Too Much of a Good Thing?

Prior to my retirement, I dreamed about all the things I could do with my freed-up time. In addition to travel, creative pursuits, and enjoying friends and family, I was looking forward to vast amounts of time that I could fill up with anything I wanted. Reading, writing, gardening… whatever.

After being retired for a while, I started to explore the many emeritus programs and lifelong learning opportunities offered in our city. I always enjoyed school and learning new things, so this seemed like a great way to keep my mind engaged without the stress of grades.

So many classes to take, so little time to do everything I want.

The Oasis organization offers interesting lectures on a range of subjects and a variety of courses and workshops, all for a very reasonable price.

Our local Community College district has an Emeritus program that offers courses on an array of subjects as diverse as art, effective communication, writing, law, and music.

We also have robust Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) programs at two local universities. Joining Osher is more expensive than the other programs, but the quality of the offerings is top-notch. Not only are most of the lectures presented by college professors, but membership also includes the ability to audit many of the regular university courses.

In addition, smaller organizations, clubs, and businesses offer art classes, craft lessons, photography workshops, writing groups, and other learning opportunities for just about any interest.

Pre-Covid most of these classes and lectures were held in-person but the pandemic moved them online. Now, some remain 100% virtual, some are 100% in-person, and others offer hybrid, in-person and virtual attendance.

Not only are there a tremendous number of quality offerings, but the ability to attend many of the courses and lectures from the comfort of home makes it so convenient.

So, what’s the problem? I have found that it is too easy to overschedule myself.

I’m the type of retiree that gets twitchy when I have too many commitments on my calendar in one week (too many being more than one or two). I prefer to space out doctor appointments, get-togethers with friends, and anything else that requires me to be at a specific place at a specific time. I like my calendar to have lots of blank days. Now, with so many interesting classes and lectures, I’m suddenly scheduled just about every day, Monday – Friday. Granted, most of the classes only last 2 – 3 hours but they are usually in the middle of the day, making it difficult to do anything else, like going for leisurely walks or enjoying relaxed lunches with my husband. I have found that I am starting to look forward to weekends again.

On one hand, I want to sign up for everything that sounds the least bit interesting (which is a lot). On the other, I want more unscheduled time to do other things, or do nothing. I’m not sure what the right balance is, but I’m trying to find it.

Although I was never worried that I wouldn’t have enough to do in retirement, I know it’s a concern to some. My advice: don’t stress. After being retired for a little over eight years, boredom is the least of my worries.  

Copyright © 2023 – All rights reserved.

Author: Janis @

My blog is about travel, relationships, photography, and whatever else pops into my head (even, sometimes, issues surrounding retirement and aging).

141 thoughts on “Too Much of a Good Thing?”

  1. I commented a few days ago, but then my comment disappeared when I posted it, and then I forgot to return until this morning. Because moving will do that to you, haha!!

    I love being engaged in life and learning, just as you describe. But I’ve been so consumed by packing and moving and trying to adjust to our new life adventure that I haven’t had the time or energy to do any of the things that my creative soul longs for. I’m hoping to find some balance, and soon! Great post. 🙂

    1. I’m sorry my blog swallowed your comment. I’ll see if I can find it and figure out what went wrong. I’m sure that when things settle down for you (and they will, they really will 🙂 ) you’ll find all sorts of activities and learning opportunities to explore. That’s one of the great thing about downsizing your housing situation, it will free you up to do more of what you love (including doing absolutely nothing).

  2. OMG – I am feeling the exact same way lately! I even wrote a post about it that I published today. When I mention to people who are currently still working that I feel like I don’t have enough down time in retirement, they look at me like I am crazy. (Or maybe that is the, “what a sloth” look.) I am so glad you wrote this post, as it makes me feel that this is normal at this point in life and I am not a sloth after all. Here is to more open days on the retirement schedule!

    1. I think this is a common feeling among those of us who have retired but I can understand not understanding it if still working… I know I didn’t. I’m glad you mentioned that you wrote about this today because I realized that I haven’t been getting notices of your posts. I’ve subscribed again so hopefully it sticks this time 🙂

      1. Thanks for letting me know about the subscription issue. I think I have the problem fixed, but if not, please let me know.

  3. Hi Janis,
    I so get this and can see myself making the same mistake, soon if I’m lucky.
    At almost 68, I need to put some kind of date (less than 12 months from now) down and aim to retire around that time. I too have a restless mind but as I age, it gets less and less disciplined but not less interested in all kinds of stuff.
    I look forward to making the same mistake and reaching the same conclusions you’re reaching.
    Lord – I love and empty calendar. . . !

  4. OLLI and all related educational opportunities have been a life and sanity saver for me after I was first exposed to them in my second retirement. I extol their virtues, and I have experienced a plethora of them over the several places I have lived in just the past few years, in many of the posts on my new blog.

    It’s titled Starting Over and you may note that having such an opportunity readily available is now a prerequisite for any place I consider to put down any roots, no matter how shallow they may be.

  5. Finding the right balance is key I think. We spend so much of our life with the demands of work schedules, child schedules etc, it can be difficult to find the balance when time is more our own!

  6. Hi – a good friend of mine is in his fourth year of retirement (myabe the fifth now) and he recently told me something like “Need to start working again so I have time off” – he was joking – but he noted that is schedule was so full and he had more time off when he worked five days as a therapist – lol
    so as he worked on projects I think he could relate to what you mentioned – how the calendar can get so full – I guess it really does take balance and taking it one season at a time

  7. I am like you. I space things out if I can and get stressed a little if I can’t. I like puttering around the house too much and not feeling that I have to do anything. But I still feel like I accomplish things. I love having my time and the days go way too fast!! Retirement is wonderful.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: