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3 Things That Are Too Much To Ask Of A Newly Retired Boomer Woman

By Marcia Smalley April 24, 2023 Lifestyle

I’m a Boomer woman who took The Retirement Leap, leaving a career behind to embrace life after work. I’ve talked with many Boomer women who are doing the same.

We know how lucky we are; not everyone is in a position to exit full-time work. And we’re calling “retirement” by different names these days as we define it for ourselves. We’re not going the way our parents did during this stage of life.

But some things don’t change, including the questions that newly retired women often hear. These three in particular can be too much to ask.

What Do You Do All Day?

The Social Self wants to answer appropriately. Explain that we’ve started writing that novel or solving the world’s problems. Or that we’ve turned the wall we tore down in the living room into a dining room table. Meaningful activities. 

The True Self realizes that, being newly retired, we don’t always know what we do all day. We know time passes. We know we make lists of things we want to accomplish.

But the newly retired are forging a new relationship with Time. We may go for hours (or days) without looking at a clock. We sleep when we’re tired, eat when we’re hungry, exercise when the spirit moves us… much like the family dog.

We’re reconsidering what it means to “accomplish” something. Whether accomplishing something is something to aspire to.

Simply put, most days we do what we choose. Hopefully to our betterment. Often while in our pajamas. And it feels great!

We’re able to tell you that. But give you a lot of details? Not so much.

Since You Have All This Free Time, Would You Please…?

Well-meaning friends, loving family members, or well-intentioned former colleagues can be eager to help us plan our days. We might be asked to volunteer, join a Board of Directors, babysit, run errands, care for a pet. Take on a new job. Sign on to a new project.

In fairness, people come from a good place. They may really need us. Or they may worry we’re bored. They could be right. But this early into retirement, we may not be ready to jump into the next thing. We’re still letting go of the last thing.

And we may very well choose to do any number of things we’re asked to consider. But we’d like that to be our idea, when we’re ready, in our own time. 

So, thank you for the suggestions. We’ll get back to you.

What’s Next for You?

Newly retired Boomers are on a honeymoon with their lifestyle. Relishing in freedom from structure, alarm clocks, and the confines of jobs we were devoted to for a long time. This honeymoon can last weeks, months, or longer.

There’s a lot we know in this phase of retirement and a lot we don’t know.

We know we have our health, but we’re never guaranteed how long that will last. We’ve tried to plan for financial peace of mind, and we hope we’ve done enough. Otherwise the possibilities stretch before us. A buffet of options… some worth sampling, others worth gobbling, many not worth tasting. 

A newly retired Boomer woman’s what’s next might be the Top 10 Dreams she’s hoping retirement will hold. Things she’s waited until now to do, places she’s waited until now to visit, activities she had to put on hold at various stages in her life.

Some of us mapped out our retired life beyond that. We’re sinking our teeth into something new.

Most of us figure out “the big picture” as we go. Our futures look a little fuzzy. That happens on a honeymoon when you’re in the moment and taking life as it comes.

So telling you what’s next is tricky. When we know, you’ll know.

Newly retired Boomer women do know we’re fortunate to be in the position to have chosen a retired life. As we grow into it, we get more comfortable with questions. More sure about our answers.

In the meantime, forgive us if we can’t respond to a few seemingly simple inquiries. We know that not knowing is part of the journey. And part of the fun.

Let’s Have a Conversation:

Have you been asked some difficult questions since retiring? Are any of them too much to ask? What questions do you hear on repeat? How do you respond? Please join the conversation!

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I’ve been retired for 8 years and couldn’t be happier. I also don’t know how I got everything done when I worked full time. I love the freedom of retirement and frankly I don’t care what anybody thinks. Those that haven’t retired just don’t understand.


When asked what do you do with your time?
I reply too much l dont know how l fitted fulltime employment in !
That shuts them up.
I dont feel the need to justify myself.

Deb S

My neighbor came by to tell me after 45 years at the same job, he had just retired. I don’t think I have ever seen him so relaxed and happy. Having retired this year as well, I understood his joy! I am no longer clock or calendar driven. I am redefining what it means to “get stuff done”. It is so refreshing to ditch the laundry to read a book or skip a meeting to stay home and play with my dog in the spring sunshine. Anyone asks what I am up to….I’m retired!

Marcia Smalley

Absolutely, Deb! Love that you’re “redefining” things for yourself. Thanks for reading.


This article came at the perfect time! The question I’ve heard multiple times is,” So, what are you doing now?” [ emphasis on the NOW].
The inference being I couldn’t possibly know how to meaningfully fill my days unless I am working. Oh My☺️
I’ve been retired for almost two years. It’s only now that I’m ready to enthusiastically attack my bucket list.

Marcia Smalley

Thanks for reading, Jean. Cheers to getting to that bucket list! Wishing you well.


I’m also retired almost 2 years & loving it! I am caretaker for my 89 yr old mom & so grateful to be able to be there for her. We moved in together 4 yrs ago & it’s been great. I take a little trip once a year & my brother comes to stay from NC. If asked what I’m doing, nothing I don’t want to is my response!


Thank you for your article. I am retiring the end of this November after working 51 years. Your article is spot on. I get these questions from my Mother, friends and even strangers I just met. I was worrying about not having all the answers and now I feel better. I am not alone. I do know I am looking forward to retirement with an open mind and excitement.

Marcia Smalley

You’re definitely not alone. Congratulations on stepping into this next phase of life! Thanks for reading.

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The Author

Marcia Smalley is a certified retirement coach and life coach, a writer and a teacher. She delights in helping mid-life women step confidently into their next act and design a joyous, expanded life. Marcia provides coaching support to women who are navigating retirement or other life transitions and writes a monthly e-newsletter to her entire online community. Please visit her website at

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