Sunday, 30 October 2016

Retirement - The first 100 Days!

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)
There were other things that I had planned as possible future projects but I will skip those for now. I knew I would miss work but I also knew I had this amazing opportunity ahead of me. I could still do some work, but on my terms, and also pursue other activities that seemed almost impossible to undertake whilst doing a full-time job.

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 far:
  1. The preparation outlined above. Vital.
  2. Engaging in meaningful and purposeful activities such as my volunteering- new sense of purpose straight away
  3. Taking up new studies - muy bien
  4. 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
  5. Having the support of my partner
  6. 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  
  • setting sun imagery-no thanks!
  • The phase of golden opportunities 

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


  1. Sounds like you have figured it out when it comes to retirement. I think I will reach FIRE in the next five years but have no idea how I would spend my time. I really enjoy blogging but feel like I need more than that to stay active. Thanks for sharing your list and I hope to be where you are very soon :)

    1. Thanks for your comments. In five years you may find that your blogging turns into something else such as writing books? You never know.

  2. Good luck - sounds like you are very focused on your goals.I wish you well. What do you think you might do with your time? You will after all have youth and energy on your side.

  3. A friend of mine called it 'leisure time' but she was so active I couldn't see where the leisure came in. I can't think of an alternative name. You have planned well, it seems. Enjoy.

    1. Thanks Valerie. Retirement is not necessarily the same as leisure time, you are right there. It's the freedom to do things on your own terms. Just need the right word for that now.

  4. Too me, the day you retire is your own personal Independence Day.

    1. I like that Tom. Independence Day. For me it was freedom from the tyranny of salaried work. I still wake up most days thinking "I'm free I can choose what to do when I want to do it."Lovely

  5. It sounds like you are doing great! You approached your retirement with your eyes open and realistic expectations. I've been retired for almost three years (in May) and have enjoyed just about every moment. I do miss the social network I had at work, but it's a small loss compared to all the gain I've experienced. As far as the word "retirement" goes, check out the Spanish translation: Jubilacion. I think that's a perfect word for our new chapter.

    1. I like that a lot. I've just started a Spanish intermediate class and introduced myself by saying "estoy jubilado" but did not connect that word with our English word "jubilation". Brilliant work there and I shall start saying to what I expect will be bemused faces in the future, "Hi, I'm John and I'm jubilant!"

  6. John, happy birthday and happy jubilation! After 100 days, it is clear that you are thriving in retirement rather than withering away. It is so true about the great information out there that other bloggers share. I was so delighted to discover many wonderful blogs when I began to contemplate the possibility of retiring, and have learned from the stories and experiences that they have generously shared.

    By the way, I linked your blog in my recent post.


  7. Thanks for your lovely comments (as always). The support of other bloggers such as yourself is critical I think.I'm having a bit of an internal struggle with my next post as it could be very personal- I suppose this is a decision most bloggers have to make- how much to reveal of the really personal and sensitive stuff. Any words of advice?


Please leave your comments and I will aim to respond within a couple of days. Thanks.