It seems to have taken just over one year after my official retirement date for me to feel like it actually happened. For the past year, it has felt somewhat surreal. I still looked forward to “weekends” (as if some “freedom” was attached to them). I still laid awake at night on Sunday nights, thinking about Monday morning and all the things I had to get done during the week. I thought about things that needed to be addressed at my former work organization and whether “someone” was taking care of that. I wondered what retired life should really look like and what I needed to do to make it so.
So today I am in the 24 foot motor home that my guy and I dreamed we would one day hop in and enjoy on many road trip adventures. We are parked on the shore of a beautiful BC lake, enjoying the sights and quiet time together. It is a Thursday, not a weekend. I finally realize that now I look forward to every day and that the week can be my weekend too (when it’s not so busy with everyone else vying for the same thing on their days off). If I am laying awake at night thinking about what I have to do, it is by choice and that there is something intriguing (and likely adventuresome) that is driving my mind to focus on it. I have accepted that I did a great job of leaving skilled and qualified people in my place to deal with all the things needed at my former work organization. It is still surreal, but more importantly, I realize that I am actually living what retired life “should look like” …and that is great.
“Retirement, a time to do what you want to do, when you want to do it, where you want to do it, and how you want to do it”. Catherine Pulsifer
Today I am smiling for many reasons. I have officially welcomed my 4th month of being retired, I have the love of “the” most extraordinary woman, and have two wonderful kids. In addition to this, there are still many more reasons to be happy and grinning ear to ear. Spring is here in Calgary and the last traces of ice have disappeared from the parks and pathways. The wildlife are all out and about settling down for a busy spring of welcoming their new babies into the world and raising their families.
From what I have been reading, just “feeling” happy may be the secret to our own lifelong fitness success in addition to improving our well-being. There has been some new research published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal that establishes a link between people who try to enjoy life to the fullest and improved overall health. Researchers go on to say that worrying less may also protect us from the harmful effects of stress hormones. Did you know that feeling down in the dumps on a regular basis puts you at a three times greater risk for developing physical problems later on in life? This certainly supports the notion of finding something you love and just doing it. A happy mind is a healthy one….. so put a smile on your face…. it’s good for you and can be infectious to people around you.
So I was turning 50 … It’s not really old in the sense of the word Old. It’s kind of exciting yet brilliantly terrifying time in a person’s life. One where you want to make all the right choices, do all the right things, and yet at the same time do all the same crazy things you did when you were 20 something (and there was a lot of it I will save for another time)…..lol, like quit your job suddenly and shut it down. Been there, done that, got that t-shirt. 😀 At first it seemed difficult after dedicating 32+ years to one organization but once the decision was made it was almost surreal. I tip toed out the door without a ripple on the grinding machinery that is the public service. Not looking back has been easy because looking forward is so much better. Yes there were some good times, some fun times during my career but nothing like what lies ahead. The day following my last day at work really was the first day of the rest of my life!
Have you ever sat there pondering a life changing decision?
Perhaps we need to go back a bit further. Several months back to be exact. I asked myself, and the love of my life, “I could retire right away”, “So now what”?
This was one of the biggest decisions I would ever make and came at a critical point in my life. I was about to turn 50! That’s right the big FIVE O!!!!! Scary as hell but at the same time I could see a world of opportunities unfold before my eyes.