I just retired after working for the same organization, through nine different job titles, for 25 years. Some years the job didn’t change, just the title. Those who have gone before me have warned me of different scenarios I can expect to encounter in this new phase of life: relief, loss of identity, gaining control of one’s time, or losing control of one’s time and living a busier life than before retirement. I intend to use this blog to explore the inevitable changes that come with working 50 hours a week in a high-stress environment to not working, or at least not expecting a paycheck at the end of the month for whatever work one does.
A friend of my husband’s, who worked for many, many years in a job he didn’t like, described retirement in this way. “It’s like being a kid again in the summertime, and your biggest job is watching clouds form into balloon animals. I love it.”
It turns out that the most difficult part of retirement, at least on day 1, was not missing the comraderie of the office, the thrill of successfuly evading a reporter’s question, or creating a memorable piece of prose. It was staying awake. I never drink coffee, but I must regularly have put away a few gallons of tea; it’s the only explanation I can come up with for having to fight off sleep for most of the day until finally succumbing to a nap. Well, not the only explanation. Obviously the stresses of the job itself and the work environment played a role in keeping me awake. I guess this is what it means to decompress.