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Retirement Musings - Destination Unspecified

“Ground control to Major Tom, ignition on, commencing countdown and may God’s love be with you.  This is Major Tom to ground control.  I’m stepping through the door and I’m floating in the most peculiar way.”

                Ah yes, I have retired and it feels like a free fall, an unrestrained motion into the abyss.  Peculiar feeling.  Merriam Webster defines peculiar as “different from the usual or normal.” Well that’s an understatement.  There is nothing “usual or normal” about this.  This is like my navigation system that just hit the area that has not yet been mapped and screams at me in big green letters on my dashboard stating “unknown road.”

 My work life was a perfectly choreographed manuscript.  My I-Phone and Outlook were a synchronized set of identical twins.  Before that, there was my aptly dubbed Crackberry with reminders set when and where I had to be on what day, before that there was my day timer, before my day timer, there was a desk calendar, and before that well there was a Big Chief tablet (yes seriously).  I knew pretty much what I would be doing every day of my work life.  If I wasn’t finding it for myself, technology was telling me where I had to be and what time I had to be there.  Then I retired.  Disconnected from my e-mail, my contacts, my calendar.  Free, unburdened, peculiar.

                What am I going to do now?   My response to that question has been jaded, cynical, sarcastic even with a bit of sass mixed in.  Quite possibly one might think a little defensive of my new “every day is a holiday” status.  Why do I think I HAVE to do anything? Every gray hair on my head, every crinkle around my eyes, every furrow on my forehead, all earned my friends.  They are my badges.

What am I going to do now?  I am going to live in the very moment I am breathing in as “the past is never there when you try to go back.  It exists, but only in memory.  To pretend otherwise is to invite a mess.” – Chris Cobbs

Warm regards,
Sherry
Periodic Contributor

Retirement is wonderful... I'm so busy I don't know how I ever had time to work... participating in more activities at my church... helping with youth group suppers... spending more time with my boyfriend... riding my Harley... yes, my Harley!!  Going places with my grandkids... planning a trip to Iceland next spring... reading to my heart's content... visiting old friends... taking lots of day trips... life is good!  🙂

Bronze Conversationalist

@d498982c: I like your positive attitude and I hope that many others "get the idea" after reading what you wrote! P.S. My bike was a Suzuki. I rode for over 35 years - loved it!
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Periodic Contributor

So get another bike and keep riding!!!  I had two dirt bikes way back in the '70's, and hadn't ridden in thirty-some-odd years, but took a rider safety training course a few years ago to refresh my memory, then started with a Sportster, and a year later, graduated to a Fatboy... it absolutely blew the minds of my co-workers that an old lady showed up at work on a Harley!  🙂  My body may be old, but my mind isn't, and I refuse to grow old gracefully!!!  Thanks for the reply, and it's nice to know there are others who think as I do... just cuz we get old doesn't mean we have to ACT old... you know that old saying... age is mind over matter... if you don't mind, it doesn't matter... 🙂

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Contributor

I found myself very depressed agter I sold my business I had built over 40 years in my small town.  I didn't know who exactly I was since I had been that business for so long, AND I missed the hell out of my customers who were like family for me.  I didn't realize I had built the small business into something resembling an institution where families and children came to talk about what was going on in town as in who died, who got married, and almost anything else, as well as shop for things.  We had very good employees who were empowered to fix a customers legitamat problems even if I lost money.  We had popcorn for the customers and their children, and dog bisquits for their dogs.  Lots of people stoped just to share a new joke they had.  Remember, new customers are expensive to get to come in the first time, so I thought investing a few dolars in the current customers was a better route.

I also did a few community projects, like scholarships with the Elks for college bound kids, and Santa Clause for the food basket Christmas project, and more.

The new owners don't do any of this.  Their employees don't know much, and aren't particularly well paid, so they don't exibit mush of an attitude to sell nor are they allowed to solve problems, as this might affect the bottom line.

I also found that I did much better when I was scheduled, and it kept me off the couch and out of bed.  So what I have done is schedule myself for about 40 hours of work a week in my community.  City council, fly fishing club, Kiwanis, task force leading, breathing new life into necessary committees that the community needs, Salvation Army projects, looking for future projects to benifit my city, and a bunch more.  I have always believed I have to make a difference before I die.

