Wednesday, April 25, 2012
I don't think many people follow this blog anymore. According to Google Reader, I have exactly three followers.
Nevertheless, I'll put down some thoughts here that I won't say on Twitter or Facebook.
In two more days my 42+ years of working for a living will come to and end. I am one of those rare, fortunate and lucky people who made the right choices for the right reasons, and now at age 66 I am about to reap the rewards of a life well-lived.
I just attended my last meeting. Everyone was jealous except for one other person who is also retiring soon. I've almost completely packed up my office, removing artwork and personal items from the walls and desk surfaces. I feel like I'm gradually disappearing from the workplace, fading each day into grey. By Friday afternoon I'll be completely gone.
I have no regrets. Although everyone commonly says they will miss people or places, I don't think I will miss this place very much. The day job has been relatively easy these past 11+ years. In 2000 they hired me for my experience in the telecom industry, but that industry is rapidly going the way of the buggy whip as wireless and broadband communications steal market share from the industry that was once heavily regulated. And so there is less and less need for someone of my background. I can easily adapt to new challenges, but the opportunities to work on new things are few and far between.
Not having enough to do is only one of the issues that sparked my desire to retire. Only 13.2 hours of annual leave per month is insufficient time to live the life I want to live. Suzanne and I have been married for 8+ years now, and we have rarely had more than a long weekend or maybe ten days together at a stretch. Other issues: (1) I have grandchildren in high school whom I barely know; (2) Decades of sedentary work are starting to take their toll on my body; (3) On beautiful mornings like this I want to enjoy the outdoors; (4) I want to travel, discover new places and see old friends; and (5) I want to take my musical career to the next step. I could go on and on about projects I want to accomplish around the house. I have a long bucket list.
I cannot anticipate the ways in which my new life will unfold. But one thing I clearly imagine: Next Monday morning on my first "workday" of retirement, I plan to be sitting outside on the porch or on our back deck sipping my 2nd cup of coffee with Suzanne by my side. The birds will be singing, and my heart will join them.
Update Dec. 10, 2012: We've traveled extensively to Virginia, Florida and Indiana to visit family plus a delightful 12-day drive through New England a couple of weeks prior to Hurricane Sandy. Saw my all-time favorite band Procol Harum in St. Augustine. Buried my mother in law, and attended the reunion of a band from the Shenandoah Valley in which I played 49 years ago. Having the time to embark on long driving trips during the off-season is one of the primary benefits to retirement.
On a cold, rainy Monday such as this morning, it's especially nice to sip my 2nd cup of coffee here at home while listening to the traffic reports. Life is less stressful when you don't have to contend with rush hour.
But transitions are always complicated. A part of me misses the intellectual challenges of the day job, but I'm enjoying some new challenges including video editing and publishing. My band keeps learning new songs, and as the keyboardist I get to play the horn parts as well as organ/piano and whatever guitars can't play. We recently learned "Sea Cruise," where I get to play a boogie bass in one hand and sax section in the other.