It has been a couple of years since I gave my last “daily routine” update. A reader of my blog also asked me to give an update, so here it is. There is almost no change in my routine since about 2 years ago which is nothing to be surprised about since that was the whole plan in retirement. Just chill, take it easy and live life on the absolute slow lane. Almost nothing in our life is urgent since early retirement. Things will happen when they happen :).
While I tried to explain my daily routine with what I do in each time slices in a day, I thought, this time I will try to explain things slightly differently. Many friends and relatives ask me how I spend my day after retirement. What do I do with all the free time etc. I never understood why they would think I would have a lot of time. So i will try to compare a regular working professional’s time with mine and try to hack away the unessential in Bruce Lee fashion.
Take the working class. They have the weekends off and about 20 holidays including sick leaves. Then, I must not be having any more extra time during those days right? So we are left with 240 working days that may be different for you and me. Most working class citizens work about 12 hours maximum on average on week days in spite of what they may be thinking. You can give it a try. Say you start your work at 8 am, then do you end your work at 8 pm without any distractions or interruptions? That is how long 12 hours is. So imagine my day to be also the same as yours.
So in a working day, about 12 hours could be different between you and me. Out of the 12 hours, most likely you will be spending at least 2 hours doing non work related tasks. Just think, there will be at least 2 meal breaks in the 12 hours? You have to eat at least a breakfast and lunch, or lunch and snack or lunch and dinner or something in the 12 hours of “work”. Even if you are a super fast eater, you will spend at least 1 hour to complete the two meals. Another hour gets lost in non-work related tasks like paying your bills, investing, watching videos, personal phone calls, browsing e-commerce sites etc. I have to do all of that too, so in a day, lets say I spend the same amount of time on those things as you do.
Now we are down to 10 hours that could be different. Here is where I will slowly start to diverge away from the rest of the working class. First, I am sure I sleep more than most of you :). So I spend 1 hour more on sleep than you because I can afford to. I workout at least 1 hour on average per day. If you also workout, that is great, but remember we started out by saying you work 12 hours without any interruptions. So you cannot count workout in your 12 hours. By the way, I am currently a 2nd Kyu – Brown Belt Martial Artist (Shotokan Karate). Still a year more to get to Black Belt. My age and flexibility are not helping really :).
Things are starting to look much better now. There are only 8 hours that are different in a working day between you and me. Otherwise we have pretty much exactly the same amount of free time. Of those 8 hours, I spend about 4 hours on my hobby projects. Now you may think, how much work could a hobby project be? Believe me, it takes a lot of time to build something good even if it is a hobby project. Most recently I compared the hardware and software that I built with a software from a big company and the features are at parity. That does not happen overnight.
Imagine how long it must have taken for them with multiple engineers and ample resources to build the product. Now compare that with one man army on a tight budget :). Most of my projects take about 3 to 9 months depending on the complexity and I have done a bunch of projects since I retired and have a ton more in the pipeline that I want to work on in future. So in a day, 4 hours on average are gone just in thinking, planning and building the hobby projects. One of the projects includes writing this blog which takes about 4-8 hours a week of my time.
Of the remaining 4 hours, most of the time goes in spending time with my daughter. As you probably already know, she is unschooled, which means she does not go to school, nor is she taught at home like home schooling. She learns what she likes and when she likes. No structured learning and we are not even sure what level of knowledge, competence and skill a kid of 10 years is supposed to acquire and we don’t really care as well :).
We do however have an understanding of how far she is away compared to school going kids about her age. While they can add up long numbers and do multiplications, our daughter can barely add 2 digit numbers. Likewise, while other kids younger than her can do really nice cursive writing, she can barely scribble legible letters. Her spellings are a complete mess too. One thing she is at par is her vocabulary and reading skills in English. However, her comprehension is not that great yet.
We are trying to teach her other languages (including her mother tounge) but are failing miserably. She has very little to no understanding of science, geography and history but still manages to converse with her friends, most of the time with a blank expression :). She is not bothered much by the math skills or knowledge “showoff” by her friends, so we are not worried. Have to see how things might change in future.
Anyway, going back to the point about daily routine, the time I spend with her goes mostly in playing whatever she fancies and helping her out in things she wants to learn. Playing could be badminton, cycling, just chatting (and she talks a lot), reading a book, playing a board game or a game on tablet or laptop, crude painting, macramé, beads, etc.
Finally, if there is any more free time I have more than you, I must be spending in household chores and keeping in touch with friends. Not to say you are not helping at home, but comparing myself to the time when I used to go to work, I am helping out more at home. Cleaning the house, helping with organic gardening, doing minor repairs etc get a lot more of my time now. I am trying to keep in touch with as many friends as possible. But every time I call a friend, I feel guilty that I am wasting their time, hope they don’t blacklist me (it seems like some actually did!).
Hopefully you understand that my retired life routine is almost the same as most of the working class with minor exceptions. Most salient of them being that I work on things I like and enjoy, without deadlines, meetings, idle chit chat, politics etc, and of course I don’t get paid a dime. Yet, it gives me immense pleasure, joy, and a feeling of liberation.
Another salient difference is spending time with my unschooled daughter which again is undescribable in words how amazing it is. It gives me a great purpose in life. She teaches me more about parenting than I teach her about growing up :).
We still have a dream of moving to a farm in a remote village far from traffic and do organic gardening at a slightly bigger scale. Want to be completely sustainable, growing almost all the food we eat, living off grid, spending time with nature and going even slower. But time has to come I suppose. That is all for today!