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.  

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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. Did you climb into my head and describe what you saw in there? 😁 What a great way to capture it! I like the “Endless Weekend” because it follows your advice: there’s no need to stress, because, well, it (🤞 ) is endless!

    I favor online courses myself because, of course, Covid, and because I can take them at my own pace. Today I virtually attended one lecture (in philosophy, in case you were curious). Maybe I’ll take another one this afternoon. Maybe it’ll be tomorrow.

    No stress. Perfectly said!

    1. Although I think attending in person has some definite advantages, I do like the convenience – and multi-tasking opportunities – of virtual classes. In fact, as I type this, I’m “attending” a lecture on our National Park system (don’t tell the teacher that he doesn’t have my 100% attention 🙂 ).

      1. Have retired myself 10 yrs ago and left everything behind in Germany, now living at the Gold Coast! Funny enough what I hate most is appointments. Obviously had too many over my 40 yrs of working! One per day is already enough for me! And I enjoy the days most without no appointments! Just doing the things I love to do most …

  2. 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!

  3. I have a childhood friend who schedules all regular medical appointments in a two-week period twice a year. Any lab work is requested ahead to fit in the time space and sent to the appropriate doctor before the appointment.

  4. Hi, Janis – The course offerings in your area sound fantastic. Out our way, the University of Victoria offers Elder College — a wide range of courses for those aged 55+, at a reasonable cost. Deb V. and I have taken quite a few together and have a few more already scheduled. This is a great post to linkup to WBOYC. The link is still open! 🙂

  5. Janis, you are a woman after me own heart as in preferring to have a less hectic schedule. Out of curiosity I looked up an online course at a Technical College here for creative writing which was for approximately $1000 NZD. Not cheap. May have to do some more research as it is a great idea to do learning for the joy of it. Good luck with your courses.

    1. I imagine that one of the benefits of living in a larger city is that there are more opportunities for free/low cost classes. A lot of the accredited colleges also have an emeritus program too. And, since so many courses are now online, maybe you could find something that isn’t local. I hope you find something that works for you!

  6. I like my calendar with lots of blank days too! Right now I am getting ready to volunteer one morning a week through tax season. But even that is a commitment! Husband found some free online classes that he enjoys. Good luck on your courses!

    1. We’ve looked into volunteer opportunities but they often expect a minimum time and schedule commitment. I may be ready for that at some point but, right now, I like to keep my days more flexible. I’m glad your husband found some free classes. I’m amazed at the opportunities out there.

  7. I love that you still have the urge to take various classes, Janis! I had visions of retirement too, and what did I do? I took a part time substitute Teacher job that only lasted a few months. After that, we took a long road trip and within a few weeks I signed on as a part-time reporter for the local monthly paper. I believe the whole point to all of this is that we have the freedom to choose to work or not, languish at home (unless you’re still unpacking, like me), or take courses. After teaching so long at the university level, I feel I’m done learning, 🤣. But I have been learning German on duolingo for 3 years. Wonderful choices we have at this stage of our lives. Great post! Like you I enjoy the big open block on my calendar!

  8. Yes, I like your advice. Do what you want, when you can, and say *whatever* to the rest. No need to bow to the gods of external validation once you no longer have to.

  9. I continued with life-long learning into my retirement years. I do not have too many opportunities in our small rural community. Some of your followers may be in the same boat and interested in learning new things online. A really good site is, where I have been learning French, and Italian, playing the ukulele, and photo and movie editing. Online learning may not be appealing to everyone. But it is a good alternative.

    1. Thanks for that tip, Peter. I just checked out and was impressed at all the different classes they offer. The best thing about them is that you can watch the videos when you want. I am looking forward to you posting a video you edited of you playing the ukulele while singing in French! 🙂

  10. Thank you Janis, I thought it was just me who was being made to feel that bored is unacceptable when retired. I see so many people constantly going and doing and I ask why? What is wrong with simply having time to use in whatever way you like, or not at all! I do a lot of online free courses from Open Learn. It is UK based and the courses are not full curriculum but a modified version. They range in length and cover every subject you could want. There’s no pressure with them but they do have opportunities within to test your comprehension and even respond to discussion questions as you would if you were sitting in a lecture hall or writing a paper. The url is if you are interested in another option.

