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I have been fortunate to experience what retirement feels like at the brisk age of thirtyish. I do have some caveats for this statement. This experience was due to Coronavirus and not by choice. I still worked part-time but was paid for full-time. This resulted in an excessive amount of free time. It was an experiment in retirement. All before I quit during the Pandemic. This is what I learned.
Grab a good book and get comfy, we are about to lean into relaxation.
It Feels So Good!
My short stint with retirement was quite enjoyable. After the mini panic attack, more on that later. It felt good to have an opportunity to think about, what do I want to do now? My life before this golden hour seemed to be inundated with a constantly growing to-do list: paint the sheds, laundry, just keep cleaning, and while you’re at it, cooking too. Sometimes life gets so jam-packed with stuff you “need” to accomplish you lose sight of the living part. It feels like life is just a cruel joke of a never-ending list of adulting.
Retirement makes all of that moot. Now, I have an ample amount of time to accomplish all the things and so much more. The “more” part is where I blossomed. I learned that I enjoy having more time to read, draw, write, and run. Not to mention hike. So. Much. Hiking. I cried a lot during this period. I chalked that up to the excessive amount of oxygen laced nature drug. Weird nature affinity aside, turns out I enjoy life when I have more time to enjoy it.
This Feels A Lot Like a Panic Attack!
Truthfully, all this started with what felt a lot like a panic attack. If I had to guess, it was a circuit overload. First, there are all the things that still needed to be done. You know, that cleaning and cooking, rinse and repeat madness. Next up, there is free time to do “other” things. The dialogue was somewhere around: Do I want to do those things now? Maybe I should save it for the back to work time, which I know like a dark thunderstorm, is looming on the horizon? Do I want to try new things? It felt like a firehose of thoughts and my brain couldn’t process it all. Instead, my brain focused on a racing heart and the deluge of unanswered questions. Luckily, this was short-lived and I fixed with lunch, meditation which turned into a nap. Ah, change. Brings out a wild ride of emotions!
Lessons in the Less Fun
Turns out, there are some things I am not a fan of. Having less structure and not interacting with people were at the top of that shortlist. Turns out I miss talking to people, which was shocking for this self-proclaimed introvert. I guess I am more of an ambivert than I thought. That’s neat, learning is fun. I also miss having a purpose in my day. Before this golden era, I used to get excited about time off but now there seemed to be less excitement about nonworking time.
This trial run of retirement leads to the realization that I would like a dash of employment when I retire. Probably not forty hours but a few days a week seem optimal. Just enough to keep me on track with what I want to do in my off time and force me to interact with humans.
As my schedule changed and work returned to “normal”, I aggressively pursued a more mindful approach of what I let back into my life. I wanted more hobbies and less business. When I do embark on tasks, I want to be more mindful of what I am doing and why. Not just bringing excessive busyness into my life without reason. Turns out I value time more than money. Which may not have always been a prominent theme in my life. Making less than average pay tends to push me into making more whenever possible, even to the detriment of my sanity. No bueno, BuLL Crew.
The Golden Reflections
Retirement is AMAZING. I was happier, healthier, and more aware of what I want and don’t want in my life. I am fortunate to have a personalized experience of that. Now, I can move forward with more intention and craft a plan that will enhance my permanent retirement not to mention work on that life list. This experience helped me to gain insight into what the future may hold. It is now my favorite bright shiny finical object!
Life. If it isn’t throwing lessons at you, it’s throwing blessings at you. My motto – make the best of every opportunity. After all, can we judge if it’s a lesson or blessing while we are in the middle of it?
What are some of your unexpected life lessons or blessings?