SO, now that your retired, get out and make a difference in your area.  There are a lot of ways to help.

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Honored Social Butterfly

Wow  what a variety in the many posts here.  I have really enjoyed everyone's stpry and their point of view!!  

 

 

Life's a Journey, not a Destination" Aerosmith
Trusted Contributor

Retirement has been a wonderful & relaxing experience. Initially I used my career in medicine & as a chaplain to work with neglected/abused area boys providing care & counseling. I've always been active in my church & now I have more time to expand that. We have a successful and active community center & I volunteer there, recently accepting the position of coordinator of a new Docent/Hospitality program. My wife is actively involved in the community theater and I help there as a volunteer to be supportive of her. Here in South Central Mexico we have fabulous year-round climate so I enjoy an extensive outdoor lifestyle including walks for exercise and puttering in my yard & garden with that option of a continuous growing season. Retirement in Mexico has afforded me the opportunity to learn & immerse myself in new cultures & traditions and utilize my Spanish learned years ago in high school & university. You can think of retirement as being "old" & you'll act & feel "old" or see it as living to the fullest...here I say: "we don't get old, we just get better."

Contributor

I’m 65 years old, but was blessed to be able to retire from teaching 13 years ago. I’ve spent a lot of that time assisting my parents who are now 87 and 95 years old. But, that’s a blessing too since not many 65 year olds still have both parents living. Both are still mentally alert too! And for the last two years, I’ve been babysitting my 2 year old grandson 2-3 days most weeks. Oh what a joy he is!!! Believe it or not, I still have time to go on vacation for a week or two with my husband (who hasn’t retired) each year! In my spare time, I like to grow a vegetable garden and participate in activities at my church. Retired life is great!

Bronze Conversationalist

When I retired from my "real" job and my additional part time job at the same time, I took a stress-free part time job working in a gym where I got free use of the equipment.  In addition, I enrolled in a home study program with the intention of getting a bachelor's degree.  Two years later the gym closed down and I became a full time home study student.  Fast forward eight years from when I originally retired, and this month I received my PhD in botanical medicine.  What next?  Writing articles on natural health, and volunteering at the local library, but I get to choose the hours and what I want to do. 

Gold Conversationalist

I love retirement and the ability to do whatever I want to do!

Regular Contributor

Been retired for quite some time, but I was not ment to do nothing. First I hired some people to put a new roof on the house and then I painted the outside. Then I thought I would take it easier and so I wrote a book for my own edification.

Now that is done so I hired new countertops and a new sink put into the kitchen and then painted the cabinet doors scarlet. Also painted the hallway and livingroom a bright white and painted the inside doors a deep green.

Soon people will come and redo completely one of the bathrooms. This house was built in 1969 and I can't take the blue tile any longer. Gues you know I will be painting when they are finished.

I am only 73 so I am just not ready to sit down for the rest of my life. If you want to live a long life don't sit down and waste away. That is all that is up to me, the rest is up to the Lord. Of course He has also given me the ability to keep on going.

Retirement: nothing to do and only half of that gets done!

Periodic Contributor

Hello Baby Boomers,

I've been retired since 2009 and have loved every minute of it. Of course, there were tough times, but with prayer, I've been able to enjoy my retirement.

I was a corporate Travel Agent for over twenty-five years and dealt with many nationalities, personalities from all over the world. However, form me the people I had the most issues with were my co-workers. When you're dealing with micromanagement, office gossip, and backstabbers and you're only going to work to pay your bills, no longer can handle the people or stress before you snap. It's time to get away from those people.

Being a baby boomer allowed me to take early retirement with social security disability I took it, and have not been happier.

I'm truly sorry for the ones that are having a hard time and not enjoying your retirement. Hang in there, keep praying it will get better.

Regular Contributor

Retired about 7 years ago. I thought retirement would be wonderful and i would do all the things I didn't have time for when working.  I was looking forward to doing volunteer work -  which I do and enjoy it.  

Retirement has its ups and downs.  You have to keep busy and feel worthwhile.  I love my grandkids and help out when I can.  I still feel a need to make extra money for myself.  Yet, when I took a seasonal part time job in a department store, I found that I couldn't stand for more than 4 hours without my feet hurting.  It was very different from my sit down job.

