While looking out into my back yard yesterday at birds eating seed at my bird feeder, I also saw a squirrel enjoying a little seed himself. When watching a squirrel move about I get the impression that they are on methamphetamines or something because they are so twitchy and nervous. They move about in quick jerky motions and are very busy animals going to-and-fro across the yard and up and down the trees. One minute they are sitting quietly enjoying the bird seed and the next minute they dart across the yard to bury an acorn in the ground. A few days ago I spotted a squirrel darting along my fence top with a giant piece of white cushion stuffing he had found some where. Who knows what he was going to do with it. I figure he was going to pad his nest a little against the cold winter wind.
Watching the squirrel made me think of people in retirement. Some people are very busy in retirement doing this and that and going through their day getting things done. And then some are more like a cat and take retirement super relaxed and enjoy sitting in the recliner watching TV, reading a book, knitting, etc.
I see myself with the characteristics of both of these animals. On a beautiful sunny day with temperatures in the 60's or 70's I can fill a day with busy activities. I can be a squirrel on those days and wash the car, clean the garage, do some yardwork, touch up paint, replace or fix minor broken items, etc. By the end of that day, I just want to be a cat and take a break and sit somewhere quiet and read a book. On a cold winter day, I can be a lazy cat all day long drinking coffee, reading, blogging and other low energy activities.
In the summer, the squirrel in me gets the lawn mowed and trimmed and flower beds cleaned up. Then, the cat in me gets on the pool float and does nothing for an hour or two other than listening to the water falls tumble into the pool and some reggae or smooth jazz playing on the speaker at the pool side.
In retirement I think you need a good balance of being busy and being at rest. If you stay in squirrel mode you will burn yourself out with constant activities, volunteering and part time work and find that you have no time to enjoy the retirement you have worked for. On the flip side, you can not stay in cat mode for any length of time without becoming a hermit in your own home. You must get out and have interaction and exercise to keep the mind and body strong and able. I envision that most retirees become more cat as they age and squirrel activities become too much work. Health would also dictate your activity level. Obviously any major health issue or disability would slow your activity level to some extent.
Are you more squirrel than cat or more cat than squirrel? If you have been retired for many years, did you start off in squirrel mode and slowly transition to cat mode? Are you like me and flip between busy and not so busy depending on the day? What other animal might you equate your retirement to?
On Tuesday, as I write this, we have snow moving into the area with 4"-8" expected. Today, I'm not sure I have the energy to be a cat. Today, I may go into sloth mode!