I did it. On February 11th, I retired, or semi-retired. I am still not sure what to call it. I am not working for income or actively seeking employment at this time. I have an idea that eventually I will either have my own business with volunteering on the side or something. My dad retired at age 55 and within nine months he was working a morning shift at a mini mart because he missed the public. Going to go out on a limb and suggest this not my answer as I am quite the introvert. But I do see me doing something, and helping others, just not sure what that looks like and don’t want to jump into anything too soon.
Now granted it will be three weeks Saturday since I had my last day, I am not an expert, but this is what I have learned so far.
Routine. I need a routine of sorts. At this point it is no more than grocery shop on Monday, get a Storyworth question done once a week, focus clean on room of the house and send a card to someone. The focus clean needs to happen as we have lived in this house for thirteen years and a lot has accumulated. My grandparents, parents and brother have all passed and I have accumulated a lot of stuff. Stuff that I could not go through at the time, but now need to sit down and take a look at. My mother did a baby book for me and it was brimming with every single label the first time I tried a new baby food. That is cool, but I probably only need to save two not twenty.
Unlearn Multitask. I grew up watching MASH. We watched it while we ate dinner on TV trays in the living room. I had my favorites and I cried when people left the show (either to go home or die, looking at you Henry Blake!) In one episode, Charles declares “I do one thing at a time, I do it very well, and then I move on.” My whole life I have had a bit of a “good luck with that” attitude to that quote and his personality. I have spent my life, juggling a multitude of things; my stuff, my kid’s stuff, my partner’s stuff, parental stuff, friend stuff, household stuff, job stuff, hobby stuff, yard stuff. You get the picture. But now I am really working on taking the moment or project and really focusing. Spoiler: this is a lot harder that it looks.
Shock. People have no idea what to do when you say you have retired. You are too young is one reply. What will you do?! Is a very common one. Aren’t you bored? I have a friend who has a job opening. All responses to this. It is probably why I hedge with semi-retired. It seems easier for people to get their head around. I learned, sadly not to long ago, that no is a full reply and that you do not have to fill any silence. So, when people say “what will you do?” I say, “I don’t know but I have some ideas” and then stop talking. They tend to change the subject. Works for me.
People. I do try to set up at least one outing with friends. A walk or coffee, dinner or a getaway. While tempting to just start working through my To Be Read pile, humans need people and it is necessary to still get out and do things. Granted after the whole public library/notary nonsense, I could very easily do without the general public for some time but it really isn’t healthy to be a hermit. That does not mean I haven’t read 6 books in the last three weeks, just means I am trying to find balance.
Take your Time. You know how if you start a new job, you don’t say “you do this wrong here” after being there three hours (or you probably should not but OK I have seen people that do). Same with Retirement. In talking to people who have retired, I have heard six months to a year to make any big decisions, as this is a change a bit change, especially if you have been working since your were 15. I have given myself to May with the option of pushing it out further. I have ideas, I just want to do them right and after I have gone though all the baggage (literally at times, although most is in boxes) of my past.
Do What I Want. This one will be a constant struggle, I think. I am trying to talk to myself kinder and focus more on what I want to do and not what I think I should do. Today, I feel I should do laundry. Now, we are in no way going to run out of underwear and we are going nowhere today. So the should is all in my head. I ask myself if I want to do laundry and I find I don’t mind. No hindrance on what I want to do with the rest of my day so ok. Laundry. I want to learn to tap dance. I want to oil paint again. And I do see me trying those things. Again it is reevaluating the Should, is it a have to or is it a want or is it a not today.
As with a lot of my friends, I am among the first to go this route. A lot of it is trial and error and it is hard to go from 100 miles an hour to 40. I am excited about the change in so many areas of my life, nervous but excited.