A Wrinkle In Time


While I am only starting my third day of early retirement, I can already feel that my fundamental relationship with TIME and SLEEP is changing.

First off, I am starting to understand what freedom from everyday work feels like.  Simply put, it feels like I am SKIPPING SCHOOL – but EVERYONE knows.  Even the principal (my old boss) knows.  For the last few weeks, even though I was still going to the office everyday, I started taking the opportunity to come in a bit later and leave a bit earlier whenever possible.  That was like cutting a few classes – but now I feel like I have stopped going to class COMPLETELY.

One friend told me when he retired he slept for about a month.  I’ve heard others say that they didn’t realize how much decades of work & stress had built up on them – once they were done, they crashed for several weeks.

I haven’t been that lucky yet.  I’ve been up early every day this week.  On Monday, I had to take my wife to the airport early in the morning.  On Tuesday, my son & I needed to take his car into the shop before school.  Tomorrow is the same – wake up early to take him to school.  Thursday will probably be my first chance to sleep in for real.  My Dad says that AARP is going to take my membership away if I don’t sleep in until at least 9am now.  (I haven’t gotten my AARP card in the mail yet, so I guess I’m good for now).

Speaking of my Dad, at my retirement party last week I did something that he did when he retired 23 years ago.  I took off my wrist WATCH and told everyone that I didn’t plan on wearing one again.  I’ve been without my watch for almost 10 days and haven’t missed it too much yet.  It helps that I always have my phone with me, and there are SO MANY clocks within sight nowadays.

Whereas my old schedule was typically 6:30am to 9:30pm, I am looking forward to eventually timeshifting my day to 8:30am to 11:30pm, give or take 30 minutes.  This way, I can catch the end of the TODAY Show as I get up in the morning and most of the TONIGHT Show before bed in the evening (you can tell I’m looking to NBC for validation of my new lifestyle♥).  In this arrangement, 4:00pm in the afternoon will be exactly “midday” of waking hours – which is a bit of a head flip from my former working self.

While there isn’t any extra sleep in my expected new schedule, it is still a solid 9 hours a night.   That’s right on schedule with most people who are retired.  This article from US News & World Report shows what retirees (65+) do with their time.  Surprisingly, sleeping is only slightly above non-retirees (9 hours vs 8.7 hours).

With an afternoon nap every few days, I think I can do much better than that – I strive to be an overachiever!  How do you/how would you balance your time & sleep in retirement?

Picture Credit: Pixabay


16 thoughts on “A Wrinkle In Time

  1. 9 hours a night? Wow…that sounds amazing. I’m totally jealous! If I were to retire today I’m pretty sure I’d try to get 12 hours per night for a week. But that’s mostly because I have three young boys. Probably feels a little different with older children. Who knows – maybe not!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Nine hours is pretty typical at our house. Gallup study says Americans average about 7 hours a night, so we are on the high end. 7 to 9 is the recommended amount.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. My sabbatical’s really been a stealth run at early retirement. I found that I pull 8-9 hours of sleep (including naps) unless my schedule got distorted by commitments (such as getting the daughter up and off to school, or my wife worked really late and was making noise downstairs at oh-dark-thirty).

    I’ve got many more years until the house empties of children. I expect that I’ll be off optimal sleep schedule until well after FI. :-b May you settle into your preferred rhythm quickly and easily!


    1. Thanks – I just saw this story on the today show this morning about “elite sleepers”. This is the one percent of the population that only sleeps about 4 to 6 hours a night – amazing!


  3. I’ve heard everyone say that time and sleep are the first things that change drastically with any life changes. You actually get to figure out what your body wants to do for the very first time ever! Sleep until you wake. Go to bed when you’re tired! Amazing.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. 9 hours of sleep? Wow that’s awesome. Having two little ones at home and having to get to work early, I’ve been getting non-continuous 6 hours at best last few weeks. Interesting point that you haven’t worn a watch in a few days. You’re totally right, that’s like going on vacation where you don’t care about time anymore. Do you find that you have more time during the day compared to when working?

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  5. Awesome, MrFireStation – just awesome. You’ll get your sleep back, even if it’s little by little. At the very least, you are probably sleeping better now that you don’t have any thoughts about work looming back there in the ol’ noodle. It’s all blissful dreams of things that you actually *want* to be doing. Imagine that!


  6. I left my job in August that was on-call during the night. Since I left that lifestyle, I lost 10 pounds because I was able to get more sleep & working a job with less stress. It’s amazing how more sleep and/or less stress can improve one’s quality of life literally overnight!

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    1. Wow – that’s a big change. I can’t imagine getting calls at all times of the day/night. I have a lot of respect for people that have to sleep with one ear open waiting for a phone call that may or may not come!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I stopped wearing a watch years ago since I always have my phone. I only wear it when getting dressed up or special occasions. I like the NBC bookends, I’m sure NBC likes it too. 9 hours of sleep a night. Man I can’t wait.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. We only have one son and he is 18 (Senior in HS), so sleep hasn’t been interrupted for many years. I’m happy to be rid of wearing a watch, although my wife bought be a nice Apple Watch last year and I feel bad not to use it.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Its. The. Best!!! What we’ve found is that we sort of just settle into natural rhythms. You never know how exhausted you really were until you AREN’T anymore! That said, I can get up early, stay up late, whatever…it just doesn’t really matter anymore! I’m happy to get up and take hubs to the airport at 4:30 am if need be…I can always catch a catnap later, if needed! I used to be a night owl who hated early mornings. Now I love the morning – who knew THAT could ever happen?!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I guess because nothing (very little, anyway) is URGENT – it’s easy to be yourself. My wife has pretty ‘strict’ biorhythms, but I don’t think I do.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Back in college I used to watch Conan O’Brien then stayed up till 3 am doing school work. Nowadays, I am dying by 11 pm. I can’t remember the last time the wife and I slept 9 hours straight :).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My wife has a bit of a vitamin D deficiency, so she’s always managed to 9 hours a sleep. I guess my son & I picked it up along the way. We’ll see what happens when he leaves for college and we are free to do whatever feels right.


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