Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.

What’s it like?

23 Comments

Quite a view.

Quite a view.

People ask me some version of this all the time. “What’s it like to be retired?” The question is both easy and very difficult to answer. “It’s wonderful!” is the quick, and truthful, response.

But what’s it like?

I know retirement is different for everyone. But for me the sensation is like being weightless. Light. Timeless. It seems filled with infinite everything. Though of course I know intellectually that’s not true, the infinite everything part anyway.

Snowstorms no longer keep me up at night wondering how I’m going to get to work. Weekends have no meaning, in fact I rarely know what day it is. Time is both elastic, stretching out into the future and moving so fast that my old life seems like a movie staring someone else.

I feel a bit suspended, both in time between chapters in my life and way above the world just watching, as though I’m an archivist taking note of events that somehow have no direct impact on me. Which, intellectually I also know is not true.

A more solid answer, one that would have fewer eyes rolling, would be to describe a day in the life of a newly retired me. I’m sitting here in the breakfast room scanning in photos that my mom had stored in a box high in a closet for many years. They’re mostly photos of all of us as kids, school pictures, formal sittings for church photos, snapshots of random moments that didn’t make it into an album. I’m truly lost in time.

And I’m not at work in a beige cubicle. I’m not turning down loans, not arguing with brokers, not attending meetings, not pushing production. Not working weekends. Not commuting in rush hour. No, instead I’m sitting in a sunny room surrounded by the faces of my family. And my view from this work station is spectacular. Sunshine, brilliant white snow, birch trees, blue skies, puffy clouds. Don’t think I don’t know how lucky I am.

So what’s retirement like?

The truth is it’s indescribable. I guess you’ll have to experience it for yourself to understand, and I hope you all have that opportunity sooner than you think. Based on experience I can tell you it will be here in the blink of an eye.

And you’re going to love it.

Pretty

Pretty

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Author: dawnkinster

I'm a long time banker having worked in banks since the age of 17. I took a break when I turned 50 and went back to school. I graduated right when the economy took a turn for the worst and after a year of library work found myself unemployed. I was lucky that my previous bank employer wanted me back. So here I am again, a long time banker. Change is hard.

23 thoughts on “What’s it like?

  1. You have mirroed my retirement feelings exactly. Even though snow and ice are rare in my state, it is wonderful not to worry about getting to work when bad weather is in the forecast.

    When I was working, I always maintained that retired people forgot what it’s like to work, and I find I have also fallen into that mind-set. I’ll sit and wonder why someone isn’t available during the day then think, “Oh that’s right, they’re working!’

    What I’ve discovered is that it’s easy to get out of the daly routine and rhythm of working. I often find myself filling up the entire morning by doing, well, nothing memorable or productive (and still in my pajamas), and it feels great. It’s still difficult for me to sit in the middle of the day and read for a few hours as I still feel I should be doing some task I’ve ignored for years, but I’m starting to get to the point where my projects are finished–well, except for the ones I am totally ignoring like refurbishing the shower area.

    Anyway, even though our travel dreams haven’t worked out quite the way we planned, I’d still rather be retired than working and also find myself very resentful at having to do anything I don’t want to do such as yeseterday’s jury duty assignment. It certainly harkened back to my working days and I didn’t care for it one single bit.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh I agree totally. I’m reluctant to volunteer because that would require me to be somewhere at a certain time and I don’t really want to have to be anywhere specific. It’s even hard taking the dog to her dog class, I find myself resenting her until we get there and have fun, then it’s OK. Still….

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  2. I couldn’t agree more, unless it is “forced” retirement due to being a victim of downsizing when I was approx 51 in 2007. I NEED to work. I am now 60………it’s laughable what is “out there”. But yes, if I pretend that I am retired, it’s great 😉 DakotasDen

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    • I know somewhat of what you speak. Husband was forced out in GM bankruptcy. I had already quit and gone back to school. Now we were both unemployed. I tried to find work in my new field, no dice. I was over 50. It IS laughable what is available to those of us no longer young. But retirement is wonderful.

