It was a beautiful summer day after an amazing summer dream. I lay there thinking, and finally, I woke up at 7:30 and realized that I did not have to get up: It was the first day of my retirement.

I went back to sleep.

When I felt like it, I arose. 

I was retired: I now can do just what I please when I please. No more 9-to-5 — what a relief. I felt like dancing on the rooftop and calling out, “I’m free!”

Now I catch up on daydreams I have nurtured for years and drive people mad talking about them. 

I have a shelf where I have stored books that have not been read and have been saving them until I retire.

Maybe, just maybe, I will become fluent in Spanish or master the fine points of a computer. 

I can go swimming with the swimming set at Park Shore — what a treat! I used to swim two or three times a week. 

And, of course, there I am, standing at my window and just watching the world: birds of all sizes, children swimming and huge boats with their cranes doing I’m-not-sure-what.

All the things that I can do now because I am retired — from walks and talks with a friend to a trip to Alaska and to sleeping all day, if that’s what I want to do.


Still having fun

So often, “retirement” translates to “old” and “done for,” like the old rocking chair relegated to the garage while a new one is brought into the house. I am convinced that it is our duty as older people to prove to the skeptics that they are wrong about us. 

So I decided to give up driving. There is a Metro bus or Access bus waiting to take you and me anywhere, almost any time. 

My eyes had proved allergic to nighttime, so how nice it is to have a pleasant cab driver drop me off to meet a friend at Benaroya Hall for an evening event.

With large-print books and adaptive computer programs for those whose eyes need a little support, most anyone can keep up on the latest best sellers and world events.

Even as our vision fails and reflexes slow, there is so much institutional knowledge to share with those who will follow in our footsteps.

We are an important segment of society, and television has recognized this and is wooing us madly. Think about sitcoms and game shows: They apparently love to have older people there. It seems to me, television, at last, has realized that we are here.


Options galore

Which bring me back to where I began: How to do all the things we want to do in the years ahead?

Instead of planning to hike the Pacific Crest Trail, how about a nice stroll to Foster Island?

Rather than worrying about traffic, the price of gas, car insurance and parking, why not let Metro do the driving?

Those years may not be the golden years, but they still can be exciting. To do what we want to do when we want to do it is as exciting as it gets — I will drink to that!

ROBERTA COLE, a Madison Park resident, writes about seniors’ issues.