Sunday, January 16, 2022

Pros and Cons of Retirement

Someone asked me recently how do I feel about retirement now, after 8 months. I have to admit, as I experience my first winter of retirement I dig deeper into my Pollyanna complex to find things to be glad about. 

I did write here about how winter is impacting my hobbies, at least no fishing and boating. Now I am at it again, inspecting the silver linings associated with retirement. Even if it was not what I wanted at the time. It is where I am now and I need to get on with it. I am definitely enjoying it, but like everything in life, there are pros and cons.


Time to workout

I don't like working out. Therefore, any excuse is a good one to stop. The only time in the day that I will even consider working out is early morning; giving myself no time to reconsider. When I was working I watched the clock and had no problem using it as an excuse to cut my workout short or just not bother at all. My workout was rarely longer than thirty minutes. Work came first. This was particularly true when I had to get into the office. I did become more consistent when working from home, just because I had more time. 

Now there is no excuse. For over a year I have been doing an hour a day, five days a week. Over Christmas I skipped a week while we were in Seattle. Now I am back on the treadmill, literally and figuratively, and I have increased to ninety minutes per day, because I can, and because I can't find a good excuse not to.

Time to Read

I love to read and the only time I had for that was when traveling. Now I read for ninety minutes a day, five days a week, while on the treadmill. Plus, if I want to I can sit quietly and read during the day. Of course, this comes with a price. I am completing approximately one book a week. I signed up for Kindle Unlimited, thinking it might prove to be slightly less expensive. I canceled it almost immediately. None of my favorite writers are available and the first book recommended is really not good. The David Wolf series by Jeff Carson. That is four books, I am struggling to complete the first book. I find myself scanning over large amounts of unnecessary filler.


Freedom to travel mainly. But also, the freedom to make last minute plans.

Unfortunately, this advantage has yet to come into its own. With the pandemic we can't take advantage of the freedom to go where ever we want to, when ever we want to, for as long as we want to. We got a small taste of what this will be like when we went up to Seattle for Christmas but as cases spike again, we are once again locking ourselves down.

Escape from office politics

This is a wonderful relief. Office politics were not awful until the management chain was broken. Not awful, but difficult. Then my manager of four years moved on to bigger and better things leaving me exposed to an inexperienced bully. (See here for the sordid details). That was when the politics within the office blew up. And it is what pushed me to make the decision to retire. At least I did have that escape avenue open to me.

No need to maintain two vehicles

This is double edged. Both a pro and a con. But it is a big financial saving.  And, as mentioned before I can't justify us having two vehicles when one sits idle for weeks on end.


I have all the time I need to bake, cook and create embroidery patterns. I probably need to start making gifts for others as my closet is filled with t-shirts covered in smartass comments. 


Income, or lack thereof

I do miss the monthly refill of the bank account. It is more the sense of security it brings than anything else. I have been very fiscally responsible over the past 20 years and, given my late retirement, hopefully have enough to live on.


I miss the challenge to continue innovating and streamlining our work and seeing the fruits of our labor.


Coding has been one of my favorite pass times ever since I first discovered it. I particularly loved coding in a QA environment because I could come up with my own projects. Obviously writing automated tests was the main requirement, but what and how was pretty much up to me. Better than that was identifying areas where manual tasks could be automated by creating tools—that was my passion. I miss that.

My team

I miss my team of amazing engineers. Of course, I do keep in touch with all of them but it is not the same as collaborating on a daily basis, learning from them and watching the team combine to overcome the challenges of being a small team with a huge work load and continue to succeed. I miss the satisfaction of leading them and watching them grow and surpass all expectations. I was very proud of that team of talented people. 

No need to maintain two vehicles

Did I mention, I miss my Lexus? and my independence, as explained in this post.

On balance I am in favor of retirement. I think there are just two reasons why I even question this. One is because it was such a difficult decision to retire. But being bullied and having that behavior condoned by Amazon did make it a whole lot easier. 

The second reason is that I retired in the middle of 2020. In the middle of the pandemic. Definitely clipped my wings. Finally I have the time and freedom to visit my family in Europe but no way will I even consider risking it, for their sakes as well as ours. If this pandemic is finally controlled I will discover that I suddenly have way too much to do and not enough time for all that fun!

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