    1. That sounds really interesting… I’m going to check that out. Thanks for the tip! I think that some people – for whatever reason – are more comfortable always being busy, always with a full calendar. Not me! I find fulfilment being moderately busy (and my “busy” may not seem busy to others), but with lots of free time.

  11. It certainly sounds as though boredom really is the least of your worries. I love the idea of being able to follow your curiosity through lectures and courses. I say now all the things I’ll do when I finally retire from the day job, but imagine I’ll end up in a similar way – too busy to do them. Thanks for linking up.

  12. Wow, Janis. It’s almost like you have a job again. A learning job, every day. I’m sure I would be like you if/when retired, wanting to do anything that sounds interesting. Us, curious minds, would never have a day off! Or be bored. 🙂

    Finding a balance is key. Like you, I prefer to have nothing planned, a blank calendar, which I have. But, in a similar way, I never have enough time in a day to do everything I want to do – writing, reading, researching camping and activities, daily diary, pitching for articles, blogging, walking Maya, social media, communicating with friends and family, daily Spanish lessons, sightseeing, exploring, shopping for food,… – on top of our daily life and its challenges.

    Can you believe I’m stressed just thinking about it all? 🙂

    1. Ah, the leisure of a full-time traveler 🙂 I can’t imagine doing all that without at least a home office… but you seem to manage. I think you are right about curious minds: there is always something to learn. And, it doesn’t even have to be all that useful, just interesting.

  13. First of all, I am so in sync with you on everything you said and feel about the schedules of being retired. But, we have OLLI in with the University of Arkansas as well. I have participated in several of the offerings and was always so glad I did. Now… if you happen to be in Northwest Arkansas on February 16 & 23, I’ll be teaching an OLLI Beginning Oil Painting class. We’re going to do a summer landscape. You should join!

  14. Like you, I’m retired, and like you, I wondered if I’d be bored. No worries—there is so much to do that I have to use a planner and schedule carefully to get it all in. But isn’t it a grand conundrum? I wouldn’t go back to work if they paid me. Oh yes, they did pay me lol!

  15. I really relate to your conundrum, Janis. I did the same “overbooking” at one point with similar pursuits that I’d looked forward to joining for such a long time. But I, like you describe, do enjoy having some unspoken for time spaced between events. And the other factor that jumped out was my enthusiasm shows, which made me vulnerable to more requests and suggestions. I really wanted to play a minor, if not invisible role in some of the organizations that had intrigued me. It does take wisdom and balance. Although I hate to try to say there was a benefit to the Covid restrictions, it feels insensitive, but it did allow me to graciously back out of a few things.

    As an aside, I’ve been intrigued by the offerings in your local Community College district for many years. My aunt, a long-retired professor, was a part of this program for years, as a student! I think it’s really great. You do have a lot of options. Isn’t that great?

    1. So many classes were canceled at the beginning of the pandemic, then offered online. My writing workshop (offered by our local Community College) was one of them. Now, since most of us are retired and many don’t want to drive far, we all opted to keep the class online. I miss seeing everyone in person, but it sure is convenient to just fire up my computer to attend.

      And, you are right about being vulnerable to requests. It’s easy to get sucked in if you aren’t careful. I’ve learned to get better at saying “no” nicely.

  16. We have an organization here called U3A University of the Third Age, for 50 years + which sounds similar and is extremely low cost. Retirement is for me a mix of hectic classes and activities, freelance writing, blogging and down time. Although it can be easy to become over-committed. A balance is important.

