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No More Squirrel Memos: A Retirement Update

I am six months into retirement, and because so many of you (at least five or six) have asked, I thought I’d provide a few updates on the next phase of my life:

The most frequently asked question is, “How’s retirement?”

It has been fantastic thus far. I’ve tried to be as honest as I can with my answer without showing too much excitement. Just know, I am way happier inside than I probably show. I do this for your benefit, not mine.

The second most asked is, “Are you keeping active?”

When I hear that question, I think, “I have spent my almost-40 year career at a desk, hunched over a computer for many hours a day; I don’t need to be all that active in retirement to match the daily energy spent during my days at the office.”

I answer, “Yes.”

Some have also said, “I’d retire but worry about keeping my mind active.”Having been retired for six months, I can confidently say, “I’d go back to work, but I want to keep my mind active.”

I’ve worked since I was 15 years old, part-time during high school and full-time the rest of the way, including college. For the first few weeks of retirement, I felt like I was on vacation rather than entering a new phase of life. Then I took a six-week holiday overseas and didn’t attend one Zoom meeting, check voicemail, look at Microsoft Teams, or read a memo reminding me not to feed the squirrels in the employee parking lot, and I was entirely transformed.

To pass the time, I engage in many of the cliched activities. I read and write more, I’ve taken up a musical instrument, studied a little French, enjoy the periodic nap, and have joined a gym, which I once said I would never again do. I ease into each day. I don’t set an alarm unless it’s for something fun, in which case, I usually don’t need the wake-up call. I thoroughly enjoy my morning coffee. I visit my daughters, hang out with my granddaughter, listen to music, and may have a glass or two of wine before 5:00 pm (or noon)…on a weekday…mostly when my granddaughter isn’t around.

I realize that retirement isn’t for everyone. Some can’t see themselves not working, nor can yet afford to retire. I get it. I am fortunate enough to both retire at my age and want to retire at my age, not so much because I hated my career (disliked immensely sometimes, but never hated), but because I was in a position where I had options to pursue other interests and passions. Yes, as much as I enjoy retirement, I feel I’m not done “working.” I don’t know what the next chapter might be. I could go anywhere from bartender to board member. