100 Days ?- Sounds a bit presidential?
Well, let's start by saying I have not counted whether I have been retired for exactly 100 days. It's basically been 3 months and a bit so near enough. It did occur to me that presidents and prime ministers often reflect or are evaluated after 100 days so why not me? So here we have it:
John's Retirement- the first 100 days- Triumph or Disaster?
On balance I would say that for me retirement has been a triumph. This time last year I was handing in my notice at work and feeling very apprehensive. Would I be financially secure? Would I feel a massive gap in my life having taught and worked in schools for 37 years? Would I become isolated and gradually whither away and become an insignificant has-been? Would retirement be hours of day time TV and pointless routines? These were big existential questions. I had to address these questions.
Of course, as many people on other blogs have noted, the key to retirement is preparation. Pre-plan so that retirement is exactly what you want it to be. The people I have heard about who did not enjoy retirement are those that fell into it rather than planned for it.
I have discussed this pre-retirement preparation in earlier posts but basically preparation for me consisted of the following:
- Sorting out finances and making a last big push on savings
- Organising some part-time teaching on my terms (one to one and at times that suited me)
- Training with a local charity so that from September I could undertake regular volunteer work
- Joining U3A (university of the 3rd Age) and signing up for classes such as Spanish lessons
- Putting in place a fitness and diet plan
- Looking into starting a blog
- Buying a new Ukulele (don't laugh - it's an important creative outlet for me)
So come on stop waffling, how's it been?
One word. Fantastic. It really has been and I think the following are the main reasons it's worked our so well for me ...so far:
- The preparation outlined above. Vital.
- Engaging in meaningful and purposeful activities such as my volunteering- new sense of purpose straight away
- Taking up new studies - muy bien
- Writing this blog- not only has this helped me get back into writing after a long gap but I have learnt so much by reading about the experiences of others in similar situations and been inspired by their stories
- Having the support of my partner
- Embracing the opportunities that having time away from work has given me
Pros and Cons
Reflecting on retirement after three months and just a day before my 61st birthday has made me weigh up the pros and cons. This is what my list looks like:
- Less stress
- More energy and not falling asleep in front of the TV by 7pm
- More time to engage in activities that interest me
- Feeling fitter and able to exercise more
- Being able to choose when I do things- not being the slave to the clock
- Enjoying Mondays for the first time outside of holidays
- Eating less
- Being able to go on more walks and explore the countryside
- More time to connect with people outside of work
- Sometimes missing the "buzz" of work
- Not seeing such a wide variety of people
- Not doing some much drama work (drama was my main subject when teaching but I will be doing some drama work with young people starting in December)
- Having less money each month
As you can see the pros for me far outweigh the cons. The verdict is a very clear
from me. In fact the only thing I really do not like about retirement is the actual word:retirement.
I just do not like the term or the word retirement. It suggests leaving things behind, disengaging somehow whereas nothing could be further from the truth. For me it has been about engaging not retiring. Engaging with new experiences and challenges, meeting a different set of people and using acquired skills and knowledge in new, exciting ways. I can feel myself getting carried away now. Stay calm John, sit down and have a cup of camomile tea. I know what I need. I need a fresh word or phrase to describe this new phase of being:
My rubbish alternatives to the word "retirement" :
- Post salaried freedom
- Autumn Renaissance
- Pre demise flourish
- The phase of golden opportunities
|setting sun imagery-no thanks!|
I shall just have to hope that someone out there can come up with a better and more positive term to this stage of life we currently call "retirement".
I would love to hear your suggestions.
In the meantime Happy Halloween