WHY I'M CHOOSING TO BE UNBUSY IN RETIREMENT

Are you tired of hearing about how busy everyone is in retirement? Why not focus on becoming un-busy and become part of the unbusy and slow movements that more people are choosing every day? #slow #unbusy #retirement

BECOMING UNBUSY IN RETIREMENT

A while ago I was asked to contribute to a collaborative post on Keeping Busy in Retirement and I started thinking about all the things I'm doing to fill my days now that I'm not working. But, underneath that first impulse to prove I'm "busy, busy, busy" was a different desire - one that was saying "You know what? I don't want to be busy all the time, I don't want to fill every day with a multitude of planned events." My soul wants to be Un-Busy and it's when I become un-busy that I feel more centred and more at peace.

I admire those retirees who have bucket lists to tick off, travel plans to fulfill, sights to see, jobs to do, programs to complete, artistic endeavours to pursue.....but that's not me, I'm happy just being in my own space, doing things at my own speed, in my own time. I'm savouring the un-busy-ness of my life, I shared a little about it in a previous post where I wrote: "Every day is different, but every day is full - just a different kind of fullness, a different pace, a different approach to how my week flows."

For so long, I felt I always needed to be moving. Doing. Now I'm giving myself permission to be un-busy. #unbusy #lifequotes

THE UNBUSY MOVEMENT

I've been following the Becoming Unbusy Facebook page for a long time. I love the quotes there and often share them on my own Facebook page. I've always been a big fan of minimalism and being clutter-free (even before these concepts became mainstream) and un-busy-ness is really about decluttering your lifestyle. For me it means taking away the noise and the demands, it's letting go of the expectation that you should always be doing something "productive". It's choosing to believe that it's okay to not have the whole day planned out and full of commitments - just allowing it to flow in whatever direction it chooses to take.

Most of my days have a component of order to them - chores still need to be done, dates need to be kept, outside commitments need to be followed through on, but that's only part of each day - the rest is unbusy - allowing the day to unfold at its own pace and not feeling like I have to justify my time. I'm learning to let go of the need to prove myself to other people - to make retirement look productive, and instead I'm living it on my own terms and at my own pace.

Stop the glorification of busy. Busy, in and of itself, is not a badge of honour. #unbusy #lifequotes

THE SLOW MOVEMENT

Another Facebook page I follow is Simple Slow Lovely which is full of reminders to slow down and to stop the rush that is such a part of life these days. I loved the title of the page and the concept behind it - that it's okay to live slower, to calm the pace down and to take time to enjoy the moment, the day, the event, the company of others. I don't need to be in a hurry, I can slow the pace down a little and step out of the rat race.

I begin every day with a walk around our neighbourhood. I do it primarily because I need to move more (darn that declining Midlife metabolism!) but I also do it because I love the quiet and the time to be away from distractions. I don't take my phone, I don't listen to music or podcasts, I don't look for photo opportunities, I don't time myself or compete with myself to go faster or further; I just walk, and think, and pray, and muse about life and how things are going. I love the peace, the serenity, and the lack of rush and purpose. It's so liberating to be cut off from distractions for a little while.

slow living is about creating a life with fewer obligations and more flexibility #slowliving #lifequotes

WHY CHOOSE TO BE UNBUSY IN RETIREMENT? 

I don't think we give un-busy-ness enough credit, we're all so busy glorifying the busy-ness and thinking that it's the yardstick to measure our retirement by. There's almost a competition amongst retirees as to who's doing the most, who's got the longest list ticked off for the month, who's achieving the most with their non-working life. I don't want to join the competition, I don't need the pressure to prove myself anymore. If you feel like you're tired of the hamster wheel you're on, then maybe you're ready to be unbusy in retirement too.

Perhaps it's time to slow down a little, put your phone away, stop scheduling every day full of activities, and start being flexible and allowing yourself some down time. When you let go of the need to always be "doing" and start enjoying the concept of "being" it opens up a whole new way of life. Yes, it's slower and there's less to justify how you're spending your day, but it's so relaxing to go with the flow. Give it a try and see what you think, retirement's not a competition - it's a new way of life, and taking your foot off the accelerator pedal now and then is so rewarding.

WHAT ABOUT YOU?

Are you living (or looking forward to) an unbusy retirement? Or are you a mover and shaker who doesn't want to slow down yet? Have you considered the UnBusy or Slow Movements and the lifestyle they advocate?


