Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:
I expect to retire in January. I’ve seen friends do it badly, by having
enough money but not enough interests or ideas of what to do with all
their suddenly free time. I’m not rich but I’d rather the happier than
wealthier. I have many hobbies, from sitting with a good book to
playing piano, making art, and involvement in the synagogue. My
bored friends keep saying “When you’re retired we can walk once a
week, “or “When you’re retired we can take a trip together, or “When
you’re retired we can spend more time together.” The truth is I have
been slowly weaning myself from these people exactly because they
don’t share my interests. I like having known them for 20-30 years but
the last thing–-other than continuing to work– that I want to do is to
spend more time with them. All they talk about is where to eat, where
to shop, or where to vacation. I want freedom, not a new schedule or
more blather. I’d rather be a recluse than be bored or trapped.

Dear Ready:
You’ve convinced me you’re ready to enjoy less work and more play.
Your answer to the un-busy friends is very simple: I’m retiring so I can
have more time for my hobbies The last thing I want to do is to load
up my schedule so that it’s preplanned. If anything, I want to be more
spontaneous, not more tied down. Be clear and consistent with your
answers to anyone who asks. If you get pushback, say it again, using
the same words and phrasing, until they realize that’s the only answer
you’re gong to give. They’ll grumble to one another, but you’ll make
your point.
As for enhancing your retirement, I’d suggest taking classes, going to
workshops about things you care about, free lectures at the local
library or community center, perhaps doing more at the synaoogue, or
anything else that puts you in a place where you’re likely to meet like-
minded people who share your interests. While you’re there, be on the
lookout for people of your age and temperment that you might want to
befriend. Don’ rush. Be an observer for a while. Then start with a
cuppa something and see if there’s more to explore. You have the
right to be choosy about how you spend your time. You’ve earned it.