The art of Relaxation or how to put off until tomorrow

I’ve been traveling only two weeks plus days and this is really the first time I have ever traveled without a real destination in sight. Its kind of a weird sensation. I still fight the urge to get to a place or rush through a thing and I have to pull myself back and give myself a good talking to. Something like this,

Hey! Its okay to read your Kindle for 2 hours by the Lake here in Hanoi with a cold beer. You have no place to be and all day to get there. You can walk slower and see more. Turn left instead of right. No one really cares.

I think the retirement thing when it finally came was something so different that I still sit in my room in Hanoi and puzzle it. I can still hear the echoes of the people telling me that task or milestone X or Y may not get done and that may affect subsequent task 23 and milestone 50. Its hard to break out of that mindset but yet retirement has those things.

I sat the by the lake today right next to the old town here in Hanoi and watched the people propelling themselves to here and there. I felt their desire to see what the things were or to hop a cab or a tour bus and cram in all they could in a set of days and nights. I watched older folks like me move at a slower beat. I talked with a few younger backpackers who measure success by countries visited and visas stamped. I get that People do not have the luxury of time to kick things back a notch and get lost in Tokyo or find their way after taking a puzzling series of left and right turns in Hanoi.

I reached retirement in a circular direction after having wanted so desperately to leave the San Francisco Bay area for almost 10 years. It seems from about 2009 when I knew a divorce would come to finally moving out to a room in 2014, the thought was that I would move slowly through Asia at a pace up to me. It took until 2018 when i filed for retirement and also saved an amount of money that made me feel comfortable that I knew the time had come.

So with that said, I’ve learned some things about retirement after years of doing Information Technology and Program Management.

  1. Nothing prepares or tells you about the sudden lack of things you have to do. Its like a balloon and someone starts letting the air out and you know there is more room in the balloon but there is nothing taking the escaping air’s place.
  2. You know you are supposed to then “slow down” and only do what you want to do. But what are those things you want to do? And more importantly can you afford to do them with time, energy, money and desire.
  3. I desired to get rid of almost all personal possessions and get down to a single travel backpack that could be carried on flights. My reasoning for this is that all the things are “baggage” and you end up with the so many Kg of bags but you have the other metaphysical baggage too. You can get down to the weight restrictions of carry-on bags but the metaphysical and psychological and mental baggage weighs you down.
  4. Tomorrow does not exist in retirement. There is nothing to do that needs to be done today or tomorrow. The things that are left matter.

Now I’ve left the states and I have no car, no bills, no debt, no room. No things. The absence of things besides a small rubbermaid container that my wife is holding with papers and cards and memories means that life stretches out with no limitations. I have no room waiting for me or car needing attention or matters of importance to attend to. Cars and kids and things have gone their way. I could never see how they would get done or how things would end up for my children. I won’t dwell on each because even in retirement where nothing gets done, things still have orbits. There’s a bigger life out there.

I’ve just kinda checked out of the project management and life tasks which held me down, kept me focused on the tasks and deliverables. On vendors that needed to have a gentle tug every so often.

No I cannot see those days coming back. I still catch myself missing them and i have a stern talk with myself. Lets just say I earned this and move on.

Author: Michael Perry

I've been blogging for over 20 years and now am living in Southeast Asia. The blog is about my slow vagabonding wherever I want to go. My home base is in Cambodia but I'm rarely there.