What I Like About Retirement
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.
1. 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 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 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.
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 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 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.
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
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 really 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.
© 2017 Paul Richard Kuehn