When most people talk about retirement, they seem to focus on the day of one big change. They get done working full time, start drawing on pension or savings, and not have to hit the alarm clock each morning. It’s a finite thing, an item for the day planner.
My take on retiring is a bit different. I think of retiring as a process, or a journey if you will.
Retirement being a big change, it’s best to plan for it as much as you can, save for it, and position yourself for a smooth transition into a new phase of life.
Oh sure, it’s gonna be great not having to get up at oh-dark-thirty on a frosty morning to go dashing through the snow to the same old grind!
You got something better to do?
Well, that is what I want to talk about in this blog. I have some ideas about how I want to be physically, mentally and emotionally while I don’t work any more.
Not only that, but since we’re talking journey here, I will want to include how-tos, to help get down the road. There are planning and deciding tools I can share with you, and information from all around that you might find helpful in your own journey.
This is, I’ll warn you, a rather open-ended journey. The landscape keeps changing and so do I, though hopefully we can keep that from going too fast! So if there’s a plan, it’s not for the ages. It’s for however long it still works, and then I’ll move on.
Also, please notice this blog isn’t about saving a million dollars and taking out the perfect percentage. It’s about having fun and taking care of oneself. There may be money talk, but it’s mostly lifestyle we’re doing here.
I may even resort to levity occasionally.
So basically we’re talking about making changes and that can be scary. Change is best when you have authorship of it and it downright stinks when it’s done to you.
That’s why I am starting two years before I say goodbye to the workplace. Last time I left a workplace so finally was when i was laid off. They gave us two weeks to get used to the idea and they tried to help. But it takes longer to recover.
This time I know some of the pitfalls. Typically I draw socialization from work and get very lonely and aimless without work. No more! The non-joiner has joined organizations and made connections outside of work.
Work also gives me organization. It structures my time for me. Those organizations I joined will help organize my time. So will various other activities. I fully expect to still use a day planner or something like it to keep track of it all.
Work is a great learning experience. My current line of work is the result of years of on-the-job training. Luckily I chose interests and organizations that keep me working on new things.
Work even puts me in a village where, if I get an hour for lunch that day, I can walk and admire gardens and stuff. Gotta work on the replacement for that out in the boonies, where walking is a very different job.
Work (gasp!) gives me meaning. I help people as much as I can, and when their lives improve, it’s gratifying. I earn money to support my household and that’s good too. I can teach other staff members how to do things when they don’t know, which is fun.
Again, organizations are a good source of meaning. I can teach and help others through activities in these organizations, and I can work out a different role at home.
This is what I’ve been working on, two years out. I’ve just begun.
What does work do for you and what can you find to replace what work does for you?
I am sixty-something, still working at the day job, and starting the process of transitioning to retirement. I've learned through experience that big transitions are easier if you break them down into steps, get some groundwork laid and not sweat the small stuff.