually I was on a phased retirement for the year before. If a cognitive test asked what day of the week it was, I fear I would fail. Often I don’t pay attention to the day, why should a retiree unless there is something special?

I do know if I am playing golf it must be Tuesday or Thursday and if my wife is getting ready for church, it’s Sunday … or maybe Saturday night.

As one gets older, if you are lucky the task list gets smaller, people don’t expect you to have many tasks and that fine with me. My day usually starts with making a cup of coffee followed by checking the many blogs I follow and looking to see if Jonathan has published my latest on HD. Then I read the WSJ and NYT on my iPad.

What follows is usually dictated by my wife’s plans for the day, since she is afraid of driving after she lost sight in one eye from a baseball to it, I am her personal Uber driver for errands.

Yesterday we took one of our granddaughters out for the day, lunch, to buy her new soccer shoes and then mini golf. The fact is 13 grandkids consume a fair amount of time, nowadays mostly attending their sports activities- I love it, especially given my athletic activity in school was non existent.

Every 6-8 weeks we are off to our vacation home five hours away for a short stay, or maybe it’s summer. In the good old days we would be planning our next international trip which was a twice a year activity – I’m still hoping to resume travel some day, but for now a month or so in Florida this winter will have to do.

I don’t have three pensions, but I do have good one plus SS which combined equal more than 100% of my working base salary which makes all the above possible. Although I keep a watchful eye (too watchful my wife says) on our investments, I don’t stress over money, which in retirement is a great blessing.

Do I miss work? I do miss working with the employees and teaching them about their employee benefits programs, but I have found an outlet. There are several Facebook groups started by employees and retirees of my former employer and I still get to answer some questions and make suggestions about health benefits, pensions and 401k plans … even after all these years.

I woke up at 6:30 today, waking at 5-6 AM is an old habit I can’t break, but give me a few minutes and I’ll tell you what day it is. If there is a grandkids soccer or baseball or foot ball game to attend, it must be Saturday.

I’m off to my studio/library/supposed to be extra bedroom to work on my latest drawing, read a bit more of Eleanor Roosevelt’s biography and figure out what day it is.

Last edited 9 months ago by R Quinn
Andrew Forsythe
Andrew Forsythe
9 months ago
Reply to  R Quinn

Dick, thanks for the detailed description of your retirement days. I enjoyed reading it.

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