Sunday, September 4, 2011

Life In The Retirement Lane

When I approached my retirement date in mid July, 2002, many people expressed their envy when they learned I was retiring at age 47 and had worked 30 years on the job. Many offered tips on what I should do to keep from becoming bored, particularly because of my age. Many said, “You’re too young to be a senior citizen.” Others asked, “What are you gonna do with all your free time?”

It never crossed my mind that I’d ever get bored once I retired. My response to them was always, “You know what, let me have the opportunity to become bored and I’ll deal with it then.” I loved spending time writing and I eagerly anticipated having much more time to devote to that. My young daughter’s after school activities occupied much of my free time during the evenings, thus leaving me very little time for writing. I’d already self-published my first book, When Death Comes a Knockin , completed several short stories, have enough poetry for a collection or two, and a few book-length novel, and several works in progress (novels) which I was very eager to complete.

By the time my retirement date finally arrived, I’d successfully had one of my novels published, Sacrifices In The Name of Love. I celebrated both accomplishments in grand style. Being one of thirteen children, I was the first to officially retire. It was a bittersweet moment for me because by now both of my parents were deceased, and if there was one thing I wished they would have lived long enough to see was me being able to retire, especially after they’d seen me weather so many trials and tribulations on the job. But I knew in my heart, they’d be very proud of my achievement.

Summer arrived. The first thing my daughter and I did after my retirement was travel to Chicago, Illinois via Amtrak in celebration of my retirement. When we returned, I decided we’d have a lazy summer and just chill. We slept in late on many mornings, stayed up late at night and watched movies, went to dinner on Friday nights, and spent many Saturdays shopping at the mall.

Summer ended. My daughter returned to school. It was at that time that I experienced my first bout of withdrawal symptoms from my daily work routine. Through the years my routine consisted of arriving at work early, thus allowing me extra time to make a quick breakfast and a fresh pot of coffee, during which time my co-workers and I would exchange small chit-chat before delving into our work. I now missed that interaction as well as our interaction at lunchtime. All of my family and friends in my age range were still working. I felt alone.

But, instead of wallowing in self-pity, I decided I’d work on my unfinished writing projects. In the meantime, my grandson, a toddler came to spend some time with us. I did mention that I started writing again, right! Well, if anyone is familiar with the daily antics of having a toddler to care for, you know my writing time was short-lived, and before I knew it, my days would fly by and my daughter would be out of school and our evenings would be filled with Catechism class on Mondays, piano lessons followed by cheerleading practice on Tuesdays, tumbling class on Wednesdays, cheerleading class on Thursdays, and cheerleading activities on Saturday mornings.

And many people wondered how I’d spend all my free time now that I wasn’t working! What free time? With all I’ve found myself involved in, I have often wondered how I was able to do the things I did with my family and still had time to go to work. Free time? What is that? I haven’t had much time to appreciate free time, and as far as becoming bored, I don’t see that happening anytime in the near future.

Despite everything that I’m involved in, I’m enjoying life in the retirement lane. Many people still ask me if I’ve gotten bored yet. I enthusiastically respond, “No way!” I absolutely love the freedom I have in choosing how to spend my time. I volunteer my time teaching Catechism class on Monday nights. I write freelance articles for the regional newspaper’s Thursday column. Spending quality time with my daughter and grandson is priceless. I work part-time as a substitute teacher at my daughter’s school. When my son was growing up, I didn’t have such opportunities, and that’s the main thing I regret about having to work. There were many times I missed some of his school programs due to my work schedule.

To say I’m enjoying retirement life now would be an understatement. I love the freedom that retirement has afforded me. I often say, “God must have started at the end of the alphabet and worked backwards and created the word retirement right after he created the word sex, because I swear next to sex, retirement is definitely the next best thing.”

9 comments:

Mysti Holiday said...

I'm a SAHM. When I quit my job, people asked me all the time -- "Won't you be bored?"


HAHAHAHAHHA... no.

So I really do understand :-)

Maria said...

I haven't retired yet but I sura am looking forward to it...would love the freedom that comes with getting to choose what you want to do and when....

Vanessa A. Johnson said...

Rigt Mysti...it is nice just to be able to choose. Thanks for stopping by

Vanessa A. Johnson said...

Exactly Maria. Thanks for stopping by

Vanessa A. Johnson said...

I will be giving away a pdf of my latest release, Uncommon Bond. The winner will b announced late tonight. Have a blessed day everyone

Terra said...

I would love to find a job, still have a few years before retirement but one day I hope to be able to sit back and enjoy as long as I have a little money coming in.

Terra

Toni said...

Thanks for sharing your story. I'm an empty nester now, the kids are in college and reading has become my new hobby. Loving every bit of it, now that I have the time.

tsteinerid(gmail)

Michele said...

I just got laid-off, so it's forced retirment. lol

Thing is, when you have kids? Boredom is NEVER in your vocabulary. They keep you hopping ... and driving, and cooking and cleaning and relearning all the things your forgot when you "grew up".

I'm glad to hear that retirement is invigorating you and keeping you fully involved in life. It will eventually be found in your own writing and readers will only benefit from it.
:-)
Congrats!

Vanessa A. Johnson said...

I would like to thank everyone who stopped by. All 5 of you will get a pdf of of my latest release, Uncommon Bond. I will email it to each of u tonite. Have a blessed day