RELATED POSTS


Are you tired of hearing about how busy everyone is in retirement? Why not focus on becoming un-busy and become part of the unbusy and slow movements that more people are choosing every day? #slow #unbusy #retirement
Are you tired of hearing about how busy everyone is in retirement? Why not focus on becoming un-busy and become part of the unbusy and slow movements that more people are choosing every day? #slow #unbusy #retirement

To keep up to date with my posts, feel free to add your email into the spot especially for it on my sidebar and I'd love you to share this post by clicking on a share button before you go xx
This post was shared at some of these great link parties
Cresting the Hill - a blog for Midlife (Middle Aged / 50+) women who want to thrive

50 comments

  1. Hi, Leanne - Even though my life has currently been on a very active streak, I do get this post completely. When I first retired, one of my DILs asked me what I wanted to do during retirement. My short answer was 'nothing". She probed with more questions. Most of my responses went like this: "no, no thank you, not really, hopefully not and nope." So I did start off my retirement quite slowly. I didn't even have an email account for awhile!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Donna - I think I like the idea of balance - busyness offset by unbusyness. I'm so tired of running full steam ahead with the idea of trying to validate retirement. Maybe I'll want more down the track, but for now I'm really enjoying being in charge of my days rather than my days being in charge of me :)

      Delete
  2. This is very interesting as someone who IS busy all the time but would love not to be sometimes. In the UK, our dear government has robbed women, born in a certain period, of the right to retire on state pension at our expected (promised all our working lives!)age of 60. I have to work until I am 66 and 4 months and I do need to earn. So I am self-employed with lots of different income streams all requiring a lot of work. My husband retires in just under two years, so we are still a working couple. My big dream is to get a camper van after retirement and travel around the uk - maybe Europe depending on the Brexit outcome (if we ever get one!) I can still write and look after my businesses from a laptop. Being an arty creative type means my brain is rarely free from ideas churning and I do find it very hard to do nothing. The only way to combat that is to get out walking (for miles in the countryside for me), but, as you do, without a camera! I also sing with a performance choir and that has helped me be busy in a more therapeutic way. I totally agree about the competition to be the busiest retirees, I hear a lot of conversations between retirees and there is some real oneupmanship going on there!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Gilly - the same thing has happened with pensions in Australia. It used to be 60 for women and is now 67 for my age group. I thought I'd be working for another 5-10 years until the whole work fiasco occurred. My husband is still working and plans on continuing to do so for the foreseeable future. I'm always envious of creative people who can work from home and start a business that actually makes money. I've thought about it, along with blogging for $$, and other options, but in the end I've decided that at this stage of life I'm "making my wants few" so we don't need much of an income to support us. I'm just so glad that we worked hard to be debt free because it takes the pressure off and allows me to live this simpler and slower life sooner than I'd anticipated.
      I hope you get your unbusy time before too much longer (and that camper van) xx

      Delete
  3. I had to bookmark this post and promise myself to read it every single day, sometimes twice a day that's how this post hit me this morning. It was really difficult for me when my drs deemed me disabled due to cancer. I had worked my whole life it seemed and then suddenly no work. Which for a moment was fine but then I felt I needed to fill every waking moment with something, anything. I was used to doing... Now I need to allow myself the flow of being unbusy and this post will be my reminder! Thank you so much, Leanne.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so glad you enjoyed it. I felt the same way when work abruptly stopped for me, like I needed to justify my time by filling it with "things to do". When I took a step back and gave myself the grace to breathe and to be allowed to enjoy a slower pace, it all started to make so much more sense. I feel like we need to be kinder to ourselves and stop worrying about proving anything - just letting ourselves "be" is so important.

      Delete
  4. Excellent advice, Leanne! There's nothing wrong with being un-busy. Life is short and should be savoured. :) I was a burnt-out, corporate workaholic, who got axed during the recession of 1992, then started a home-based pet care business. It too was busy for many years (7 days a week, all hours of the day and night). To restore my sanity, I dropped the home cat visits and dog walking services (major blow to income, but sometimes, other things are more important). I consider myself "semi-retired" now, just taking a few dogs into my home at a time, while their owners are away. There's plenty of down time, and I'm not bored in the least, nor do I feel guilty. "Go with the flow" is a good mantra. :) Thanks for the reminder and Happy Retirement!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Debbie - I think we like the idea of being busy and it gives us some sort of credibility with others, but surely once we're past 50 we're allowed to be a little bit kinder to ourselves. I feel like we're in the second half of life and every day it gets shorter - so we need to do what makes our hearts happy and get off that darn hamster wheel before it's too late.