  17. I too love learning new things. I’ve looked into OLLI a few times but never took the plunge. During the pandemic lockdowns, I took a number of courses on line and enjoyed that flexibility – Link into the pre-recorded lectures on my own timing. I’ve also done the buy a bunch of books on a topic and dive in. Again, it lets me do it on my own timing! I guess that’s my way of managing the balance – I too like empty space in my calendar.

  18. I’m with you, Janis. I love continuing education and I also love great swaths of empty space on the calendar. Not feeling a bit guilty about it either! Sounds like you have a lot of great course offerings in your area!


  19. I prefer a calendar that’s all blank days. “Have to” appointments stress me out, as would classes, etc. After years of immutable deadlines, a stress-free life is my goal.

  20. Hi Janis, it is great to have so many options, and I understand your dilemma. I like having a few ‘fixed’ things on the calendar to anchor my week, along with lots of flexible space. Finding the right balance is very different for each of us. Your schedule might stress me out, while mine might leave you feeling unsatisfied. Retirement is so individual and it takes time to sort out but I can never imagine being bored. Good luck with your classes.

    1. Absolutely! I feel sorry for people who feel that, somehow, there is a “correct” way to be retired. We all are different. Some people envision days on the golf course… yikes! Some want to volunteer full-time… nope! As far as my classes go, I think the right mix is somewhere between none and what I’ve currently signed up for.

  21. Hi, Janis. Few things make my teeth grind more than people who loudly announce that since they’ve retired they’ve never been busier. On questioning them on how this could be so, it is usually revealed that (unlike your pursuits) it’s almost all trivial space filling and fatuous bucket lists to avoid ever being alone or unoccupied. I suspect the only rest they will get is when they Rest In Peace. 😉
    On a personal level, like you, I love a calendar full of nothingness these days. 🙂

  22. Your courses sound much like my bucket list items – they’re all so very appealing, but there’s no way I’d be able to cram all of them into the year ahead. Pacing yourself when there are so many exciting opportunities out there to enjoy can be a challenge. But when you’re retired and actually looking forward to weekends, it might be a good time to take a breather.

  23. Over the past couple of years, I’ve attended so many gardening webinars I’ve lost count. If you’re looking for good ones on gardening, check out Smithsonian Gardens, and I think it is under a tab labeled ‘learn.’ I’ve attended OLLI classes in the past and enjoyed them. Thanks for the nudge because I’ll head over and see what’s available. We also have the Emeritus classes at our state university, but parking and congestion is an issue I choose not to embrace. Good post!

    1. It’s amazing that so much is available online. I wonder if your state university is offering their emeritus classes online now. I think many made that change during Covid and have found that the students preferred it that way. I know attendance is way up because of it.

  24. Sounds like most of your readers, including me, prefer open days in our calendars. Visiting my dad two days a week can mean fewer open days. I too have started looking forward to weekends again. I still like learning and have become addicted to YouTube videos related to card making. I took a knitting class a year ago with a friend and enjoyed that. I just love being home so I get lazy when it comes to finding things to do outside of the home.

    1. I remember when I was caring for my parents and how much time it took, both to spend time with them and managing their affairs. YouTube is amazing! I am in awe of those who take the time to share their expertise with others. I also feel the same about our home… I sometimes find it difficult to talk myself out the door 🙂

  25. We wouldn’t worry about boredom in retirement either because we both have several hobbies and interests outside of our jobs. Can’t wait to set our own schedule. Until then, we live for the weekends. So, enjoy yours and your classes. It’s about finding a balance: busy is good, but so is down time. 🙂

  26. When I was a 14 years old, I had a retirement dream. However, when I became Emeritus professor, I got so busy with the research I wanted to do that it is like I am still working 10 hours/day. And I don’t want to change a thing.

  27. I seem to have lost all my ‘free’ days at the moment too. I think what you said about an appointment in the middle of the day is very true – it knocks both morning and afternoon out so i tend to think it’s not worth starting anything else serious. Having two things in different parts of the city involving travel time can have the same effect. It makes me feel busier than i really am. When I was at work I would turn up and work all day till i left. I never do anything like that now (and I wouldn’t go back to it either)!

