Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Are there stages to retirement?

Tomorrow is the 1st of July and tonight we gain an extra second to the clock. Think I will consider it an early birthday present... 1 more second to live! Of course it's not only being given to me, but to everyone... so it's a gift for all. Nice thought...

Retirement for me started in August, 2011. So I've had 4 years to enjoy my leisure. But it's probably taken 4 years to get to the point that I am at now. And what is that, you say? Well, I think retirement comes in stages. And I imagine the stages are different for each of us, but for me... 

First there was elation... oh god, I don't have to get up early every morning and rush off to work! This stage probably lasts a few months while your biological clock is being reset - as you still wake up at that early hour even without the alarm. 

Then the next stage is perhaps over compensation - a period of trying to do all the things you never had time to do when you were working... only to realize that even though you now have the time, you still don't have the money... (or not for everything anyway). It's during this time that you realize that you still don't have enough time in the day to do it all... and you wonder how in the h--- did you ever find time to work?

Then there's the 3rd stage - a slightly subconscious panic that suddenly you're redundant - unnecessary, no longer needed... ahead is an endless stretch of days with no accomplishments. So you start setting goals, lists of things that need doing and once accomplished help diminish this feeling. But it's a conscious effort... and it works! 

I think that I'm now in the 4th stage: Comfortable - as lately I've found that it's quite nice to be home with DH with enough time in the week to do what-ever - or not! Lately I even find comfort in taking my time to wash the dishes while watching the feral cats and kittens play in the yard through the kitchen window. If DH and I want to take a walk, we do. If we want to take a nap, we do. Suddenly Time is not the enemy, but the lovely gift I'd always hoped it would be. The fact that we can't travel around the world is not a problem... we'd probably be too tired to do it anyway. We can still travel to see family - and lucky for us we have lots of family right here, kids and grandkids that we adore. Everyone doesn't have this. So we are very grateful. 

This weekend is the 4th of July and also the week I become 70 years old. DH hits this milestone this month too... a few days after me... just enough to tease me that I'm older... which I am (by 9 days). But that's OK because whatever stage this is, I'm suddenly very comfortable with it.  

If you have reached retirement and find any of these things true for you, I'd love to hear how its affected you. Life is short. Let's share the journey...