Retirement: Initial Thoughts

This begins week #3 of not working.  No doubt there is an adjustment period, but so far it is mostly like being on vacation, especially since we just spent the last 10 days on a road trip down the west coast and back.  When we tell people that we have retired, the most common response has been “you are too young to retire!”  I’ve been thinking a bit about that, and I think the disconnect revolves around your definition of retirement.

Most of us think of our parents or grandparents and their version of retirement.  When I think of that version it looks like this:  People retired at age 65.  When they retired they lived on their social security benefits and whatever pension their employer might have provided.  They spent their days gardening, puttering around the house, watching their “stories” on TV, and spending time with their grandkids.  Usually their health was tenuous.  I remember my grandparent’s tackle-box of prescription meds that they took each day.  After retirement, most people expected to live 10-15 years.  Retirement was largely a final winding down of life.

As we now move into the “retirement” phase, we think of it as getting to do what we want to do each day, spending our time and energy on things that mean the most to us.  Will we likely generate more income at some point?  Probably.  But, we plan to accomplish it doing something we enjoy and care about.  So, we are thinking of this next year as a “sabbatical” more than a “retirement.”  During our sabbatical we will focus on relocating back to Michigan, building our house in Traverse City, spending more time with our kids and grand kids, and transitioning to a slower pace.

My first personal goal is to stop hurrying.  During my career years I have been trying to get the most done during the limited number of hours of the day.  I multi-task constantly.  I always think about the most efficient way to get things done, even when it comes to small things like getting ready in the morning.  So, I am consciously trying to slow down.  There is plenty of time to accomplish what I need to accomplish, even if I don’t get it all done today.  Take a deep breadth.  Put the smart phone down.  Linger.  Enjoy the moment.  Live.

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