    1. I go through busier periods too. Then, I realize that it’s all too much and I put on the breaks. And, you are right about travel time. I always try to time any driving so to avoid rush hour (which is way more than an hour around here 🙂 ) but it’s not always possible.

  28. I’d love to hear more about this; your preference of the virtual vs in real person learning experience and your favorite courses….assuming you have time to blog (wink.) I’ve done a few virtual writing classes, but nothing recently. Thanks for the post!

    1. For some reason, your comment needed approval… silly WordPress.

      There are plusses and minuses virtual vs. in-person. Virtual is a lot more convenient but I really miss the social connections. I haven’t yet found the perfect writing class, although I’m not sure I could fully describe what would be “perfect.” The workshop I’m in is top-notch with a great instructor, but there are a lot of participants so we often have too many submissions to discuss. Have you taken an online writing class that you enjoyed?

      1. I noticed in was in moderations! I have taken several through Thurber House. They are short 1-1/2 – 2 hours, fairly specific aspects of writing, small groups and some limited sharing. Just the right balance for me. I was inspired by your post and started doing some research locally. I found a few in person and virtual options a couple town’s over. I’m going to try at least one of them out soon.

        1. I’m glad you were able to find some interesting classes (and thanks for the link that you sent). I’d love to hear more about your experience with the classes you decide to take. I have taken a few all-online classes here and there with varying results. Some were well worth the small price they charged, some were disappointing.

    1. I imagine most of us enter retirement without a clear picture of what to expect. It’s been eight years now and I’m still figuring some things out… and situations change all the time. I cherish my free days, even if they tend to fill up with this and that.

  29. I think I will be like you in retirement because I’m like that now: don’t want to overcommit during my non-work hours. Sometimes family members even text and try to schedule a weekend phone call and I’m like, “No. Let’s just be spontaneous. Call whenever. I don’t want to schedule phone chats.”

  30. What fun that there are all those classes to take! I remember during my final semester of college, I enjoyed looking through the course offerings for the next semester even though I would be graduated by then. I’m with you on 1 or 2 things per week being PLENTY. 🙂 I have grown accustomed to driving to taekwondo two nights a week, however, so that it doesn’t feel like an extra thing anymore, just part of my usual life. I hope you find the right balance of classes + free time soon! 🙂

    1. I look at college offerings now and get a little nostalgic for the days when my main job was attending class and filling my brain. Then, I remember the stress of tests… yikes! You are right, when you enjoy something – like taekwondo or book club, for instance – the time and travel required doesn’t matter.

  31. This post has been interesting for your thoughts but also for the comments Janis! So much to do so little time it seems. I love being curious and trying new things but I also like pottering around at home with no real plans, like today! I have days where i have a few commitments then I make the most of the rest days in between. I’ve just started a short photography course run by a local photographer and am finding it stretching my brain, which can only be a good thing. By the sounds of things boredom is the least of your worries!

  32. I totally get what you are saying. I’ve never been bored one minute of the ten years I’ve been retired, yet where does the time go? I also don’t like too much scheduled time. Too many things come up. Great post.

  33. Janis, this sounds like the best problem to have: what course/lecture should I take next?
    (I’d fall over my feet for the art, crafting, and photography if you asked 🙂 )
    How sweet to have so many opportunities right there in your community, but I also agree with you, having open calendar days is the most amazing feeling.
    Best of luck with your enjoyable balancing act.

  34. Hi Janis, There are many options on how we can spend our time. You say it perfectly “…too easy to overschedule…” A great word, “balance.” I wholeheartedly agree with “boredom is the least of my worries.” I am a fan of inspirational podcasts and books. Tim Ferriss is always a favourite, depending on the guest. A newly discovered one is “On Purpose” with Jay Shetty. Inspirational re how and where to align my energy. Always nice to connect with you, Janis💕

    1. Oh, yes, books and podcasts are additional ways I avoid any chance of boredom. I haven’t heard of Tim Ferriss but I’ll check him out. A podcast favorite of mine is Hidden Brain. The one hour segments are perfect for my neighborhood walks or gardening. I hope you are doing well… I miss seeing you on our Zooms!

