Friday, April 9, 2021



How's your patience in retirement? I haven't ever been a real patient person. As a young boy I had terrible patience. I loved model cars. I would get them for birthday and Christmas presents or I would save my allowance up to buy a new model car. I would gather my paints, glue and model and set up on a table or desk to dive into putting together the pieces. This is where my lack of patience comes in. the model car would come with some large pieces such as the car top and bottom and then have all the smaller parts delicately attached to the plastic support. To have a great car in the end, you should carefully cut the pieces from the support, sand the edges smooth where it was attached and then paint the parts as you see fit. I never have patience to let paint dry. I would paint a few parts for the engine and would be so ready to put it together that I often grabbed the "dry enough" piece and glue it to the next piece. I often would up with fingerprint smudges on the part and ugly areas where the wet glue mixed with the "dry enough" paint. I finally would lose all patience and glue the whole thing together as quick as possible. I didn't have days to get this model together, I needed it done in an hour! My models always looked a little bad and the wheels tended to be angled in because I didn't let the glue set before I sat the whole thing on the shelf.

Also as a young boy, I liked fishing. Fishing is one of those things you definitely need patience. But this boy found a way around all the waiting! I fished for catfish and would fish on the bottom without a bobber. To get around the waiting issue, I would take two or three rod and reels, bait them up and throw the line out to the middle of the pond. Then the genius in me would lodge the rod and reel into a fork in a young tree so it wouldn't get dragged into the water. Wala! I would leave and tend to other business and return in an hour or two to find a fish or two on the hook. Problem solved!

In retirement I find I have a little more patience. I don't feel the rush to get things done as quickly as I used to. When working, I knew I had to do yardwork, house maintenance and errands in the limited hours after work or on the weekends. So, there was always a little sense of urgency to get things done. Now, if I don't get the lawn mowed on the weekend, it can wait until Monday or Tuesday or any day and at anytime. I now find myself taking a little longer on tasks just because I can. I have more patience at the grocery store and am no longer in a hurry to get checked out, because I don't have to rush home and get the lawn done by dark. My patience has gotten worse lately with one thing- idiots sitting at a green traffic light absorbed with checking the latest emergency text or facebook post on their phone. Drives me crazy!

My friend Greg has tremendous patience and we all need to take a lesson from him. Greg was my next door neighbor for about twelve years. One day he brought home the bones of an airplane on a trailer and told me he was going to build his own plane. I would go over and check on his progress every once in awhile. He would patiently be sanding, painting or running cables for controls. He never appeared to be in a hurry and took his time on the little things as well as the bigger things. I, on the other hand, would have tried to get it built in a week. I guess if you want patience in anything it would be in the guy building an airplane! Greg did most everything himself. He did metal work, fiberglass, paint and everything else involved in building a plane. He completed it after three years and seven months of patient labor. He told me he would work at least 10 minutes a day even if it was just sweeping out the garage. Greg now enjoys flying his plane and must have tremendous pride in knowing he built it himself.  What a beautiful plane too!

Greg's mantra of "10 minutes every day" could be used in any task. That reminds me of the old saying "How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time". By breaking down large tasks into "bites" we can accomplish the big things a little bit at a time. Perseverance is the key. Thanks for the lesson Greg!
How has your patience changed in retirement? Are you more patient with some things than others? Do you have any great stories like Greg's quest to build a plane?



  1. Wow, your neighbor’s plane is amazing! I bet he was proud of that accomplishment.
    I think my patience level is about the same as before I retired, although i feel a sense of urgency for big things as there isn’t an infinite amount of life left to do them.
    I think I got my patience from my dad. He built many intricate things that took a long time, including four homes in his “spare” time. And when I was a teenager we built a canoe together from scratch!

    1. I bet the canoe building resulted in great memories!