“Now that you have completely retired, how do you kill your time?” is a question I face from some friends when I meet them at social gatherings! I tell them that I don’t have any time to kill because I have all the time in the world to spend on my favourite hobbies like reading, writing, cooking, socializing etc.
My day starts at 4.00 am. After a quick cup of coffee or tea, I am at my work desk - first going through my emails and then I start writing. Either writing on new topics or revising drafts of at least four articles which are stored in my desktop. At 6.30 am, I go for a walk.
I return home by 7.30 am and straight away get into the kitchen. . Preparing my own breakfast, cooking one or two items for my lunch - an activity I share with my daughter-in-law who operates a separate kitchen on the first floor of the house. I wanted both my son and I to have our respective spaces .
Once I get into the kitchen it becomes hectic. I spend a lot of time cleaning up used utensils which keep popping up, keeping things in the right places, wiping the granite top of the cooking area clean – all of which takes more time than the actual time taken for cooking. It takes less than 45 minutes to cook a decent South Indian meal -excluding the vegetable cutting time! While at it, I also find time to pluck the flowers from the potted plants around our home, which my late wife had so lovingly tended .Then I have a quick bath, perform puja etc. By the time I finish all these chores it is 11.00 am. I am physically tired. I have been on my feet for nearly five hours. It is time to take a break. I relax on my Lazy Boy chair, a simple but functional duplicate of the unwieldy and big Lazy Boy Sofas you find in all NRI homes in USA. I use this time in the morning to read the daily newspapers and catch up on books.
Lunch time is 1pm. after which I go back to my computer and browse through Facebook, Twitter and so on in order to avoid going to sleep immediately after lunch. Then 2.30pm to 3.30 pm is time to rest
By 3.30 pm my part time driver, who works for me between 3.30 pm and 8.30 pm arrives. Driving has become difficult for me due to poor reflexes. Night driving particularly has become a nightmare to be avoided at any cost! So, I plan all my outings - shopping, visiting friends / relatives, attending meetings of voluntary bodies , social clubs and so on after 4pm. This is also the time when I consciously try to make some one happy through words, gestures, or little acts. Making other people happy makes me happy!
I have my snack dinner ( tiffin) at home by 7.30 pm when my son & daughter in law also join me so that we can have a chat around the dining table. Post dinner I try watching TV for an hour -mostly the news channels which at that point of time have the silly debates on irrelevant topics conducted by loud, overbearing and obnoxious TV anchors. I don`t know why I watch them, but I do.
If the TV programmes are impossible to watch I go back to reading the book I was reading in the afternoon. In keeping with my life long habit of `Early to bed , early to rise` I hit the sleep button latest by 10pm. Before I realize it, it is morning again and I wake up with a spring on my feet ready to face another day.
So where is the time to kill? The secret of a happy life for senior citizens who have retired from active working life is to re- tool themselves to an active retired life as I have done and I am sure many others are doing.