A Year has Passed Since I Retired
Wow, a full year has passed since I said goodbye to a twice monthly paycheck, corporate meetings, and working long hours. My retirement anniversary was August 1 and it was celebrated silently while on a cruise to Alaska. Pretty fitting, to be traveling on my retirement anniversary seeing that we have been traveling for about 7 of the past 12 months.
Lots of Traveling in the Past 12 Months
The past year has been pretty eventful. We’ve visited the Galapagos Islands, Machu Picchu, eaten fresh lobster directly from fishing boats in the Bahamas, and visited spectacular national parks (including Yosemite, Sequoia NP, Yellowstone NP, and Denali NP). We’ve meandered in the Pacific Northwest, seeing lots of Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia. And we cruised the beautiful Alaskan coast and saw awe-inspiring glaciers crumbling into the sea.
What I’ve Learned Since Retiring a Year Ago
Looking back on my first year, I have learned a few things and am sure to learn and rethink things as time progresses:
- Off the Hook. Before I retired, I normally received hundreds of emails, conducted presentations, received numerous phone calls and led meetings every day. Now I get almost no phone calls and a handful of emails daily. No one seems to need me anymore ;).
- From Blue to Rosey. After we took our first 3 month of travels and settled back in for a few months, I felt a little down. Anyone that knows me knows that I am a really upbeat optimist and rarely do I get down. After a bit of research, I learned that it is actually normal — it is called post retirement depression. Never anticipated that one! Once I knew what it was, I filled my day with fun things to do and it passed.
- Slow is the New Fast. I’ve learned to slow down. When driving, there is no need to speed or rush from one thing to another. This is strange when I think how I used to run around like a chicken with his head cut off. It is pretty cool to simply live in the moment in a more calm way and not rush about.
- Humpday Smumpday. Everyday is a weekend. You can do things when others are working, no more fighting crowds. However, I do miss the anticipation that used to build as the week progressed. I remember getting excited for hump day (only a couple more days to go before the weekend) and how special Friday afternoon felt when I left work. I have to admit that I miss that. Most days I don’t even know what day of the week it is because they all feel the same.
- Boredom is Self-Inflicted. I get asked a lot “are you bored to death?”. Nope. I figure if I am bored then I am not using my creative juices to find fun things to do to fill the day. I sleep in, don’t have to rush through my daily workout, ride my bike a lot more than I ever have, play golf, fish, and boat. I find new places to take pictures, and I keep myself sharp by learning new skills.
- Chill Out! A few months into retirement, I started freaking out about money. Will we outlast our nest egg? Will the stock market perform well? Should I get a job? After all the hard work we put into gaining financial independence, I was still worrying about money and not allowing myself to enjoy retirement. Then I came to an epiphany. I remembered a co-worker from the past that said that people drive themselves batty worrying about sh*t that never materializes. He called it “chasing ghosts”. I decided to stop chasing ghosts and start enjoying every minute of my retirement.
- The Yearn to Learn. I have learned Spanish a little better than before (but still a work in progress). I have learned more about photography. I’ve spent more time reading and researching interesting things. I learned new programming languages (ASP.NET, C#, AJAX) and am working on a product that be used via the web, tablet or phone. So if any of those ghosts I was initially chasing come to fruition, I can always find a job with my new skills. Too bad my golf game still sucks :).
- Come out and Play. When working, my friends and I would plan to play golf on the weekend, play racquetball in the mornings, etc. When you retire, many of your friends are working during the week so you can’t just call them up and ask them to hit the links with you when the mood strikes. On top of that, we moved, so we had to find new friends. So you have to meet new friends that are retired (or semi-retired) and learn to enjoy new things on your own.
- Boyz 2 Men. Our retirement coincided with our boys going off to college and living on their own. Our boys have become men. It has been fun watching them discover their own strengths, struggle a bit, and course-correct when needed. For us, the hardest part is not having them around the house. With Skype and texting, it is easy to stay in touch, but we still miss them everyday.
I am looking forward to another year of retirement, continuing to find my way, and learning new things.