 

I tried doing art.  Guess what?  I am not that good at it.  I do read alot.  I do crochet but not that good at it.  Guess if I look into new projects I will find something to fill the void.  Still I do thank God that I have been given this gift and now have to find a way to use it!

 

 

 

Periodic Contributor

It doesn't matter if you are 'good' at something. It's the enjoyment that's important.
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Periodic Contributor

I hope I am "mentally" prepared for Iceland to be different than it was when I left there 47 years ago... a lot of the good memories I have of Iceland are of the people I met when I was there (and am still friends with), and I know the places have changed as well... I read everything I can get my hands on about Iceland, in print and online, so I know from photos how things have changed somewhat... I also know that no matter how much it might have changed, the good memories I have of Iceland can never be erased or taken away from me... the people I knew and loved there are gone (some both literally AND figuratively), but my love for Iceland itself is still intact and I have to go just one more time.....

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Periodic Contributor

I'm sure you will have a good time in Iceland, especially since you have friends there. I've wanted to go there myself. Seeing the Northern Lights is on my bucket list.

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Periodic Contributor

I have to say that seeing the Northern Lights is one of the most awesome things I have ever experienced... since I'll be going in May, I'll probalby not get to see them again, but I still remember how extraordinary they are... a great show of God's majesty! 

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I enjoy being retired, although financially it can be worrisome.  However, even when I did work full-time I had to do a 'side-gig' or two to make ends meet, so here I am again doing just that to supplement my retirement:  I've become a product demonstrator, it's about five hours a day on the weekends, and not so bad.  I haven't done a lot of traveling or such (I actually did so much of that when I was working), that I don't feel that I'm missing out, I just enjoy being home and going to the movies occasionally.  I am always bookmarking events at museums, fairs, etc., that I want to see; but when the time rolls around it never seems to work out; I always just figure 'next year'; what an optimist, right?

L S

Trusted Contributor

i'll be retired 3 years in july. working getting a p/t job the last thing from my mind. one day at a time. love it. 

Regular Contributor

I was working for 25 years and thought I had my dream job on a division staff which I enjoyed. Then another of our divisions closed and the division manager from that location came to our division and brought my replacement with him. I found out when they started copying the other persons name on correspondence to me. I asked what was going on and was told to talk to the division manager. Then I found a memo sitting on the printer indicating what was happening. I ended up back in a field position but tried to make the best of it. One thing I enjoyed about the job was being able to be creative but then they took that away too. Now we were being told what to do, when to do it and how much time we had to do it in. Might as well be punching a time clock. After having enjoyed my job for 25 years I could not wait for the day I could retire and I got out at age 62. I have to say I transitioned to retirement very well. Now I sometimes enjoy doing nothing. However, six days a week I go out early in the morning, have coffee and read the newspaper. Many days I take my dog to the dog park to exercise her as well as myself. I go to the gym three days a week to exercise and I also started making wine again. I probably spend too much time on the computer making greeting cards, address labels and wine labels, on GasBuddy, Facebook, email, etc. Never, ever a regret of retiring early. That was fourteen years ago.

Regular Contributor

I love retirement.  In the almost eight years I have kept busy with volunteer work that I enjoy doing, travel, and seeing more of my grandkids.  We have since made a move to an over-55 community and I am also active in some of the things they have there.  I can do what I want, when I want and go anywhere I please on my schedule.  Sure there are some days that I am bored but it isn’t very often.  I have learned new things and love where I now live.  I miss my old friends from where we used to live two years ago but I am doing so much more now that gives me a sense of accomplishment and well-being.  Whoever said retirement is boring just buries themselves.  You have to take the initiative to get out there and do things.  No one is knocking on your door to force you to do anything.

Regular Contributor

Retirement is a wonderful position to be in if you are a very active person with a lot of interest and a large group of friends. Retirement can be the best thing to happen to you if your in that category.But not all people fall into that category and it can be lonely,boring and then depression will set in. Give retirement a lot of thought be for you do it. My husband and I retired 8 years ago some days are busy other days not so much.But remember life and retirement is what you want it to be.Enjoy,Enjoy, laugh and have fun.

