Friday, April 23, 2021

Impending doom or a whole new lease on life?

Only time will tell. This is a typical case of be careful what you wish for. Back in December 2019, I published a blog entry about the fact that I would love to retire but would never be able to afford to, and how lucky I was to work for a company who valued me despite my age... famous last words?

With five weeks left to my retirement date I spend a lot of time worrying about exactly how it will pan out. You see, I didn't plan to retire quite so soon, if ever. I know, "soon?" you will say, given that I am already way past any normal person's retirement age. But I also didn't have an opportunity to start preparing for retirement financially until almost at a normal person's retirement age. No, due to circumstances beyond my control I was put in a position where I had no option but to retire. The details of this are not important to my current discussion, this is all about the impending inevitability of retirement and how I am going to deal with it.

Naturally, I asked my friend Google for advice. One of the links I followed had some interesting quotes on preparing for retirement:

"My recommendation to my clients is this: As you plan for retirement, think about what it looks like. Talk to your friends. Write about it. Create a storyboard. Be imaginative. Your financial plans and your day-to-day retirement plan should go hand in hand. This is your retirement identity." Financial advisor Diane M. Manuel

So, following that advice, here I am writing about it. Given what it was like dealing with fighting off the boredom that accompanied the Covid-19 lockdown - and that was while being employed full time, I was worried about more of the same. On the other hand, the idea of every day being a Saturday except for Sunday, with time to workout without watching the clock, time to cool down after a workout before having to shower. Time to write as and when the inspiration arises, and to fish during the week when the lake is quiet, grocery shop mid week when the stores are quiet and time to do my embroidery. Yes, it did seem appealing.

During the 2020 lockdown I rediscovered my love of jigsaw puzzles and must have completed at least 20, however this hobby is not sustainable on a regular basis in retirement, the cost would be prohibitive at between $15 - 25 per jigsaw puzzle. Also, during that same period there was the crazy presidential election campaign and all the theatrics that came with it, not to mention the unbelievable follow up events when Trump was declared the loser; all of this made television very much more appealing that it usually is - now it has returned to being very boring.

Another quote from the link mentioned above:

"Life is not measured by the number in your bank account, but the memories you create. Therefore, focus on how your finances can maximize your life, not the other way around," Cooper Mitchell, financial advisor

At first I was quite distressed at the idea of retiring so much sooner than originally planned, mainly due to financial reasons, slowly this gave way to a feeling of impending freedom, followed by a feeling of impending doom. Now I have no idea what to think or expect. I know that it is necessary to have a schedule even in retirement. Fortunately I already have an exercise schedule to which I adhere strictly - I have to otherwise I will have no problem finding excuses for skipping my workout, something I only do for my health and absolutely do not enjoy.

I am an early riser and while I will no longer have to be at my desk by 4.30 a.m. I anticipate that I will maintain the same early mornings I currently do at weekends, when I usually wake sometime between 4 and 5 a.m. This may change as I attempt to stay up later in the evenings, that remains to be seen. The workout schedule will remain almost the same with the addition of a cool down period before showering; I will set aside the rest of my early mornings for writing. That just leaves the entire rest of the day! Luckily we are living by the lake and we both love fishing, so hopefully that will fill a large part of the days during the week - when the weather allows. No doubt I will adjust with time.

One of the things that did come to mind as I tried to anticipate what life would be like after retirement is the isolation. I am by nature an introvert. I really don't enjoy the social aspect of work; that is I do like chatting with those I am closer to at work, but I do not like the 'happy hours' and group lunches. In my previous job I had an office to myself, I could emerge any time I needed to interact with others, which was rare, and those I was more friendly with would drop in occasionally for a chat, but overall, I like to keep to myself. The job I am about to retire from is all open plan and was shoulder to shoulder until Covid-19 had us all working from home. At least that was good practice for retirement.

However, there is a difference between keeping to yourself by choice amidst a large group of familiar faces and being totally removed from other people. Thankfully I will have my husband at home also and we are good friends as well as being married. But, will that be enough? With the continued Covid-19 restrictions and the fact that we will be suddenly on a very fixed budget, mixing with strangers or getting involved in activities to enable me to meet new people is out of the question, even if the idea appealed to me.

So why retire? I hear you ask. As I said at the beginning of this article, I was given very little choice, the alternative was far less attractive than the anticipated problems fast approaching.

Here are some of the links I found discussing the problem and giving some sound advice:


Psychology Today

Very well mind

Cuna Mutual

And in preparation I bought this book from Amazon, I will report back on it once I have read it:

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