Back when I was looking at things to do before I was 50, there were a few items that looked rather, well, boring. Tick box items that were more “being a good little human and taking control of my life” rather than anything worthy of a 50 things list. And one of those items was something like “blah blah blah plan my retirement blah blah blah”.
To be honest, I didn’t know what it exactly meant, or would mean, when I put it on my list, and I thought it might be one of the items that I did during the year but wouldn’t include as an actual numbered item in the end. Just a to do list thing, nothing “list-worthy”.
And then a few funny things happened. I had a conversation with my brother about his so-called retirement. He’s doing a bunch of contract work and really enjoying the freedom of choosing the contracts he’s interested in and passing on those he isn’t, as well as doing a lot of work from home rather than in an office every day. Huh. That sounded appealing, although not necessarily the types of projects he’s doing, mainly as I have other interests, and I showed enough interest that he was asking what my plans were for retiring — going early? Anytime soon? Forming our own company? No, I’m not planning on going early, so that’s not an option, but it did get me to doing more thinking about what I *do* want to do after I formally retire.
A little while later, a coworker retired. She was on pre-retirement anyway, and basically just got fed up with the day-to-day crap that often weighs us down in any job and so she put in her papers and left. And I was highly envious. Not quite to the level of jealousy, but I envied her the freedom.
Which was a bit odd, because at various points of my life, I have derived a lot of my personal identity from my job and occupation. Equally, I generally have liked my job over the last ten years, and I would say considerably more positive than negative over the last 25. Was I really looking that forward to retirement? I hadn’t necessarily thought so, not in any “keen” sense, particularly as when I retire, Andrea will still have some years to go.
Finally, I took a retirement course that’s offered through work and it covered a range of topics. And I found myself getting REALLY excited about the idea of retirement and the things I plan on doing. Not surprisingly, a lot of things are ones that I want to do NOW but just never quite seem to have the time between work, errands, playing chauffeur, being too mentally tired at the end of the day, etc. And very few of them look much like going into an office to work.
And as I got excited, I started thinking more about a generic phrase that was running through my head…am I making ALL the investments that I need to NOW in order to retire the way I want? Health-wise? Education and learning? And even more simply, what does retirement look like to me and for me? A rare opportunity to think of your future in relatively selfish terms. Sure, some of it will be shared with Andrea and Jacob, but not 24/7 obviously. Writing is likely to figure prominently. Astronomy and photography I hope. A decent routine to my week that is a bit more relaxed than 9-to-5. No commuting, god I want to stop that now. Cooking. There are bigger items too like travel here, there and everywhere, but for day to day living in Ottawa, the freedom is inspiring.
Suddenly, the topic became list-worthy, indeed.
So I’m going to blog about some of the aspects of retirement and what it might look like, the issues that I think people aren’t talking about in the right terms (like in the course I took), questions that I’m wrestling with, etc. First up on the list? What I gleaned from the retirement course.