Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Retirement is not a one-size-fits-all

I have been retired for over a year now and I have to say that "Retirement is not a one-size-fits-all" kind of deal.  When I first started planning to retire, a good friend who I love and admire gave me the best piece of advice.  She said to take the first year and not commit to anything.  Just get used to the idea of being retired.  I followed her advice and am glad I did.  In the beginning, it was easy not getting up at 5am, not having mountains of paperwork, grading papers and report cards, not having to go to work when the weather was cold, snowy and icy.  Those were the easy parts.  There were the bad days when I missed the students, the holidays celebrated in school, families that I have been part of over the years, colleagues I interacted with each day.  But ever so slowly, the good days started to outweigh the bad.
No one can tell you how to retire and what it will be like for you.  Everyone's retirement is different.  For example, my husband took to retirement very well.  He likes working around the house when he feels like it, going out and about when the mood strikes him or just taking a day off to do nothing.  He is happy and content no matter how busy or idle he is.  I, on the other hand, am not good with that kind of retirement.  Although I am quite happy not having to get up at 5am to get ready and go to work, to face cold winter mornings and hope I don't slip on the ice and break something (I speak from experience), I do like to have some kind of structure to my days.  I like to be busy but I also like the freedom to stop when I want to and be idle when the mood strikes me.
Summer is the easiest time for me to keep busy in retirement.  My todo list consists of  landscaping, journaling, antiquing, reading on the front deck, traveling near and far without worries about driving in bad weather, sewing, farmer's markets, etc.  However, winter in the UP has been a challenge for me to keep myself busy.  I am not a fan of cold and snow.  I know that's kinda weird since I live in a place that has winter for almost 8 months a year.  This means I tend to have a todo list that is strictly indoors.  This can get very old by February when I start developing cabin fever.  Also, I am not a good winter driver, so any places I want to go I need to take my husband with me.  Most of the time this is okay with him; but there are times when it is not.  Either we go somewhere he doesn't want to go and when we get there he is in such a hurry to leave, it puts both of us in a bad mood.
I started my blog to help me put some perspective on what I wanted my retirement to be like.  The writings in my blog are not only a sharing of opinions, ideas and thoughts with others but as I think about what I want to put in my blog, I gain insight into the ideas that matter the most to me.  These ideas might turn out to be too personal for a public blog but just thinking about them and writing them down can shed light on their substance.  It doesn't matter if they are published or not.  This has led me to think of all the things I would like to do now that I have the time to do them.  However, it has also shown me that I have some fear when it comes to accomplishing these things.  I lack the courage to jump in and do what my heart desires.
In one of the blogs I follow, "Kathy's Retirement Blog",  she talks about "Putting Your Dent in the Universe".  In the article, she explains how some disillusioned with retirement need to relook at what they are doing. "If you are spending too much time on busy work, if you are spending too much time meeting people for coffee or lunch, if you find yourself watching too much TV, if you find yourself depressed in retirement, if you spend money on stuff you don’t need, if you find yourself bored, if you’re complaining a lot, if you don’t like your life, if you don’t have an activity that feeds your soul, then take the leap.  Get out of your comfort zone. Be open to finding your passion. Be open to listening to life as it whispers to you about how to use your unique potential. We only have one chance to put our dent in the universe. Don’t blow it!"  This spoke to me and it has given me a new outlook as to how I want to make my retirement work for me.  I am going to try and get out of my comfort zone and take that leap of faith.  Wish me luck.

No comments:

Post a Comment