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The Journey Continues

It was time.  I was waiting for the perfect moment to turn in my paperwork to announce my intent to retire.  After telling my supervisor, I brought cupcakes in for my co-workers with a note announcing my retirement.  Over the previous six months there had been several announcements about pending births that were met with enthusiasm and rounds of congratulations. Three hours passed, I received one congratulations from a co-worker.  Some never said anything and another was jealous.  No mention was ever made of the years I had worked or the contributions I had made.  Throughout the coming months I received comments such as “I wish I was retiring” or “where will you be moving to”.  To which I responded “you do know you have to be older to retire or very wealthy” and “there are no plans to move right now”.    It was a relief to turn in my paperwork.  After months of thinking about retiring and not saying anything I could now talk about it.  After a few years of uncertainty whether I would have a job I could retire with grace and on my own terms.  

The concept of retirement meant a change in how I worked.  It certainly did not mean I would sit around on a rocking chair overlooking a beach or in my case the mountains day after day.  I knew I needed to stay busy and find activities which had meaning to me.  The first three years of retirement were an adjustment.   At times I felt stuck, uncertain and perhaps a little depressed that I didn’t know what I wanted to do despite having created a list of things that interested me.  The first three years of retirement included our son graduating from college, some health issues, a pandemic and uncertainty as how I was going to navigate this change.

Hail and Farewell to 2020…. and maybe 2021!??

I was looking at the Bored Panda app today and came across some posts about 2020 and 2021. One that stayed with me said something like…. I have a subscription to 2021. I completed the 7 days trial period and I want out. Life has been on a roller coaster the past year and it looks like 2021 may not be so smooth though there are glimmers of hope.

Life is about change. Some we choose and some like pandemics, death, mishaps of nature and social unrest we do not. Still that is what life is about. Bruce Feilor in his new book “Life is in the Transitions” states that it is the changes in life that bring transitions and can lead us tp new meanings in life. He divides transitions into 3 stages – the beginning and acceptance of the event, the “messy middle” in which we try to understand what is going on and can be overwhelming and we may feel like we are stuck. In the last stage and with work we find new meaning.

I am starting my third year of retirement. I retired with grace and on my own terms but even so I felt like I should be doing more. It took some time but I had started to find things that would give new meaning to my life. Still retirement did not stop everything else. By the time I had a new plan in place the pandemic put a halt to moving forward and I have have to return to the messy middle or the swamp as I think of it. This is life. Whether one is starting a new job out of college or moving into retirement we will return to the swamp from time to time. The important thing is to eventualy move out of the swamp and onto more stable land where new activities await us.

I know that 2021 may be bumpy but I also hope that we will seeing more positive results of getting covid under control. I know that many of us are trying to be safe and follow guidelines . While I do not make new year resolutions I am trying to be kinder to myself, write and read more and live in the present.

Happy 2021! Stay safe and healthy.

Retirement is a Transition

It has been two years since I retired and I can say that I am finally content with this next chapter of life.

I felt good about my retirement and felt it was done with grace and on my terms. My husband and I had followed the advice of many well-meaning books and financial planners and were prepared as we could be financially. I had created a list of potential activities I would like to be involved in. So I felt ready for what was to come. After a few months in I explained to others who had retired before me that I was nowhere near to knowing what I wanted to do and felt I “should be doing more”. After smiling many told me that it can take anywhere from three months or even up to two years to adjust to retirement and it was ok to not be doing anything.

I felt like I was prepared for retirement but I had not not prepared for one part of retirement that we all must do. Retirement is a transition and like many transitions we have to allow ourselves time to adjust.