Contributor

I was terrified of retirement after 40 years of 60- hour weeks,  but it's turned out to be the best time of my life - time to try things I never had time or energy to do when I was working,  time to find out what gives me joy and what I love. If new opportunities presen I try it, then keep doing it if I love it and don't do it again if I don't. 

 

The joyful things?  I took some photography classes and use that skill when I travel, which I do as much as possible; learned duplicate bridge and now teach children as well as play several times a week; volunteer at local theaters and animal shelters; exercise, and spend time with friends and family.  And I'm sure there's much more life to explore if I just have the time to do it.   

 

 

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Periodic Contributor

Upside: I enjoy being able to completely control my schedule.  Can more or less do what I want to do when I want to do it, engage in my hobbies, volunteer work, etc.  Friends often ask "what do you do with yourself all day?" I reply, "Well, I manage to fill each day."  

Downside:  Loss of social engagement found in the workplace.  Find myself thinking back on good times and fun while completely overlooking frustrations, stress, bad bosses.  I was fortunate to have had a rewarding career, so I do miss that there was always something exciting to look forward to--an event, travel to a cool place.  It also amazed me how quickly the parted waters of one's departure close over.  Your responsibilities are redistributed and it rapdily beomes a "who?" scenario if and when your name even comes up.  Another thing is how almost immediately perks like elite status with airlines, hotels, etc. fall by the wayside.  Very a much a "what have you done for us lately" situation.

All this aside, I enjoy retirement, liesurely morning coffee at the computer.  After all it's an eventuality for many of us unless you happen to own your own business or are a professional practioner.

Contributor

I was involuntarily retired. Didn't agree initially, but was definitely "burned out"..... After a few years, realized I needed to do something to keep the boredome at bay. Three years ago, started a part-time, somewhat physical job. The hours suit me, I get any/all time off that I request, and I don't NEED the pay (though it's always good to have an extra few $$), and the major benefit - that I didn't initally realize - is that it has been a boon to my health! I am a stocker at a hardware-type employer that gives me a realistic workout for 4hours per day - lifting, squatting, climbing (ladders), etc. So, I get a good workout daily in exchange for 4 hours each/most mornings (I've never been turned down for a day off request in 3yrs), a discount when I buy things from my store (which I've done for YEARS prior to working there), and a few extra bucks in my pocket. And I'm still able to take time off to spend with my wife. All-in-all, I'd have to say that I am injoying retirement more than I ever imagined that I could. Just DO SOMETHING to keep your head, heart  and body in the game..

Periodic Contributor

Has anyone ever considered becoming an expatriot? I've been thinking about this for many years. I don't have any family, but I imagine those that do wouldn't consider becoming an expat.

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Periodic Contributor

My dreamer is MUCH bigger than my income, as I have dreamed for half a century of being able to live in Iceland... I did live there for three years as a teenager, when my father was stationed there in the military, and it is the most awesome place on the face of the earth... I'm retired now, and if finances allowed, I would spend several months every year living in Iceland... however, it is a very expensive country to spend time in... I am financially unable to fulfill my daydream, but... I am planning to go to Iceland for a week next spring... I've been saving for a very long time for that, and I want to go while my health is still good, because someday it may not be... even if I were wealthy I would not move there permanently due to the fact that I have children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren here, but I think that if you have no family to leave behind, and have the financial resources to do so, that you should persue your dream of living abroad... maybe take a visit to your destination of choice and spend a few weeks there before selling your home here and moving lock, stock, and barrel... the internet affords you all the resources in the world to do your research before taking the plunge, and you only live once!

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Periodic Contributor

I like the way you think. We may be young at heart, but that's of no use when the body is falling apart. I've also learned not to expect a place to be the same after 10 or 20 years. Too much has changed with globalization. We tend to romanticize places we have lived long ago, but prepare to be disappointed. Been there, done that.

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Now that I'm responsible just for myself, I spend my time working on my web sites, reading, working on Sudoku puzzles, watching TV, going to a movie if there is a really good one which is rare, eat out every other week, play Yahtzee with a friend after dining out, joined a coloring group and visit the town Senior Center to play it's 6 games of bingo (LOL) and to meet other people. When the weather gets nicer and the plantar facsitis has yielded, I will walk for exercise.  The rest of my time is spent keeping my apartment in good order.

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