More recently, I've been fending off the same sort of expectations now that I'm unemployed/early-retired. People want to know "So, what do you do all day?"
So I had a bit of a chuckle when I saw this article in this morning's paper: "Why I don't need (or want) a bucket list when I retire." The author begins by noting the current mania for creating "bucket lists." Here are a few excerpts from what he had to say next:
Not only don’t I have a bucket list, “make a bucket list” isn’t even on my to-do list.
Can’t we all just relax?...
If you’re lucky enough to be able to retire — a big if, given how many people simply can’t afford to stop working — you’re expected to then learn a new language, travel to a wildlife preserve in Kenya, take up Bikram yoga or sharpen your culinary skills. Leave it to us baby boomers to turn retirement into summer camp....
What does it mean to live a full life? Is all this activity essential? That’s a big question. And I have no idea of the answer. But at 56, I’m getting old enough to start giving it some serious thought.
...I don’t need a bucket list filled with stressful things such as jumping out of an airplane or hiking to the top of a mountain to motivate me. And besides, I don’t want to be motivated. I just want to relax and spend time with family and friends....Now, let me be clear -- there's absolutely nothing wrong with making a bucket list or beginning a second career or climbing Mount Kilimanjaro or learning Mandarin or running a marathon. I have no desire to do any of these things (at this point in my life, anyway -- that could change) -- but if that's what you want to do and you have the means to do so, then by all means go for it.
The problem, as I see it, begins when there's an expectation -- voiced or implied -- that this is the kind of life we SHOULD be leading as childless or retired people -- when others make us feel less than or crazy or boring or wanting in some way if we aren't doing these things. (Yes, I know, no one can make you feel inferior without your consent, etc. etc. -- but that is sometimes easier said than done...!)
For the record, I DO have some things I want to do in retirement, including travel -- if not written down in a formal "bucket list."
But there's absolutely nothing wrong with taking some time to sit back and watch the wheels go round & round either. ; )