      Delete
  5. I had a job for 54 years. I'll be as unbusy as I want! Good advice.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I felt like I deserved the break after 40 years of working - you win hands down after 54 years! Let's enjoy every minute of our unbusyness :)

      Delete
  6. Un-busy is my favorite way to be, as long as it can include reading and needlework. I’ve always been good at it but now that I’m retired, it’s so much better. I’ve stopped stressing over how to answer the “what do you do all day” question because it doesn’t matter what others think. It’s my life!! Keep on being un-busy!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Linda you're so right - I worried what other people would think (probably because I used to wonder what retired people did!) Now I just replace the need to tell them my schedule with the simple answer - "My days are full and I love it!"

      Delete
  7. I believe that you get to define your life and your days in whatever way you wish. I fully support and respect your desire to be unbusy. Somedays I also choose to be unbusy. Mostly though, I like to be busy and have lots of plans and goals and dreams to fulfill. Maybe my plans will change and I will decide to be unbusy. Maybe not. I am grateful to have a choice!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think it's definitely a personal choice Michele - and some people are better at "being" while others are better at "doing". I think I'm just so relieved to be off the hamster wheel and don't want to jump onto a different merry-go-round to try to prove that I'm productive and therefore have value. I'm learning to redefine myself and it's a journey I'll probably harp on a bit more in the months to come :)

      Delete
  8. I love the whole concept of 'Becoming Unbusy'. In fact that is the name of one of my Gems of Zen as part of #ZTT in the form of a guest post by my friend Monica. She owns a yoga studio and her title is 'Chief Relaxation Officer'. I need to become more unbusy but still have this innate need to feel productive which holds me back a little. Social media in particular is very much a drain on my energy and needs addressing. I don't like to have too much on my plate. I need activities/events/appointments spaced out or I get too overwhelmed. I am fortunate that I do have a much slower paced life now than I used to but I think I could do better and still feel a bit productive. I have followed that FB page - it looks fab! Thank you! xo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think we attach too much importance to being productive Min - and we define 'productive' in unhealthy ways at times - ie productive = constantly busy etc. Now I want to define myself differently - I don't want to be jumping from one scheduled activity to the next - I like the idea that not working allows me to spread myself out over the whole 7 days instead of having to fit it into a smaller window of free time. Some people love being frenetically busy - not me and I'm going to own that from here on out. :)

      Delete
  9. I just love this topic. Why do we glorify business? If I take an afternoon off to read or just hang out at home I feel terribly guilty. Why is this?
    I know so many people who are busier in retirement than they were when they were working!
    I love that you are taking your time and figuring out how you want to spend retirement. Sounds absolutely lovely
    Theresa @fabinyourfifties

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Theresa I had that whole guilt thing happening too - especially once I stopped work (for the first time in 30 years!) and then I just took a good hard look at myself and chose to own the fact that I like this lazier and more laid back lifestyle. I think I'm going to be really good at taking my foot off the accelerator and putting my life into cruise control for the foreseeable future.

      Delete
  10. I remember one vacation that I over scheduled and didn't enjoy at all. I can't even believe that I did that to a vacation, totally ruined it for me. Now, though I still have a lot of busy time, I counter that with vacations that are "go with the flow."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've done that to vacations too Jennifer - where I felt like I had to get "my money's worth" out of a trip. When I look back, the times when I chose not to go on a tour and just wander at leisure were the ones I remember the most fondly. So I'm off the tour bus of life for now and browsing through my days - and it's very pleasant.

      Delete
  11. Up until now, unbusy has seemed such an alien concept to me. I've always filled my days with a to-do list, just in case I'm caught metaphorically napping at any given point! But recently the concept of actually not having to do so much and just taking time to 'be' has inveigled its way into my psyche and I'm loving the feeling. Prompted by your philosophy on life after 50 I'm being inspired to take time out during my day to read, to watch the sky, walk without power walking and sip a cup of tea in the garden rather than on the move or at my computer. #MLSTL and Shared on SM

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh Jo I'm SO glad I'm inspiring you to ease up a little. You do an amazing amount of really interesting things, and that's great. I'm less "out there" and social and driven I think, but there's something to be said for finding a balance isn't there? We can't sit reading a book all day every day, but working every day can be just as wrong - so here's to finding that perfect tipping point of tea, books, walks and work xx

      Delete
  12. It's funny Leanne as I really have a lot of time on my hands (being unemployed 'n' all). But I often feel quite overwhelmed with 'stuff'. I'm not sure if I've too much time on my hands so not very efficient in doing stuff, but it feels a bit like I have lots of things on at once (I'm doing a bit of writing work for a local company) and then babysitting for a friend and then doing stuff for my mum.

