Tuesday, August 9, 2011

What Does a Retired Expat Do All Day?

When I was making plans to retire and move to Penang many of my friends and family asked me what I planned on doing all day and warned me about extreme boredom. I told everyone that I would go to the gym, go swimming and find other activities to keep me occupied. To be perfectly honest I was a bit worried at first about how I was going to spend my time. A month after I moved here Kevin had to go to Switzerland for a month for work. This was the time when I thought I would get very bored, since I didn't know anyone and this was before our apartment was painted and decorated with pictures and plants. I did get to know some people and I explored the neighborhood, which made the month go by quickly. I didn't go to the gym, but I ate a lot.

    The first year I was here I went to the swimming pool quite a bit, but I soon discovered that I was the only one there. The entire condo complex was like a ghost town during the day and actually is it was worse at night. Unlike condos at home with pools and gym, where the residents interact with each other, the people here are quite reclusive and mainly distrustful. Whenever I went to the gym I was the only one there and since there was not A/C in the gym I really didn't like it. Kevin didn't like the gym in the complex either. I decided that it would be best to join Fitness First gym across the street from where we live. This turned out to be a good decision, as the gym had way better and more equipment and there were always people there.

    Since joining the gym I find myself going there about 5 or 6 days a week. I have gotten to know many people there and the gym has become not only a place to exercise, but socialize too.  After the gym I usually go to lunch in the nearby food court, either by myself or with a friend. In the past 6 months or so I have developed a new hobby. Blogging. At first I just thought I would write once and a while, but since I liked it so much I expanded my interests and now write two blogs here on Blogger and I also write on Medium.  I can spend anywhere from 2 to 4 hours a day either writing my blogs or promoting them. I could probably stay up all night with my blogs if I didn't have to get up and go to the gym in the morning.

    Besides my interest in blogging I also have pets that demand my attention. Kevin and I have 2 fish tanks, one for each of us. He takes care of his, which includes cichlids and I take care of mine, which includes a variety of tropical fish. I have to spend a lot of time and attention on our cat Nero. During the day he is constantly following me around for attention. Then mysteriously later in the day he disappears to hide someplace and doesn't want to be bothered. Our other pet Chi Chi, our prairie dog, always barks to be picked up and held on my lap. I let him run around the apartment, but he prefers to just sit on my lap. Taking care of them and playing with them occupies some time every day, but it is more fun than work.

    Finally, beside the gym, the blogs and the animals are the normal chores like doing the laundry, grocery shopping and running other errands which take up a bit of time during the week. I also forgot to mention that I serve as secretary of our Management Committee here in the condo.

    So three years after moving here I am no longer worried about boredom. On the contrary I worry about time going by too quickly and not having enough time during the day to do everything I want to do or have to do. It's a different lifestyle than having a job to go to every day, but I think it is more enjoyable. I just wish that as we got older time didn't pass so quickly.

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