Two turquoise chairs topped with a blue-green-yellow-white pillow each snuggle with two round plexiglass tables, sharing a 6 by 8 space with two plants, a small metal shelf unit, a stone owl and me. The tables are topped with round yellow place mats; one is covered by my lunch and the other with a book.

The steady hum of the neighborhood is punctuated by the occasional passing car, chirping bird, buzzing lawn mower and almost-synchronized footsteps of the property manager and three prospective tenants getting a tour.

It's early afternoon in early June and I'm on vacation. I travelled early in the week but now I'm home, soaking in an unscheduled Thursday on my patio, wondering if this is what retirement is like.

It's peaceful yet busy today. A FedEx truck pauses as a Waste Management truck turns the corner on the way to the next dumpster. The early-morning sidewalk repair crew packs up for the day; same thing for the landscapers. Two neighbors, a stay-at-home mom and her out-of-school-for-the-summer daughter cross the street on the way to the pool, greeting another neighbor who is walking his dog.

This could be part of my afternoon pattern several days a week if I was retired. I've only just begun to regularly visualize retirement. The R-word conversation has accelerated from once in a while to once a day.

I don't plan to ever completely stop working, but the target of cutting back several years from now seems to be in sharper view; and turquoise might be my new favorite color.