When I first retired it was a difficult transition. After a lifetime of working full time it felt like being in a car when someone slams on the brake. Everything seemed to come to a complete halt. It was the middle of winter and overnight I suddenly had no where to go and nothing to do. To make it more challenging I had all day to experience this. However, that was then and this is now.
As I begin my fourth year of retirement I couldn’t be happier. I still have no where to go and not much to do but my attitude about this is significantly different. Happiness in retirement is based on more than just not having to get up everyday at the crack of dawn, fight the morning commute, and deal with workday challenges. To be honest there are aspects of working that I miss. I miss the social interactions I used to have with co-workers and friends. Many of my former co-workers were like family to me. Some of them were long time employees like me and we began our careers together. I miss the laughing and joking around and the many shared meals we had, especially on Fridays when the work week was ending and we were all ready for the weekend. To be fair, I do not miss the work challenges like difficult people, technical problems, challenging leadership, and occasional boredom.
I know that being able to live a retired life is a gift that not everyone attains. My long time employment with a significant company gave me the ability to prepare for retirement and to be able to live comfortably. Trust me when I say that I am grateful every day. Many times throughout my day I silently utter the works “Thank You” to God and the universe for giving me this gift.
So far approximately 33% of my retirement has been spent in isolation due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Even if I was motivated to seek a more active retirement, the pandemic would have prevented it. The life I have sailed through in the last year is basically the kind of life I always wanted to live. All I have ever wanted is a simple and quiet life. I don’t need to do it all or have it all. Last week I watched the first installment of “The Hobbit” trilogy with my granddaughter. I am basically Bilbo Baggins. Leave me alone in my Hobbit house in the Shire with my music, books, solitude, and unlimited supply of good coffee and beer and I am content as anyone could be. Yes, I realize that some of you are thinking how boring that sounds. It isn’t to me. To be honest I was never an over achiever. Until I retired, however, I was always busy with the daily demands of living. Admittedly, life still makes demands but not nearly as much. Very early in my retirement a stranger at my doctor’s office gave me some good advice. He said, “Don’t fill up your time. It will fill up for you”. Even in retirement I sometimes feel busy. Occasionally I wonder if people think I am always “on call” just because I am retired.
Cheers for the simple life!
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