It is human nature to adapt.  It’s why we are the most successful species on the planet.  Well, that and opposable thumbs.  This penchant for adaptation has its downside, however.  No matter how exciting, thrilling or exhilarating something is today, tomorrow it will be just so-so.  Sex is, I think, the greatest example of all.  Sex is fantastic.  But doing it with the same person for 20 years gets old.  Next thing you know your having an affair or shopping at Adam and Eve to spice things up.  By the way, the latter is the preferred method, though unfortunately not the most popular.

Retirement is the same.  How many years do you spend in your cubicle, or whatever special work place prison your career favors, dreaming of the day you can retire and do whatever it is you want.  Then two years into retirement, you can’t remember why it seemed so great back then.  In fact, it’s kind of boring.  Well, there it is.  Adaptation.  Everything eventually becomes normal and boring.

Why do you think we are always talking about challenges.  We need challenges to keep things from becoming boring.  It’s why some people, in my opinion, seem to thrive on drama.  Drama is a never-ending supply of challenges.  Not necessarily good stuff, but challenging none the less.   My next post will be about how to remain challenged to stave of boredom, but this one is about appreciating what you have.

Today, I took my sons to Reno, Nevada for my youngest son’s birthday.  We played laser tag and we had a great time.  But on the way, I drove through several highway projects that I either managed or had knowledge of when I was working.  I hadn’t been to Reno for a while so it was nice to see the progress.  As you are probably aware, highway projects seem to go on forever.  But as I observed those projects, I remembered my time at work and I had one of those moments.

I was so grateful for my retirement.  I don’t think about work much anymore, but when I do I have these moments.  The commute, the people I had to deal with, my crappy boss, the office politics.  Ug!  If retirement was seeming old and tired and commonplace, it ceased at that moment.  I sit here on Sunday night writing a blog post instead of climbing into bed dreading Monday morning.  Fabulous!

Just like with anything else, a little appreciation goes a long way.  Remembering why something is so dear to us once in a while, whether on purpose or by accident like today for me, is good.  Remembering why you love something in the first place kind of renews and refreshes that love.  I love retirement because I don’t have to go to work.  I love it because I am free to do whatever my heart desires.  Just because I decided to have kids 16 years ago doesn’t change that.

Even remembering that if I wanted I could walk outside, get in my truck and drive to a great fishing spot, Disneyland, Las Vegas, or any number of places because I am retired makes me happy.  I’m not going to.  It’s nearly 10 pm and I have kids that need food and stuff, but I could.  I couldn’t do that before.  I couldn’t see all of my two son’s games.  I couldn’t sit and eat lunch with my wife.  I couldn’t take a walk with her, or listen to my favorite radio talk show every morning while I sip coffee or sit on the porch in the afternoon and smoke a cigar while I listen to Led Zeppelin or Pink Floyd.  I would have missed so much over the last year and half.  Not all good, but all better because I was retired.

So what about your retirement do you love and appreciate?  Do you remember?  Well, try to remember.  I’ll be honest, I teared up writing that last paragraph.  It’s good to remember what’s important and why from time to time.  It turns the clock on that adaptation response back a little.  It helps us find our passion again.  Works for spouses too and just about anything else.

Fortunately, there is a way to avoid the adaptation all together.  That’s my next post, but you don’t get to read that until April.  I’m off to Jamaica in a few days and won’t be back until April 2nd.  Were taking our time this year.  We can because I’m retired.  I don’t have to worry about projects and leave time.  One more reason I appreciate retirement.   So, If you’re bored or things feel a little stale, try remembering why you love and appreciate your retirement and see if it doesn’t freshen things up a little.