What I Miss About Downtown


Brightly lit downtown night scene


Recently, I was thinking about times during my past career when I worked downtown. I recalled the action and the city’s many summer events held for tourists, and I felt like I was missing something one year in to my retirement. This gave me pause to reflect on just what might have been the cause of this feeling.

  • The hustle and bustle? I lived downtown as a young professional and that was fun; however, I migrated to the suburbs as many do when seeking to establish roots and raise a family. I worked downtown because the vast majority of my clients were collocated in the downtown core. The crazy pace can become a bit much 24/7.

  • The challenges and rewards of my profession / career? I don’t miss my job. I worked hard / smart in my career in order to reap the rewards of an early retirement. And here I am. I now have more time to undertake other challenges and pursuits that I find even more gratifying.

  • The interaction with colleagues and clients? I still connect with old colleagues, albeit not on a daily basis. I have friends that I connect with as well. Plus there are many new people who I meet (e.g. shopping, gym, travelling, out & about).

  • The routine? “Routine” is entirely within my control... should I wish it, my life can be as routine or chaotic now as it was when commuting to/from an office for meetings and corporate work.

  • Do I have too much free time in retirement (am I bored)? Me? You gotta be kidding! I’m quite active: I workout at the gym (with music), I run the trails (with music), I maintain the lawns & gardens (with music), I clean the house (with music), I do our shopping (sans musique), and I have other projects including this blog. It’s noteworthy that I do the majority of these things alone since Michelle continues professional commitments for now. Oh, and with the recent sunsetting of my band, I now play guitar and sing alone (with a backing musical soundtrack).

Okay, so apart from the fact that I obviously like music, what if anything does this tell me about a feeling of missing downtown?

Well after reflection I believe a large part of it is that certain “festival appeal” of downtown... the colours, sounds, smells, and stimulation that the never-ending variety presents. For me personally, a nice place to visit but I wouldn’t want to live there. It reinforces for me the importance of stimulation and variety.

And that makes sense because in retirement it’s important to be active, have fun, explore new things, and connect with others. Find what excites you and go after it!

For my part, I’m going to arrange a date with Michelle to head downtown and take in the show.

Have you experienced any feelings of loss in your transition into retirement? If so, please share in the comments below; we’d love to hear from you.