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  3. I went in to health related retirement and at first I hated it – missed working, missed people interaction and missed the feeling of earning my way in the world. But now – I wouldn’t trade it for the world – I love being able to come and go as I please, to do what I want when I want to do it and not feel guilty about doing nothing at all 🙂

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  4. I love how you described retirement. I feel the same way about time and space and even that sense of detachment. It’s freedom, I think, if I were to sum it up in one word (not that I ever sum things up in one word…lol!).

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  5. I love it…I still work, but hubby is retired and he often claims he has no idea what day it is…but he is not complaining…just stating a fact. I have a count-down app on my phone…only 793 days, 14 hours & 59 minutes before my retirement…

    Wonderfully written – beautiful photos 🙂

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    • I had a countdown too… though not on my phone, as that’s too technical for me. I had it on my calendar at work. Every morning I wrote the # of days on the calendar..one less each day. It was a morning ritual and meant a lot to me. Especially once I was under 1 year left.

      You’ll be surprised how fast (and yet how slow) it goes. Congratulations on getting closer!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I really enjoyed your description of retirement Dawn, sounds like you are in a great place at the moment! I’m envious. Loved the photos too.

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  7. You’ve described retirement very well. For me, it’s not having to talk on the phone, not having to be dressed and out of the house at a specific time too many days in a row, it’s having time to do nothing if that’s my choice. I too am resentful of thongs that are scheduled, which makes trips to town a chore. Dreaded. Not relished.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I HATE talking on the phone! So it’s a relief to have that part over for sure. Though now I have to talk on the phone about truck stuff…and that’s hard for me. But other than that it’s all good!

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  8. Retirement sounds pawsome.

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  9. This post and the comments have described retirement very well. Every time it snows I’m thankful I don’t have to go anywhere if I don’t want to. After driving 38+ miles one way to work each day, sometimes in some of West Michigan’s worst winter weather, it’s something I appreciate not having to do on a daily basis. I’ve come to love seeing it snow from the comfort of my home 😉 It’s also nice to be able to get out during the week to do my running around and avoid the weekend crowds.

    Another benefit of retirement is being able to travel whenever you want to, instead of waiting for weekends or vacation. Because we can. Like novelrambles, I truly appreciate being able to get up in the morning leisurely read while still in my jammies for as long as I want, instead of a quick cup of coffee before I hit the road. And, I have so many hobbies and interests, I’ll never be bored or at a loss as to what to do.

    Retirement rocks!

    Liked by 1 person

    • The snow is a very big part of me enjoying retirement. For awhile I didn’t think we’d get any this winter and I was ticked! My first winter in retirement and no snow to gloat about not having to drive in it! Thankfully we got a couple of snow storms so that I could be sure that yes indeed, not driving in a blizzard and rush hour IS a very good thing! 🙂

      I agree about travel too, though I find myself looking at the calendar to schedule travel and still leaning toward weekends until I remember I can go anytime!

      I’ll never be bored either. Isn’t that cool that we like so many different things?

      Liked by 1 person

  10. It sounds like heaven, Dawn. I may never experience it myself — that is, at the beginning of the rest of my (new) life — but I’ve had little visits with the feeling along the way. A month in Paris once, three months last winter in Arizona. Yeah, it’s a great feeling. And we know you are not letting your serious commitments fall by the wayside, either. More power to you!

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  11. Gee, Dawn, retirement echoes some of the same pluses as self-employment!!

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  12. I’m fiscally far from being able to retire, but working on a farm parallels retired life in one way: you hardly know what day it is. Work is 7 days a week, so who cares if it’s Wednesday or Sunday? No more cramming for the end of the week. It’s intense, but yet the most relaxing job I’ve ever had!

    Liked by 1 person

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