Monday, June 5, 2017

Retirement: Next Exit

Retirement can be an exciting new adventure in our lives. It most definitely has been that way for me. Truly, I do not know how I had time to "work." Most definitely "work," as in the 40 - 60 hours a week job that I used to have, would now not fit in my daily schedule. I found that retirement is when you stop living at work and start work at living. Each person is different and has different expectations. I knew that I was ready to move on, not because I did not love the people that I worked with, including the children. The problem that I was having difficulty with boiled down to the "red tape," so to speak. All of the political decisions made to better the politicians and appointees, not the children.

The biggest piece of advice that I can give to someone who is considering retirement is know that you are retiring from work  -  not from life! For me, life began at retirement. Retirement only means that it now is time for a new escapade. The only trouble with retirement, according to Abe Lemons, is that you never get a day off. I beg to differ with him on that subject. Now, I get to pick what days off I want to take, instead of having it dictated to me.

The new experience for me was to become what I dreamed of doing in my life for a long time. I would say that you need to have a plan for the hours that you used to be at work. There is only so much sleeping and daytime TV that a person can take. The old rocking chair symbol for a retired person needs to be thrown out the window. 
There is a difference between sitting like some little old lady/man in a rocking chair doing nothing and some woman/man of the world doing what she/he wants when she/he wants and not having to set an alarm clock to do it.  As C.S. Lewis stated, "You are never too old to set another goal or dream a new dream." My dream is NOT to be sitting in an old granny rocker. My dreams are so much more lofty than that. I want to be on my book signing tours for my novels that I write.

Retirement is not the end of the road but the beginning of the open highway. Make your plans accordingly. Where do you want to go? What do you want to do? Plan way in advance about your funds. Unless you are wanting to take a part time job somewhere to help support your lifestyle, then be sure to get some savvy financial planning working for you. Get all of the information that you can on your portfolio and how investments with dividends will support you along with your pension and social security. You really want to be saying with clarity, "Goodbye tension, hello pension" and mean it! With the right kind of planning, you will be able to just let it go and live life to the fullest.

First of all, there are many things that you will not be spending money on, which is a good thing because you will want to be spending money on other things that you may have put off until retiring. One thing is traveling more. The best advice that I received is to travel NOW. Do it while you can enjoy your trips. No longer is it a vacation and putting in a request for vacation time; it is a true holiday. I prefer this word to vacation when my British husband used it when asking me early in our marriage about where did I want to go on our holiday? That is such a charming word.

Most other retirees have basically the right frame of mind for being in retirement. They continue to challenge themselves intellectually and socially, which is a huge part of this magnificent adventure chapter. Most retirees start to look younger and actually are healthier because they have time to exercise, eat properly and get enough sleep. I could not tell you how many retirees actually told me that they no longer have stress in their necks and shoulders 24 hours a day. (I am one of them!)

I have been retired since January, 2016. Today I am happy to announce that my darling husband is joining me. Today was his first Monday of not getting up and going in to work. He came in to join me with my coffee and his tea and after about ten minutes, he said that he felt lighter. Imagine? Yes, I can imagine because I had that very same feeling myself.
Just as I used a month to give my body, mind and soul time to come down to a new reality, he is planning the very same actions. 

We will now have two writers in the house and we each have our own office. Because we have always loved doing things together, this is perfect. We go to the grocery together, we cook together, we read together, and oh my goodness there are many nights that we have soft music on and sit and talk for hours. There are some pretty awful retirement quotes out there about when a man retires and I have actually heard some women use similar words: 'Behind every retired man is a wife wishing he would go back to work.' Or how about this one, 'A retired husband is often a wife's full time job.' I saved the most cynical one from Chi Chi Rodriquez for last, 'When a man retires, his wife gets twice the husband but only half the income.' I would imagine that in Chi Chi's day,twice the husband and half the income would work out just fine. It is just the tone of this quote that disturbs me, probably because I have actually heard some women who say that their retired husbands are driving them crazy. 

To this I say to them to start planning some interesting adventures with your man. He is home with you and now is the beginning of the rest of your lives together. Have a wonderful stroll down Retirement Lane.

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