Fifteen years ago my wife and I moved into a retirement development on Florida’s southeast coast. We are living in the Delray/Boca/Boynton Golf, Spa, Bath and Tennis Club on Lake Fake-a-hachee. There are 3000 lakes in Florida; only three are real. (note: that’s not true for any of you who don’t know Florida. Now Ohio on the other hand has no natural lakes. Of course Lake Erie is natural but not wholly in Ohio.)
Our biggest retirement concern was time management. What were we going to do all day?
Let me assure you, passing the time is not a problem. Your days will be eaten up by simple, daily activities. Just getting out of your car takes 15 minutes. Trying to find where you parked takes 20 minutes. It takes 1/2 hour on the check-out line in Wal-Mart and 1 hour to return the item the next day. Let me take you through a typical day. We get up at 5:00 AM, have a quick breakfast and join the early morning Walk and Talk Club.
There are about 30 of us, and rain or shine we walk around the streets, all talking at once. Every development has some late risers who stay in bed until 6 AM. After a nimble walk avoiding irate drivers out to make us road kill, we go back home, shower and change for the next activity. My wife goes directly to the pool for her under water Pilates class, followed by gasping for breath and CPR. I put on my ‘Ask me about my Grandchildren’ T-shirt, my plaid mid-calf shorts, my black socks and sandals and go to the club house lobby for a nice nap.
Before you know it, it’s time for lunch. We go to Costco to partake of the many tasty samples dispensed by ladies in white hair nets. All free! After a filling lunch, if we don’t have any doctor appointments, we might go to the flea market to see if any new white belts have come in or to buy a Rolex watch for $2.00. We’re usually back home by 2 PM to get ready for dinner. People start lining up for the early bird about 3 PM, but we get there by 3:45 because we’re late eaters. The dinners are very popular because of the large portions they serve. You can take home enough food for the next day’s lunch and dinner, including extra bread, crackers, packets of mustard, relish, ketchup and Sweet-and-Low along with mints.
At 5:30 we’re home ready to watch the 6 o’clock news. By 6:30 we’re fast asleep. Then we get up and make 5 or 6 trips to the bathroom during the night and it’s time to get up and start a new day all over again.
Doctor related activities eat up most of your retirement time. I enjoy reading old magazines in sub-zero temperatures in the waiting room, so I don’t mind. Calling for test results also helps the days fly by. It takes at least half an hour just getting through the doctor’s phone menu. Then there’s the hold time until you’re connected to the right party. Sometimes they forget you’re holding, and the whole office goes off to lunch.
Should you find you still have time on your hands, volunteering provides a rewarding opportunity to help the less fortunate. Florida has the largest concentration of seniors under five feet and they need our help. I myself am a volunteer for ‘The Vertically Challenged Over 80..’ I coach their basketball team, The Arthritic Avengers. The hoop is only 4 1/2 feet from the floor. You should see the look of confidence on their faces when they make a slam dunk. Food shopping is a problem for short seniors or ‘bottom feeders’ as we call them because they can’t reach the items on the upper shelves. There are many foods they’ve never tasted.
After shopping, most seniors can’t remember where they parked their cars and wander the parking lot for hours while their food defrosts. Lastly, it’s important to choose a development with an impressive name. Italian names are very popular in Florida. They convey world traveler, uppity sophistication and wealth. Where would you rather live… Murray’s Condos or the Lakes Of Venice? There’s no difference. They’re both owned by Murray who happens to be a cheap bastard.
I hope this material has been of help to you future retirees. If I can be of any further assistance, please look me up when you’re in Florida. I live in The Leaning Condos of Pisa in Boynton Beach.