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What To Do On Your First Day of Retirement Skip to content

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Congratulations, You're Retired! Now What?

Do's and don'ts for day one of the good times

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En español | Do sleep as late as you like. After getting up at 7 a.m. for 45 years, that may no longer be possible. Take as long as you want to remain in bed and brood. Suggested brooding topic: Will you make the most of the years you have left, or will you blow it?

Do treat yourself to breakfast at a trendy coffee shop. Panic when you realize you have no idea what ristretto and affogato are. Stagger to park bench.

Do not sit on park bench. The next thing you know, you’ll be feeding pigeons.

Do remind yourself that you can now do all those things you’ve always wanted to do: Learn French, get in shape, take advantage of last-minute travel deals.

Do suppress the urge to use these words in conversation: “grandchildren,” “tech illiterate,” “used to be,” “colonoscopy.”

Do call a friend who retired a few years earlier for a catch-up lunch. Hear that he can’t make it, owing to the last word on your forbidden list.


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Do remember that these days you can go to the movies in the afternoon.

Do keep in mind that it’s now your duty never to go grocery shopping during peak hours. Every time a retiree does that, a fairy attending a movie in the afternoon dies.

Do browse those travel deals. Sixteen days on an old Yangtze River steamship, five of them spent shoveling coal so you can have an authentic nontourist experience — won’t that give you bragging rights! But since your partner is still working, you’ll have to pay the outrageous room supplement for singles, doubling the price of that so-called deal. And according to TripAdvisor, some guests never get to shovel.

Do not take out your anger at bait-and-switch travel deals by going to that new bakery and lingering over a chocolate éclair and coffee. OK, maybe just this once.

Do not go on Facebook and track down the high school sweetheart you should have married. That’s for after midnight.

Do take a drive to the country, returning to the city during rush hour, when everyone is leaving. When you see the commuters sitting in traffic, fuming, wave and smile as you whiz by at 60 miles an hour. Isn’t retirement grand? 

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