The local public schools are closed for the summer, and since that’s where I spent much of my career, I’m reminded that it’s been about a year since I retired. Lately, I’ve been reflecting on my first year away from the workplace and wondering what, if anything, has changed for me and what I’ve learned. A few things come to mind:
- Despite my husband’s earlier fears, it is possible for two adults to share the same space during both the day and evening without doing any significant damage to each other, as long as each has his own interests. (It probably helps that I gad about a lot.)
- Making arrangements to socialize now involves more work. Before, I could just step out of my office and say, “Anyone want to go to lunch?”
- All vows to get more exercise can fall by the wayside whether I am working or not. Thankfully, stress eating has absented itself.
- It is possible to keep stressing out about work even when I am not there (with the able assistance of people who are there).
- I am becoming serious about writing. Writing is allowing me to be more open, less controlled and private. Writing is how I like to spend my time.
- The absence of office park-tinted glass in my house makes rainy days more apparent and the yearning for sunshine greater.
- I receive nearly as many emails now as I did on the job.
- I’m more lighthearted.
- I have more time for introspection.
- It seems like the mailbox is rolling out the welcome mat to more bills than ever, and my checkbook hasn’t seen a correct balance in months.
- I still don’t like to clean house or weed.
- I sleep much less now, despite having the time to sleep more.
- I leave my neighborhood less and less. My world has become smaller.
- I’m no closer to my long-time goals of mastering Spanish and playing the piano without mistakes. I realize I would have to study and practice to reach these goals, two activities I haven’t managed to commit to yet.
- I’m happier.
Just before retiring I thought I would like to return to my workplace as a consultant or volunteer. I was reassuring to friends who didn’t want me to leave: “I’m not going far. You know where to find me. I’ll come back to help whenever you need me.” I was wrong. Once gone, I had no desire to return. I was ready for something new. While there have been moments of disappointment for letting people down, I think my changed attitude is a good sign that I’m making a successful transition to this new life.