    I know if I was working it'd be far more frantic and I'm telling myself I can't complain but it's something I seem to struggle with now more than I used to - time management!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's tricky isn't it Deb? Like I was just saying to Jo - it's about getting the balance right and once you nail that it gets easier. As much as we all think we're "doing nothing" when we're out of work, we actually still have quite a few commitments and it's making sure that they don't become our new "work" that's part of the trick. I'm trying to remind myself that nothing's compulsory any more, I can blow off a tai chi class or do the grocery shopping on a different day now that I'm not fitting it in around work. I hope you find your sweet spot soon and I'm glad you have plenty to fill your days.

      Delete
  13. I love this, Leanne! Being busy, whether retired or not, doesn't guarantee anything other than possibly exhaustion. Loving yourself and accepting yourself is key to being 'unbusy' and satisfied. I'm not at that point in my life yet, still working, but am looking forward to that day!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're right Candi - it's about doing what's right for you and that can be different for everyone. I think it's to do with giving ourselves permission to be less "productive" and not feel like we have less value in the process. Re-defining what gives me value has been a big deal for me and probably worth a blog post down the track!

      Delete
  14. Good morning Leanne! I am definitely looking forward to a little slower pace in retirement, but there are also places I want to see and new experiences to have. I hope I can find the right balance--and that my husband and I can balance our desires for a retirement lifestyle. Thank you for hosting #MLSTL.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You hit the nail on the head with the word "balance" Christie. I think it's what makes for the perfect retirement and it will be different for each of us. For me it was learning to take some of the weight off the "be productive to be worthwhile" side and put it onto the "it's okay to enjoy extra leisure time" side. Some people will have different priorities, but I'm learning that I don't have to apologize for not wanting to live life at the same pace as when I was working - busy retirement is for other people and not for me.

      Delete
  15. I've been working towards a slower life as I go, gradually winding down so that I can accomplish a lot, while moving at the tortoise's pace, not the hare's!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tammy I think you gave a great analogy with the hare and the tortoise, everyone gets to the same place at the end, but how we travel the path is what's important. Often we are so focused on cramming as much as possible into our days to prove we're still as productive as we were in our working days, and we miss the point that this is our time to live life on our own terms and at our own pace.

      Delete
  16. I'm so glad you are enjoying your retirement, Leanne. You are getting to a place where I have been since my early fifties, and my husband and I started this traveling lifestyle. The thing that you mentioned that really resonated with me is that you just have to stop worrying about what other people think and focus on what you really want your life to be now. Life is also so much more than what you do for a living, or what you used to do. I'm sharing to FB.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Christina, when I read about your life I think you've found your perfect sweet spot and I'm hoping that I'm finding mine. Letting go of my previous "self" and finding the new me has been an interesting journey, but I'm loving the fact that I'm finally unhooking my self worth from what I did for a living and letting it stand alone.

      Delete
  17. I love this! I love the quote "Stop the glorification of Busy". That's awesome.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's a quote I read somewhere Amy and it resonated really strongly with me - because it's exactly what our society does these days and we need to recognize that not everyone thinks 'busyness' is the scale we should use to judge others on.

      Delete
  18. Society seems to dictate we MUST be busy all the time, it doesn't matter if we are productive in a good way, just busy. I like your style much better...it suits me! #MLSTL shared on SM

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Donna - thank you xx And yes, it's not about what we achieve each day that we get judged on, it's how busy we are and how much running around we're doing. I find that having more free time means I do the same amount, but in a less stressful way and with chunks of down time in between - and I love that!