  35. I appreciate reading this post so much. I’m not retired yet, but I think often about what it would be like and if I’d try to stay busy (as in like a 40-hour work week) or if I’d prefer fewer things on the calendar and do more things on a whim. It’s a careful balancing act. I wish you much fun and happy learning. 😍🥰🤗

  36. As others have pointed out, balance is the key…and sometimes a challenge. I’m like you, in that I like to spread out my commitments, so there are free days on my calendar each week. Today is one of those days.

  37. Too many choices sounds like a good problem to have, but it really isn’t. It think we have to be intentional about making sure we don’t overcommit and thereby give away all our free time. A little unscheduled time is always a good thing!

  38. Janis, I completely relate to what you have written in this post. For me, it is a sense of trying to do everything because the spool of time ahead is looking a little thin.

  39. I’m looking forward to retirement and don’t plan to be bored at all Janis, just like your mindset. I told my boss 22 years ago I’d stay til he retires, but he’ll be 76 next month. I’ll be 67 this year and don’t want to wait around forever. I plan on taking some art classes, though I’ve bought some how-to books on sketching and painting and amassed a collection of sketchpads and pastels, some paints already. I don’t understand people saying they’ll be bored … not me. I hope to read more as well, a goal I began this year, but is slowly falling apart.

    1. I think you need to have a little talk with your boss… when does he intend to retire? Some (men, mostly) don’t ever want to retire because they define themselves by their job. It sounds like you have a lot of great things planned for when you stop working. If you can swing it financially, don’t wait too long.

      1. I agree with you – I said I’d stay to the end, but that doesn’t mean he should drag things out. His father, also an attorney, was still practicing at age 83, when he had developed kidney issues relative to his diabetes and he died. Yes, I have hobbies I want to pursue and joining up with the plein air painting group when I am proficient enough to join them (they said “come anyway”). They paint in all the venues where I walk. Time’s a’ tickin’.

  40. I started reading your post, Janis, and I was thinking: “That sounds wonderful but I’m over-scheduled. How does she find the time?” Then I read onward. LOL. Isn’t it amazing how busy retirement feels? I’ll have to check out some online opportunities (I live too far away from everything to attend in person). So much for trying to downsize my commitments, but way too fun not to give it a go. 🙂 Thanks for the idea!

    1. I know some people who aren’t retired cringe when they hear how “busy” we are now that we’ve stopped the 9 – 5, but it’s true. There are so many opportunities vying for our time that it’s easy to get over-scheduled. Since I live in a big city, I’m sure I have more to choose from but, as you pointed out, there are so many online options… oh, wait, there’s a book I have been meaning to read 🙂

  41. I’m semi retired and a very involved grandparent, but that will change when they hit school, so at this moment, I am just learning a few tidbits here and there. I do hope to audit a couple of university classes on Canadian history in a few years. Good for you for taking advantage of these opportunities. Alas at the expense of downtime!

  42. Good luck finding that balance. I’ve been retired almost 4 years. Like you, I don’t like to have more than a couple of things on my schedule each week. Now that I’ve got a part-time job, my two days of work per week pretty much fill those slots, LOL. I do enjoy my job though. Unlike my pre-retirement office job, my part-time job is full of variety and I get to spend most of my time outside.

  43. Boise also has a wonderful Osher program. During the pandemic they did a lot of online stuff, which a lot of the seniors didn’t adapt well to, but I love that mode of learning. They have also made a lot more of the livestream programs free of cost, which I love. I know just what you mean about overscheduling. I’m real stingy with my commitments. But the streamed lectures are so much more convenient. I will never understand how anyone can become bored. It boggles my mind. There are never enough hours in the day. (Or maybe it’s the lack of energy in my brain?)

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