Mandan News

Retirement Anniversary

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On May 17, I was quite sure that both of my loyal readers were more interested in celebrating Norwegian Independence Day, noting that it was the day Custer left Mandan and also my Great Grandma Samuelson’s birthday, than remembering it was also the anniversary of my first year of retirement.

Therefore, I wasn’t too damaged when I discovered that I was the only person in the world that noted my new birthday. Yep, I now consider myself to be a year old … allow me to ‘splain.

One year ago, I really had no idea what retirement would hold for me, and I’m quite happy to report that after a year of every day being Saturday under my belt, l still have no idea. When I began this new life, my math indicated that my financial wherewithal would last from May 17 to Jan. 1 … and wouldn’t you know that for the first time ever, my math actually worked out …down to the penny that’s left.

So, for the last five months I’ve been on a fixed income and a fluctuating budget that gets interrupted by all sorts of unexpected bills that are known to bring my creditors close to cardiac arrest. My budget is usually filled with good intentions that have to be ignored. Evidently my wing and prayer financial prowess hasn’t changed much. Besides, I told the kids long before I retired that they should consider my life to be a success if my debts equal my assets … and all three of you should be praying for my success.’

Anyway, it’s just money and anyone who enjoys Saturdays knows that money never matters on Saturday. However, Mondays are a different story, but I digress.

Both my loyal readers know that my first winter of retirement was spent building my son’s house. It turned out to be a full time, pro bono, job. Once I learned to tolerate/ignore the cold, it was kinda fun. Each day was filled with new contortions, from setting floor joists to dangling from rafters, to laying hardwood floors and all the other details that go along with home building.

Most days would end with me pulling into the driveway and groaning my way into the house as the day’s contortions would catch up with my 64 year old body. On any given evening, I would eat and go to bed, so I could get up and do it all over again.

Then along comes spring, and here I am hoping that my carpentry career will lull for a bit and I can once again resume life at Lake Tschida, where I spent the first five months of my retirement.

So, my plan for year two of retirement is to repeat the first five months of my first year and then wonder what to do with the remaining seven. (Full report to follow after 1/1/15)

In one sense, retirement isn’t much different than working, as the trick to working is to at least show up and do whatever the job requires you to do. The same seems to hold true for retirement; all one has to do is show up for the day and take on whatever the day holds.

The main difference between the world of work and retirement is that retirees get to choose what to do with their days, and worker bees have all sorts of compulsory tasks imposed on them that they have to perform day in and day out.

So, as you can tell, the tasks I’ve chosen so far involve getting up each morning and wondering what to do with myself. Some days I get stuff done, and some days I don’t, and for the record, I’m getting pretty good at this retirement gig. So here’s hoping that your Saturdays outnumber your Mondays.