The life of a retiree | Beaufort County Now

Or is it "The Life of Riley?" The Life of Riley
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The life of a retiree

    Kathy Manos Penn is a native of the “Big Apple,” who settled in the “Peach City” – Atlanta. A former English teacher now happily retired from a corporate career in communications, she writes a weekly column for the Dunwoody Crier and the Highlands Newspaper. Read her blogs and columns and purchase her books, “The Ink Penn: Celebrating the Magic in the Everyday” and “Lord Banjo the Royal Pooch,” on her website theinkpenn.com or Amazon.

Kathy Manos Penn with Lord Banjo
    Or is it "The Life of Riley?" I have vague memories of that show from my childhood. The one scene that pops to mind is that of the dad lying in a hammock. The difference between Riley and me is that he still worked. Me? I'm happily retired.

    "I don't know how I ever had time to work." I say that all the time, and I also hear it from my retired friends. And so, I decided to write about my life as a retiree. Fortunately, my brain still works-perhaps not quite as efficiently as it once did-and I thought, "Didn't I once write a similar column?"

    I located "Are you busy or bored?" the 2016 column I wrote. A quick review shows much has remained the same with only one major change. But boy, that change means I'm busier than ever.

    I'm still working out several times a week, and what I love about working out as a retiree is I no longer have to get up early to do it. These days, you can find me at the gym around lunchtime.

    Except for the one morning a week I try to walk with a friend, I hang out in my robe until 9 or so drinking coffee and catching up on the news via the Wall Street Journal and the AJC. Only after I've done that do I turn my attention to Words with Friends. Picture me relaxing in my red fleece robe, perhaps a throw tucked around my legs, my tablet in my hand, and a cup of coffee nearby. When the weather warms up, that scenario shifts to the screened porch. Can you hear my sigh of contentment?

    Beyond my morning routine, my days are filled with lunch or coffee with girlfriends and visits to the library to pick up books. And, did I mention naps? I love naps and try to get one in several days a week.

    I cook most nights, and my husband and I eat out once or twice a week. After dinner, we watch a few shows we've taped before turning in. It's then that I read all those books I've gotten at the library. Feeling free to read as late as I want is a real treat.

    I continue to write columns for the Crier and the Highlands Newspaper and Beaufort County NOW as part of my routine, and in 2017 and 2018, I published a collection of my columns and a humorous book written by the dog. Those efforts were daunting and a ton of fun.

    The big change? In the last six months, I've written two cozy animal mysteries scheduled to come out this quarter! Never in my wildest dreams did I see myself doing that. Most authors would agree that writing a book takes a commitment to producing at least 1,000 words a day. If you consider that my columns average 550-600 words, you'll have an idea of what that goal entails.

    The good news? I'm enjoying every minute of my life, other than those occasional bouts of writer's block. I already have ideas for a Christmas mystery, and since my books are set in the Cotswolds, I see another trip in my future. What's not to like? What's the answer to the retiree question "Am I busy or bored?" Color me busy!

    Find Kathy's new book "Lord Banjo the Royal Pooch" and her collection of columns, "The Ink Penn: Celebrating the Magic in the Everyday," on Amazon and her website inkpenn119@gmail.com.

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