If you Google “What to do when I retire,” you’ll get lots of lists that include things like teach, garden, visit family, spend time with friends, mentor, buy a motorhome, and join a fitness group.
Excuse me, but I’m retiring, not moving into an assisted living facility.
My list looks a little different.
When my retirement from the classroom begins next week, literally the first thing I’m going to do is drive three hours to south Louisiana and sit in an historically restored Cajun cottage along Bayou Teche. My husband and I go there five times a year and it is our home away from home. I’m going to walk across the street to the grocery store, buy some fancy cheeses, some fresh veggies, and I’m going to spend seven days decompressing and uncoiling from twenty-five years of teaching tenth grade English.
More immediate things on my list include cleaning out closets, drawers, cabinets, and eliminating a whole lot of clutter. Get rid of those work clothes! Why do I have six Pyrex casserole dishes? Do I really need this antique waffle iron with the fraying cord? Those size three jeans in my closet? Yeah, they haven’t fit in fifteen years so it is time for them to go.
I am going to listen to podcasts. Got any suggestions? I listened to S-Town and loved that. So well done. I don’t really listen to podcasts, but I think I might try that while I start a walking regimen. My son listens to some podcast that sound far too much like Beavis and Butthead; I don’t want that. Something good. Help a girl out.
I am going to read that huge stack of books taking over my house; then, I’m going to put them in the Little Free Library on the corner.
Day drink. Why not have a cold beer at noon while I pull some weeds out of the flower bed? Why the hell not?
Stay up as late as I want to.
Finish my second book. I’m close. I need to get it off to my publisher so I can start on my third book.
Narrow down topic for third book.
Learn how to cook alligator. Not everyone can do this well.
Go to Monroeville, Alabama, home of my idol Harper Lee. See the inside of that courthouse.
Re-tile my bathroom. I have no idea how to do this and I think I need tools which I don’t currently own. Saws and things. I can do this. Right?
Spend days and days in the archives at the library doing research. I love this. This was the best part of writing my first book — the research! Love it!
Write. Write. Write.
Drive as much of the original alignment of Route 66 from east to west as possible.
Attend as many minor league baseball games in as many ballparks as I possibly can.
Find some way to move permanently to south Louisiana, to Cajun country, which has my heart and soul.
Brush up my French.
While this little list isn’t exhaustive, I think it is a lot more interesting than some of the suggestions for retirees that I’ve seen. Retirement has proven “boring” for my husband; when he retired six years ago he went back to school and got his BA and then his Masters degree, which was fabulous! But now he’s bored.
I can’t see myself ever getting bored. Maybe this is because I’m technically still working and the reality of retirement has not yet hit me. Maybe after a period of time, I will be restless and aimless.
I doubt it.
Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport and at Medium; she is the author of Cane River Bohemia: Cammie Henry and her Circle at Melrose Plantation. Follow her on Instagram @patbecker25 and Twitter @paustin110.ing