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What I Like About Retirement

Updated on June 16, 2017
Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul is a retired American expat living in Thailand. Besides being an English teacher and translator, Paul likes languages and most sports.

Retirement

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Growing to Like Retirement

Since April of 2014, I have been living a retired life in Udonthani, Thailand. Prior to retirement, I worked for the United States Navy and federal government for 30 years. I also worked as an ESL and EFL teacher for 15 years, with my most recent teaching in Thailand from 2007 up until 2014.

Although I was initially unhappy with retirement during the first year, I have now grown to like it for the following six reasons.

1. I am my own boss.

2. I have no travel restrictions.

3. There are no restrictions on my associations with foreign nationals.

4. There is unlimited time for hobbies and interests.

5. I have time to devote to physical fitness.

6. There is no commuting to work.

Being My Own Boss

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Being My Own Boss

With the exception of running my own English language teaching business in Taiwan 1973-1979, I always worked for public and private employers. I usually worked Monday-Friday eight hours a day on a flexible schedule beginning work as early as 0530 and getting off as late as 1630. While in the Navy overseas, I had a lot of rotating shift work putting in evening and night time hours.

As an employee, I had to follow my job description. Difficult and unpleasant tasks had to be accepted and completed quickly. There were dress codes and numerous rules and regulations to follow in the work place.

Now being retired, I am the boss able to set my own goals and devise my own job description. I need not follow a strict work schedule and can dress as I please. Rules and regulations are set by me for the benefit of myself and my family.

Travel Restrictions

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No Travel Restrictions to Follow

When I worked for the federal government, I could not freely travel to foreign countries. Even when planning to visit Canada or Mexico, I had to fill out an unofficial travel request (UFT) and have it approved by my security organization. Unofficial foreign travel to Communist countries like China and Russia was always denied.

While I taught English in Thailand, I could not schedule travel back to the U.S. during the school year. For this reason, I missed out on my high school's 50th class reunion which was held in September of 2012.

At the present, it is so nice being able to travel where and when I choose. Since being retired, I have been able to spend extended time with my sister in the United States during 2014 and 2016. I have also been able to schedule short trips to Laos, Taiwan, and Hong Kong.

Foreign National Associations

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No Foreign National Association Restrictions

Since I am no longer employed by the federal government, I have no restrictions on associations with foreign nationals. While working for the government, I had to report any close or continuing relationship with foreign nationals. If my security organization did not approve the associations, I had to end them immediately.

While going through a divorce in 1990, I briefly rented a room in a private home. When I later learned that my landlady was a citizen of Nicaragua, I had to report this. The consequence was that I had to move out and find another place to rent.

Genealogy Picture

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Time for Hobbies and Interests

Before retirement, I never had much time for hobbies and interests. It was very difficult finding enough time for gardening and landscaping. I also never got around to doing any substantial reading, traveling or genealogy research.

Since April of 2014, I have read many classic fiction novels. My travel inside and outside of Thailand has been enjoyable, and in the summer of 2018 I am planning a trip to Europe.

Much of my time now is spent doing genealogy research. I never had time to really attempt this project when I was working.

Fitness and Exercise

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Time for Fitness and Exercise

Up until retirement, I never had enough time and motivation to go to a fitness center. My wife and I now usually spend at least one hour per day at a fitness center in our neighborhood. I am getting necessary cardio work and also building up muscle strength.

No Work Commute

Finally, I am thankful for not having to commute to work. My daily activities are centered in and around my home. I chuckle now when I read about my former teaching colleagues complaining about getting to work in Bangkok through flooded streets.

© 2017 Paul Richard Kuehn

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    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 12 days ago from Queensland Australia

      Yes, Paul, there are a lot of advantages to retirement, and you listed a number of them. You just have to be able to take advantage of all the spare time and do something constructive with it. Thanks for sharing.

    • RoadMonkey profile image

      RoadMonkey 11 days ago

      Yes, retirement is great but I have found my new boss is my daughter and her two children! No, I don't have a commute any longer, though in the last few years, I took the train, which was great. My current commute is 5 minutes walk up the road to help my daughter. The other job is having my other grandchildren in my house while their parents get a rest. Gym? try running round after a wild child 3-year old!

    • lori811 profile image

      Lori B 11 days ago

      Congrats on your retirement. Be healthy, happy and God bless!

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 11 days ago from Oklahoma

      The conduct rules and regulations you had to live under are so strange to me. Congratulations on figuring out how to enjoy retirement. It is a hard thing for many to do. I always enjoy learning about Thailand through you.

    • Paul Kuehn profile image
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      Paul Richard Kuehn 11 days ago from Udorn City, Thailand

      Thanks for commenting, Larry. I held a security clearance when I worked and consequently had these restrictions.

    • Paul Kuehn profile image
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      Paul Richard Kuehn 11 days ago from Udorn City, Thailand

      Thank you so much for your good wishes!

    • Paul Kuehn profile image
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      Paul Richard Kuehn 11 days ago from Udorn City, Thailand

      Thank you very much for sharing your retirement experiences. Yes, I know what it's like running after a 3-year old!

    • Paul Kuehn profile image
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      Paul Richard Kuehn 11 days ago from Udorn City, Thailand

      Yes, Jodah, that is the key - doing something constructive with all of my spare time.

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