Carnett: Retirement means joyfully forgetting time

April 30, 2012|By Jim Carnett

I've been retired for four years.

On the whole, I like retirement a lot. It has its downsides, however, like not being able to remember what day it is.

Recently my wife, Hedy, and I were having dinner at a Newport Beach restaurant after taking in "The Hunger Games" at the Regency Lido Theater. Hedy, a former schoolteacher, has been retired for 3½ years.


We had a particularly good server that night. When she stopped by our table to collect her gratuity, Hedy said, "Thank you so much, and have a wonderful weekend."

Without giving it a second thought, the server replied, "You have a great weekend too."

I shook my head in amazement.

"Hedy," I said, "it's Monday. Why would you wish her a good weekend when her weekend is a week away?"

As retirees, we're used to weekends that extend from horizon to horizon.

She broke into a sheepish grin.

"It's only Monday, eh?" Hedy responded. "Well, it feels like a Friday, don't you think?"

I usually know the day of the week, but I'm hopeless when it comes to determining the exact day of the month. I consider myself spot-on if I land within two or three days of the actual date — either side.

Perhaps I fail to know the precise date because, well, I have no compelling reason to possess such knowledge. It's May — need I be more explicit than that?

I have a retired friend who asserts that "spring" is to be considered "within the margin of error" this time of year. His system reduces 365 distinct data points into a much more manageable four.

The major benefit of retirement is, of course, that you largely have control of your calendar, even if you struggle to pin down the date.

In retirement, there are no dreaded meetings that offer no chance for escape. No deadlines. No need for crafting pointless written or oral reports. No evaluation interviews, surprise inspections or being called on the carpet. No tedious six-hour plane flights that end at lackluster lodgings.

You're in control!

Of course the one thing that can't be harnessed is medical visits. Seems physician appointments roll around more frequently now than at any previous time in my life. Doctors have become my best friends.

I remember a golden time at about mid-career — perhaps a stretch of a decade or so — when I went to a doctor maybe two or three times, total! That's now my monthly average.

I was a bull, a physical specimen. Sadly, I'm now painfully aware of the fact that my creaky old "bod" is no longer indestructible.

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