One week of real retirement is done, and I hope I have a zillion more.
When I first started working in 1980, I didn’t have time to consider retirement. As my career continued and I saw colleagues put in their time, I wondered what real retirement would feel like. Let me tell you, it’s not just lying around and doing nothing. My friends have said that what they found about retirement is that they don’t see how they ever worked because their lives are so busy. After only a week, I’m believe them.
Psychologists determined that retirement is one of life’s major transitions, and like love and grief, has emotional phases that people go through. In 2000, professor and author Robert Atchley labeled the phases of retirement:
2. The Big Day
3. Honeymoon Phase
I’ve passed through the planning and saving of stage 1 and really felt the love in stage 2.
Right now I’m in the honeymoon phase of bragging about not having to set an alarm clock to all of my former colleagues. Although I'm happy that I'm not having to make lesson plans or grade essays, to me the best part of being retired is not having to pick out clothes to wear to work.
I’m carrying out many of the major plans I made during the last few years of work. These plans are mainly concerning my house and yard.
I know the yard work will never be completed, but I tackle a couple of yard projects each day and then usually jump into the pool to cool off. At times like these, my pool is worth every cent it costs.
For a year, I have planned for some updates to the pool – new liner, salt filtration, steps, etc. Finding someone to do the work has been an ongoing problem. I talked with five different businesses last fall and only one gave me a bid. This week I called another pool repair business, and the man told me he was really busy but he would get with me next week. What the heck?
This week, I’ve had two contractors come to see about remodeling my kitchen. There’s nothing wrong with my kitchen except that it’s 35 years old. The way I see it, this is the last kitchen I’ll ever have so I’m going to spruce it up and make it something I’ll enjoy for my remaining stages of retirement.
The hard part is deciding what I want to change. I'm overwhelmed with all the ideas on Pinterest and Houzz. I’m afraid to make a decision about cabinets and counters because I don’t know how it will turn out. There are many trends in kitchens like glass backsplashes, can lights, granite countertops.
I’ll get cost estimates from the contractors next week. That’s when I’ll have to decide what trend I’ll go with.
The attic and garage are in line for proper cleanings when the weather cools. I have been keeping the attic door closed for the past few years. After I park my van, I walk through the garage with blinders on to avoid the accumulation of treasures. I always figured it wasn't so bad since I could still park my van in it.
I'm not sure when the disenchantment stage will hit me, but I'm confident that it will.
During my short time of retirement, I've already figured out that retirement is fantastic if you have lots of money to spend. If I had piles of money, I'd always be in the honeymoon stage. Money may not buy love or happiness, but it can pay for lots and lots of happy experiences which can keep you happy, or at least in avoidance, for a long time.