I’ve often quipped that retirement can be defined as “tired all over again.” That may not apply to many folks who consider retirement their time to rest and relax. They might think in terms of travel, watching movies, attending social events, or spending their days with other leisure activities. Some of us “tired all over” types fill hours past the brim with activities even more demanding than our previous occupations.
Some retirees take up woodworking and sell products at craft shows, farmers’ markets, or other venues. Others may create metal sculptures or go bird watching, mountain climbing, or some other very physically active and fulfilling pursuit. Some, like me, take up farming.
My retirement didn’t start out that way. When I began remodeling the home we were to live in for the “golden years,” I also built a 14′ X 20′ chicken house. I fully divided and remodeled each section of the existing three-bay barn, creating a separate workshop, ultra-clean food processing room, and a storage room. Two bays appeared to have been horse stalls in the past. Both the big chicken house and the barn now have concrete slab floors. Did I mention that I have an aversion to sitting still, doing nothing, for very long?
As the years progressed, increasing my chicken flock to over two hundred birds, fencing off four separate paddocks to pasture seven sheep and two goats, creating new organic gardens, and constructing a few outbuildings has kept me working all day, seven days per week. My project list remains stable, with at least 5-7 major tasks always waiting in the wings, to my wife’s great dismay. After some soul-searching, I was finally able to explain that I’m simply doing what I love and that it gives me great joy. Other than more trips to doctors, aches in my body, and not having the stamina of my youth, what could possibly spoil my bliss? The unexpected, of course.
Yesterday morning, I rose as usual and reached out to gather my assorted attitudes and emotions, having laid them aside before falling into bed the night before. Oh, no! My sense of humor had gone missing! Having been retired for several years, I knew immediately what had happened. A little pixie known to me had stolen it while I slept – uh, no, not my wife, but one of the “little people.” In my retirement, I am now being troubled too often by them. Once I begin to grumble and curse at their torments, the pixies giggle, and the sprites titter in amusement. In this case, when they decided the fun was over, the guilty party tossed my sense of humor back to me. Thank goodness! I gave her a sideways smile, with a bit of stink-eye, and went to work.
If that was the worst they could do, I might have enjoyed the occasional jest at my expense. Unfortunately, they sometimes take a dark turn, like hiding my glasses or spilling water on my rug. I’ve tried to banish them, but every effort seems to fail. I am thankful they seem to be bothering other retirees much of the time. Little people? I thought they were nothing but faerie tales.
Retirement overall is better than I expected. I never envisioned loving farming. When I left my parent’s place in my late teens, I never dreamed I would return to my roots. I had assumed I would do something like travel, fish, hunt, and hike for leisure, and I never expected to take the little people along for the ride.