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What I Like About Retirement

Updated on September 13, 2021
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.



Growing to Like Retirement

Since April of 2014, I have been living a retired life in Udonthani, Thailand. Before 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 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.

1. Being My Own Boss


Except for running my own English language teaching business in Taiwan from 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 the evening and nighttime 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 workplace.

Now being retired, I am the boss able to set my own goals and devise my 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.

2. 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 United States 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 present, it is so great 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 in 2014 and 2016. I have also been able to schedule short trips to Laos, Taiwan, and Hong Kong.

3. 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.

4. Time for Hobbies and Interests

Visiting the Big Buddha at Hong Kong in 2015.
Visiting the Big Buddha at Hong Kong in 2015. | Source

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

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

5. 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.

6. 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 during the rainy season.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2017 Paul Richard Kuehn


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    • Paul Kuehn profile imageAUTHOR

      Paul Richard Kuehn 

      4 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand

      You couldn't have said it any better. Since retirement, I am seeing myself in a different way.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Retirement is a time for you to be with family and to learn more about yourself. A way of life that makes a person see themselves in a different life.

    • Paul Kuehn profile imageAUTHOR

      Paul Richard Kuehn 

      4 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand

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

    • Paul Kuehn profile imageAUTHOR

      Paul Richard Kuehn 

      4 years 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 imageAUTHOR

      Paul Richard Kuehn 

      4 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand

      Thank you so much for your good wishes!

    • Paul Kuehn profile imageAUTHOR

      Paul Richard Kuehn 

      4 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand

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

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 

      4 years 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.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

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

    • RoadMonkey profile image


      4 years 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!

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      4 years ago from Gondwana Land

      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.


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