I’d been thinking about retirement for what seemed like the entirety of my 26-1/2 year career and in a blink of an eye it was here, six months earlier than anticipated*. In a previous blog post I wrote about my fears of retiring - the financial distress, the continuing responsibility, and of dying.
|1991 - My first year|
Those fears were still ever present right up until I made the decision to retire, but a funny thing happened when I actually picked a date for it to be official: I became happy.
With the dawning of each new day, I awoke with a smile and with that I found myself eager to go to work, because it meant I was one day closer to leaving the job I’d hated for so long.
I was not accustomed to having those feelings which were directly associated with work. In the past, with work came head and stomach aches, insomnia, anger, and depression. Not joy.
These new emotions felt very weird and crazy, but so good that I literally could not stop smiling. My coworkers even noticed and had plenty of comments because they’d rarely, if ever, saw me smile.
|Being a stay-at-home mom to Delphine|
The crippling emotions I thought I would feel, didn’t happen. Instead, the fear that had griped me for so long was replaced with a steady and growing euphoria.
It was as if a heavy weight had been lifted from my shoulders. Years of stress disappearing in just a matter of minutes.
Yes, I was still concerned about our finances, but now I had a definitive income amount and that, coupled with my husband’s income, was still pretty darn good.
Knowing we would be financially secure allowed me the freedom to decide when - or if - I needed to find another job, but for the immediate future I plan on being a stay-at-home mom to our dog.
All the things I’d been wanting to do, but never seemed to have the time for because my life was always about work or because I was too depressed to do anything, now were attainable. My options were limitless and that was so exciting.
The list of things I wanted to do (write, sew, hike, fish, etc.) was getting very long. The only thing that could hold me back now was my own laziness. I had no other excuses.
|2018 - My last year|
I am currently on Day 13 of my retirement and it still doesn’t feel real. I keep thinking come Monday morning, I’ll have to be back at that job I’ve had such a never ending love/hate relationship with, but when Monday comes around, my alarm clock never goes off.
I am on a permanent vacation and that thought alone makes me smile. I feel very fortunate that I’ve been able to retire and I am only 49 years old. Not many people have that opportunity and I will certainly take advantage of every second of my days.
Dying, well, that thought still causes me anxiety. A friend, who had been retired for maybe a year, recently passed away from a heart attack and that gives me pause. However, I am learning to give my final ending only a fleeting thought instead of letting it consume me like in the past.
|Retired and HAPPY|
I can eat healthy and exercise or wrap myself in bubble wrap and stay forever in the house, but when it’s my time to go, it’s my time to go and I can’t change that. I’m just hoping that whenever that time comes, I’ll have checked off a few things from my bucket list and hopefully go out with that smile that has yet to leave my face.
* My retirement came six months earlier than anticipated, because when I called our Personnel division and told the guy I was thinking about retiring on March 29th, he took it as I was retiring and sent out an email notifying my supervisors. I hadn’t told anyone of what I was thinking, except my husband, so when I came back from lunch, everyone knew because of the email and some of my coworkers can’t keep a secret to save their lives.
So, in less than an hour, I went from just thinking about retiring and wondering what my first step should be to officially declaring my last day of work. However, the more I kept thinking about retirement, the happier I became so I knew regardless of who spilled the beans, retirement was the right decision.