Sunday, September 17, 2017

Why the Angst About Retirement, Dr Sock?


Hiking in the Landscape We Left Behind

Back at the end of May, one of my blogger pals, Donna Connelly, wrote to me and invited me to write a guest post on her blog, Retirement Reflections. It would be part of her Summer Series on Favourite Retirement/Lifestyle Bloggers that she planned to host.

I was thrilled to be invited! Donna's blog is excellent, and I read every one of her posts. The quality of her blog is noticed by others too. Retirement Reflections recently was listed as one of the Top International Retirement Blogs in 2017

Another really cool thing is that I have actually met Donna in person. Last winter, we spent a month on Vancouver Island checking it out as a possible place to retire (and as you now know, we did end up buying a house and moving to the Island). It was fun to meet face to face after first getting to know each other via our blogs. However, I unintentionally created an awkward moment for Donna, due to the fact that I blog under an alias and until recently have not posted any pictures of myself. Donna arrived at our meeting place a few minutes before me, and told the server that she was meeting a friend. The server asked her what her friend looked like, and Donna had to respond: "I don't know!"

Well, I am a person who is motivated by deadlines. So I sent Donna my guest post at the end of June, one day before her requested deadline. (What does it say about me that I was actually proud of myself for sending it one day BEFORE the deadline?)

Donna had suggested that I write about the experience of retiring, as I was just about to retire on June 30. So I did, pouring out my state of mind at the time. I titled it: Over the Threshold into Retirement.

I was filled with angst about retirement as the official date approached. I was focused on what I was leaving behind, and how hard it was to let it go. I decided to use this guest post to reveal some things about my work and identity that I had not blogged about before. Are you a little bit curious? Here is what I had to say:


After months – no, years -- of planning, I finally have walked through the door to retirement. I have received my last paycheque. In a couple of weeks, I will pack up my office at work.  I have bought a house in a different province, in a community closer to our kids and grandkids. And I have booked a moving date.  

Rethinking my Identity 

It has been an emotional roller-coaster. Regular readers will know that I have struggled mightily with the challenge of stepping away from my work identity. What you might not know, as I have not shared it until now, is why I have found it so hard to leave work.     Continue Reading...
 
An Island Hike
Now as I look back on my state of mind leading up to the decision to retire and the experience of crossing the threshold from work to retirement a few months ago, I kind of chuckle about the angst I felt.  As it turns out, I love being retired! It is an experience of more, not less.

16 comments:

  1. Hi, Jude - Thank you for Guest Hosting at Retirement Reflections, and for sharing that post here. Your post has been very popular on my site. I look forward to reading (and hearing) about your retirement adventures as they unfold! See you for coffee soon!

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    1. Hi Donna: Thanks again for inviting me to write a guest post on your blog. It is awesome that we now live near enough to each other that we can get together for coffee, etc!

      Jude

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  2. I love what you said about retirement being an experience of more, not less. I had received a card that said - Retirement is when you stop living at work and begin working at living. I like being retired, too.

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    1. Hi Mona: For some reason, when I was trying to decide whether to retire, I had a secret dread that I would spend my time alone in the dark, twiddling my thumbs and contemplating the meaninglessness of life. That is not at all what retirement is turning out to be. I feel like a kid in a candy shop! It took the words of many happy retirees to help me make the leap, and I'm glad I did.

      Jude

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  3. I just read your post over at Donna's - I'm glad things are working out for you. I'm five years in and although I felt the identity loss, it didn't last long and my new identity isn't that much different. I've just regrouped!

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    1. Anabel, I like the way you expressed it: "I have just regrouped!" I guess one's career identity doesn't really go away. It just gets less time allocated to it, while other facets have a chance to blossom.

      Jude

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  4. I can't understand those who struggle to keep busy in retirement. Unless there are some physical limitations, the whole world is just outside the door and it is beckoning. I'm glad you are enjoying your retirement!

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    1. Janis, I have many interests, and there are also so many new things that I want to try that there never seemed to be enough time for before. I have always been a "busy bee" never slowing down enough to be bored. So why do I worry that all my self discipline will crumble and I'll turn into a couch potato? I don't know. I guess I just like to worry!

      Jude

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  5. An "experience of more" - wow, I totally agree with this! We retired on the same day and we just got back from a two week trip to Colorado. It was incredible - and "more" than I ever could have imagined. I was excited about all of the possibilities in retirement, but I am more energized than ever! Heading over to read more of Retirement Reflections now!

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    1. Vicki, I would love to hear more about your trip to Colorado. You went there to attend a Mr. Money Mustache workshop, I believe? I hope that you blog about it.

      Once you read my guest post on Donna's site, you will find out that we have something else in common (besides retiring on the same day). We are both academics.

      Jude

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  6. Sorry about the delay in posting a comment, Jude. As you say yourself, this retirement lifestyle keeps one super busy and involved. It has its ups and downs, but far more ups than downs, and I wouldn't trade it for anything.

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  7. Karen, I am still at the very beginning of the retirement experience, and am being careful about what kinds of involvements I commit myself to thus far. I do not want to recreate the excessive busyness I experienced in the workplace! I spend a lot of lazy morning sipping coffee and reading.

    I am glad to hear that you are finding there are more ups than down, and that you are happy with retirement.

    Jude

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  8. What do you mean no thumb twiddling & existential angst? You mean that's not the essence of retirement? I'm shocked. However, I'm glad that you're enjoying your new lifestyle and are getting the hang of not being busy.

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    1. Yes, somehow I have been able to beat back the existential angst, and find uses for my thumbs other than twiddling.

      As for busyness, in my workplace, the standard response to "How are you?" was "Busy!" When I think back to it now, it seems kind of twisted. Did we think busyness was a good thing? Or was it a way of saying, "I don't have time for you," or an excuse for why we hadn't responded to their emails yet?

      I am glad to be having a chance to learn how to be less busy.

      Jude

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  9. Lol I am very late to this post but I so identified with it as I retired, at the age of 60 from a 34 year career as a licensed clinical social worker and psychotherapist. To be honest, I have not missed my "work" identity at all which has surprised me to some extent, as I enjoyed what I did and was good at it. I think there was some degree of burnout at play, during my last 10 years at the workplace there were significant administrative changes which impacted greatly on the quality of care clinicians could provide. We were expected to focus on paperwork and "outcomes" which was not patient centered.

    I am enjoying my time off, done a lot of traveling with DH, spent more time with grandkids, got a new puppy lol.

    I think the gift of time is so precious now, not having to clock in, and actually having time to do nothing. Congratulations on your retirement.

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    1. Teri, thanks so much for commenting. Our experiences seem quite similar. While I was still pursuing my career, I really couldn’t imagine what life would be like without the job, as my work filled most of my waking hours (and when I wasn’t actually working, I was thinking about work). That is certainly a recipe for burnout even in a wonderful job. I found the changes toward a primary focus on budget and accountability in my workplace discouraging, similar to the switch in your workplace to outcomes and paperwork.

      My big surprise is how little I miss working!

      Jude

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