      Delete
  19. The flexibility in retirement can't be beat. You can choose to be un-busy or busy as much as you like, and change the pace over time. There is a big difference between being busy for busy-ness sake, and living a full life doing what brings you joy.#MLSTL

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're so right Natalie - I think some people are naturally faster paced and get bored more easily. Retirement with a list works for them, I'm finding that after 50+ years of being on someone else's schedule, I'm really enjoying stepping back and focusing on what is important to me and allowing myself some grace to just do less - it's such a wonderful reward after all those years of working so hard.

      Delete
  20. Completely agree. For several weeks now, I have had a number of appointments 3-4 days a week, plus helping with my granddaughter M-F. I feel as though I have returned to work...without the pay. I wouldn't trade my time with my grand but I do miss MY time. Quiet mornings, working on projects, getting the laundry done. There is something to be said for unbusying one's self in retirement and just being free to enjoy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lesley I think there are times when we have to put our needs aside to help others and you're probably in one of those atm. I'm finding that I'm in a lovely bubble of not being needed by anyone other than what I feel like contributing. I can do a little bit of everything with no expectations on me and it feels like a breath of fresh air. I'm sure there will be times when it arcs back up again, but for now I'm going to enjoy my unbusyness and stop feeling guilty for having earned it :)

      Delete
  21. Great points, Leanne! I am so happy for you, you sound centered and at peace.
    I am definitely not there yet. Then again I am not retired yet. Actually tomorrow there will be a post going live that talk about my constant struggle not to drop any balls.
    I do try, however, to find my tiny windows of fun and relaxation within the turmoil of everyday shaking and moving.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tamara I've been you for many, many years. There are a couple of decades of our life where it's all about work and family commitments and very little "me time". A lot of us have to wait until our mid to late 60's to have some downtime, so I'm relishing the fact that mine has come earlier than I expected and I don't want to waste it by feeling guilty for having all this lovely time to myself! Your day will come xx

      Delete
  22. Loving this and watching you 'slow' to the pace of your choosing. I "dislike" the recipe for everyone to do this, this and this upon retirement. I tried one or two but neither suited me. Now I "choose" my days and they are very pleasant. I do need to connect, and I do get out every day and I do continue to stimulate my brain but it's MY way.

    Great post. Denyse #mlstl

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're so right Denyse - it's different for each of us, and I know I was feeling some sort of pressure (from myself) to try to prove that I was making "the most" of all this extra time I now have. Then I woke up to the fact that I don't have to prove anything to anybody anymore (that was a LOT of any's!) and it feels good to take that pressure off myself and stop the guilt trip and the justifications and just enjoy being unbusy (and to find there's a lot of others out there discovering it too).

      Delete
  23. I am interested in the Unbusy Movement as well, Leanne. I think we've earned this time to reassess how we want to spend our days. I like mine full, usually, with things I've planned and really want to do. (Except housework...I hate housework, but it does add to my days..., lol) The joy in retirement is that you are in control of how your day looks. If you want to read all day you can. If you want to travel, that's open to you, too. I just don't want to be tied to a routine at this point. That actually gets in my way of consistent blogging.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You summed it up beautifully - it's about being as busy as we feel like and not doing it on someone else's schedule any more. I find that each day usually has something in it that needs to be accomplished, but there's always a few hours of "my time" where I can blog, read, play computer games, do a jigsaw, or whatever and I'm just loving that so much - it's like being on holidays every day!

      Delete
  24. Leanne, I love that you don't take your phone along on your walks and don't listen to music or anything. When we've been at the seaside or other scenic areas, we've been astonished to see people walking along fiddling with their phones and completely missing out on the moment. Keep being un-busy!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Jean - I see that all the time too. I don't understand how young mums can choose their screens over engaging with their child when they're walking. All that innate bonding and learning that happens in those moments is lost and that's such a shame. I think the day mobile phones connected to the internet was a sad one indeed.

      Delete
  25. I am with you, Leanne, on savouring the unbusyness of my life. The "space" is when I feel most whole. I have to be careful to not fill in every space. Here is where I have the luxury of flexibility. I added “Becoming Unbusy” and “ Simple Slow Lovely” to my reading list. I plan to savour in the new space I have created. Great post!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Erica - I hope you enjoy reading more about the joys of slow living. I like the FB feed from these sites because there's so much to gain from learning to step back a little from the bustle and constantly being "on" that everyone seems immersed in these days. I don't want to fill my life with electronics - I love the internet, but don't want it to own me.

      Delete

I love it when you leave a comment and I reply to them all.
If you'd like to have a conversation, feel free to email me any time - leanne.lecras@gmail.com