Friday, April 2, 2010

First Year of Early, Early Retirement


Happy anniversary. First year of retirement.
I hadn't planned it this way, but here it is.

After getting all my "stuff" out of the building and signing all the forms, I was on my own.

Do I get another job?

I dusted off my resume and signed up to Linkedin, loaded my information on Monster and contacted the Unemployment Office - all online.

Health insurance was a concern so I signed up for Cobra.

And the first month was a soul searching. I would read job descriptions and say, "I can do that."

but do I want to?

Work came directly after school. This is the flow of life that was suppose to happen. Remember, I grew up in the 50's and that was how it was suppose to be. School, job, marriage, kids, then much later retirement.

But retirement was so far away, I did not plan for it. Saved some money in the 401K, but what was I going to do? What do you do when you are not working?

The perfect opportunity did not show up and as Spring blossomed, my interest in going back to an office with emails, memos, and meetings waned.

My rationalization was the house was paid for, there was enough money to keep us comfortable, and I had done that for 38 years.

A schedule was set, for the sanity of the household, similar to my former work schedule. Off in the morning for a ride, then Mansland. Home in the evening for dinner and back to Mansland. This schedule did nothing to interfere with the normal routines of the day.

So spring cleaning of old work files started. Notebooks full of letters, memos, emails...all dated and categorized. What was I needing these for?

Then summer came and life changed.

Through the heat I had enough physical work to do to relieve anger, frustration, and probably depression.

As fall came, I stepped back to realize what a challenge I had uncovered.

By now the routine keep going but the days were getting shorter and the nights colder. Then the indoor rainy season.

Repairs I thought would be easy were much more expensive and took much longer to complete. This was also a retirement realization.

I was in no hurry.

Retirement is suppose to be cruise trips, shuffleboard in Florida, golf at the club, dinner parties at night, bingo and bridge while sharing photos of the grandchildren?

What about the mundane? Washing clothes? Making the bed? Washing the dishes? These little times of life that were squeezed between work and children. These small chores which make up the majority of the day when work and kids are gone.

After a long cold (did I say cold) winter, spring is here again.

It's been my first year without working in about 40 years. I didn't plan it to be like this, but you make do with what life throws at you.


5 comments:

Jackie-VA said...

Hi! The title caught my attention, not because I'm on your situation, but I spent sometime without working "everyday". I took a year off from work, and that extended to 6 years, five of them lived in Europe. I discover how great life can be not tied to a job, without having to be someplace at a certain time. Of course, the situation is different from yours, but think of all the books you can read, of all the classes you can take to learn something new. Life is as interesting as you want and as you make it, and if you look at it, you don't need too much money to enjoy every day.

Rus Wornom said...

Bruce and I had lunch today, and that was the first thing out of his mouth: one year ago this morning...

Maybe it's time for a get-together...

cj said...

All day on April 2 I was remembering one year ago. The first day of freedom from an opressive workplace, and the first day of my journey of self exploration to decide on a new direction. My, what a year this has been!

If there's a get-together, count me in!

TripleG said...

Retirement day is the first day of the best of your life.

Tim said...

Hey Cliff -- just saw this and wanted to say "Hi." Hope you're doing well.

Tim Vaughan