Benjamin Franklin said, “If you want something done, ask a busy person.” Lucille Ball embroidered on that to add that, “The more things you do, the more you can do.” I am now one of those retired people who is such a busy person I wonder how I ever had the time to work. That means more people are asking me to do more. It’s an interesting process.
Major Time Commitments
Here are some of the activities that keep me busy:
- Church Member: I have gone from attending services occasionally at the First Parish of Sudbury Unitarian/Universalist and being a member of the Landscape Committee to volunteering as the treasurer. Then I was recruited to sing in the choir and elected to the Board of Trustees. Once you volunteer for anything, you get asked to take on more responsibility — that’s how it works. It means I’m also working on the grill we run as a fund-raiser during Sudbury’s Fourth of July Parade on Independence Day. I cut watermelon in the morning and then work as a cashier in the afternoon. It’s tiring but rewarding.
- Tour Guide: I joined Boston By Foot as a docent in 2013. Since then I have upped the number of tours I give every year and have added Boston By Slide lectures to my repertoire. In addition, I proposed a new tour — Murder, Martyrs and Mysticism — as the special tour for October and had it accepted. That meant doing the research and writing the tour manual, no small commitment of time. Then a private group signed up for the MM&M tour and gave it for the first time yesterday. Frantic studying of names, dates, and events paid off and the tour went smoothly. Learning BBF’s Architecture Cruise, which is very popular and which I would like to learn, has been put on the back burner for a while.
- Writer and Editor: I’m a long-time member of the Spacecrafts Writers’ Group, which means that I read and critique the creative writing of other members as well as submitting my own work for their review. This is usually, but not always, a monthly process. Oh, and there’s the time spent doing that creative writing. To be frank, that’s not as much as I should do and definitely as much as I want to do. I also belong to the book group here in the condominium community where we live and thus commit to reading a specific book every month.
- Marketer: I have a high-tech client for whom I write emails and social media materials as well as editing materials that they have written. This work varies from intense around a product launch to not very demanding when they are focused on other things. But it keeps the marketing lobe of my brain working smoothly and pays money that I’m saving for our next Viking River Cruise.
- Active Person: Then there’s working out at the gym, which happens almost every day. That usually involves water aerobics in the pool three or four times a week as well as treadmill and upper-body weights on the “dry days.”
- Grandma: As a grandmother I spend time with my granddaughters and helping out around the house: Cooking dinner and/or breakfast, folding laundry, getting the girls dressed in the morning or off to bed at night. I also enjoy teaching them how to cook, getting them involved or gardening and showing them the difference between a flower and a weed.
- Blogger: Lastly, there’s The Next Phase blog, which takes up more of my time than I ever imagined when I started it but which has been rewarding in a lot of ways.
Why Be a Busy Person?
All of that keeps me pretty busy and leaves far too little room for what I pictured myself doing in retirement—just sitting and reading by the fire or on the deck. Why don’t I turn some of these activities down? There are a couple of good reasons:
- When the universe reaches out to me and the network of souls wants me to join, I don’t like to say no. There’s a reason why these activities and these people have come to me and I want to find out what it is.
- I like being busy. I like meeting new people. I like helping people. I like learning new things and sharing those things with others. I like rediscovering the joy of activities, like singing, that went by the wayside many years ago. I like cooking and most of all I love spending time with my granddaughters.
I also like having things to look forward to when I get up in the morning. So far, that hasn’t been a problem. But I keep my eyes and ears open for new opportunities and take advantage of them when I can. Sometimes I share them on this blog. There’s a lot to do but it works for me.