I knew that there would be lifestyle adjustments upon retiring, but there are some challenges I could never have imagined….
Since setting out for Newfoundland last week one of most troubling adjustments has been to begin living our life at slower pace. I worked away from home for nearly ten years and Martha had been a shift worker her entire work life so it seemed we were always struggling with time by trying to squeeze in as much as possible during our time off together. It seemed we where always fighting the clock to get things done or reach a destination. Now we pretty much have total control of our schedule, but even so old habits did hard.
It seemed that our first days on the road were a rush to get somewhere we didn’t need to be. While driving we continued to drive with the same abandon as we have for years in a regular car but now we are driving this huge truck and RV combination that in itself demands a different approach. We continued to drive over the speed limit, although only slightly, and we still had no patience to drive behind anyone; even when their speed was slightly slower than ours. We struggled to slow down the pace even just a little. Drastic action was needed so we set out some simple, but pace changing ground rules.
First we agreed to not exceed the speed limit. The benefits of this went beyond a slower pace and being a bit more relaxed, we are actually experiencing better fuel economy which is a great bonus. Secondly we now set realistic daily travel goals for ourselves. We leave time for regular stops or anything else that may get our attention along the way. Needless to say, travel is now more relaxed. But one time challenge still remains.
When we retired Martha and I both purchased fitness trackers. You know the things people wear on their wrist to monitor physical activity and sleep. We simply thought these devices would help us avoid falling into the bad habits of a sedentary lifestyle. We both think that daily exercise is important and walking is the cornerstone of our healthy living strategy as we get older. Little did we know that these fitness trackers would become an irritant that resuled in a direct conflict with our new retiree vagabond life.
While we are driving across the country basking in the beauty that is Canada my new device vibrates on my wrist regularly. When I glance down at it’s bold letters a massage reads ” MOVE!”
Seriously who would have thought that life could put us in such a conundrum. Of course the topic of conversation frantically turns to how will we get our step count goal for the day done. Just what we needed, unwanted pressure to to perform and exercise during our casual drive dictated a silly electronic device on my wrist. So new ground rule. I don’t wear the damn thing when we plan a longer travel day.
Unfortunately it does not end there. That app that my device is connected to on my smartphone sends regular “helpful hints”to help with fitness and healthy living. Well after a week on the road after learning to relax I get a message on my phone from my fitness tracker asking “why I sleep so much?” As someone who has battled insomnia for decades my knee jerk response was anger, but soon this helpful hint brought a smile to my face. Slower pace, daily struggles to get our step count done and too much sleep. I think we are settling into retirement just fine and all behavioural changes verified by this most amazing electronic device on my wrist.