Thursday, May 18, 2017

529 Working Days

That's right. I've got 529 official working days until I throw in the towel on this work thing. I have been thinking about retirement every single day since my good friends from high school have been ribbing me about it. 

I know I should be happy about it but truthfully I worry that I won't have enough structure in retirement. I've been getting up and going to work almost every day of my life since I turned 18, and even before then. I'm afraid I'll be like a fat kid in a candy store.  Don't have to get up, can stay in my jammies all day if I want. You know what I mean? 

The truth is I really like working most days. It's just that every day as I am walking out to the car, I see weeds that need pulled, I have guilt over not walking my dogs, and lots of stuff that needs to get done. 

I've had two full summers off in my 40 years of work life. One summer when my son was 12, I took a leave of absence to spend 3 months with him. We wrote a list of things we wanted to do that summer. It was terrific. We hiked, took picnics, went to the movies, rode our bikes. When I went back to work in September, I ended up leaving that job. I hadn't realized how stressful it had become until I took that hiatus. I ended up at the AG's office in the most boring job I've ever held. I had to learn how to pace down, which is really not my style. Thankfully, I had a hilarious co-worker who kept me in stitches. Mary, if you're reading this, thanks for the memories! 

Fast forward to my second summer off which turned into a 22,000 mile road trip to Alaska and then across the United States mid-states to West Virginia and home to Arizona via Florida, Mississippi, and the dreaded Texas. Best road trip EVER! Digital cameras were not quite afforadable then and I was too cheap to snap too many images. I'd like a do over on that.

What will I do in retirement? Well, I have 529 working days to think about that. Hopefully, my employer won't read this. They don't pay me for that. 

I've watched 5 women in my office retire in the last two years. I see the angst they suffer as it gets closer. I wonder how I can avoid that?

love, susan


  1. My husband had such a hard time, and after I blogged about his anxiety attacks and the struggle to stop doing something he had been doing for almost 50 years. At first it WAS just sitting around doing nothing, but that grew old FAST. We knew we weren't going to continue doing that, but wanted to take time to just enjoy R&R. Because I have been making my own hours and choosing when and how much I would work, the adjustment for me wasn't about work - or lack of structure - it was having him here every single day. I love the guy and I love our time together, but he became mopey and I felt like I had to keep him entertained. NOT good for either of us. FINALLY, we're moving forward with our retirement plans of seeing the country from our camper. We've done our share of camping over the years, but this will be the first time it's been done outside of blocks of vacation and without a schedule (if we don't want one). There is some worry involved in that too, as we are new to spending extended periods of time in a very small space. The longest we've lived in a tiny camper was 6 weeks when we moved to AK - and at the end it was getting rather old. Of course, that camper wasn't anything like the campers of today, so we're hoping having a few more creature comforts will help once we move past the 2 month mark. I'm sure we'll know more about our future once we get back to AK later this summer. Until then, we're just going to enjoy each day and adventure as it comes.

    You may find yourself feeling a little lost (after the vacation mode feeling ebbs), but I'm sure you'll find a routine that works for you. My SIL currently volunteers at a local shelter (she adores dogs!) several times a week and she LOVES it. It gives her the structure she misses, fills her day with kisses, and brings her joy. She is looking for more volunteer opportunities once winter comes and she won't be spending as much outdoors.

    Good luck to you as you transition. It sounds like a fairly long time before retirement, but it's going to FLY by!

  2. I retired in 2008 and have not regretted it once. After ten years of working in a hospital I left to start my family. I was home for nine years before I went back to grad school and then the next year was offered the position I would be at for 20.5 years before retirement. But when I fell and shattered my leg in 2007 I realized that life is short and we don't know how much time we have to enjoy it. Besides, my work life was not as much fun anymore. I knew folks who were unhappy and bored in retirement, but I had so much that I wanted to do without work getting in the way. I could never be gone for more than a week on vacation - and even then I had to be available by phone or email. It was stressful to say the least. I tell folks to write down all the reasons to stay and all the reasons to leave and compare. From reading your blog I can tell that you have lots of interests outside work. Make them and your family the priority. Good luck with your preparations for the next chapter in your life.

    1. Thank you for dropping in. Life truly is short. I'm not sure I'll make it another two years working. I have options. We'll see what happens! Taking it a day at a time.


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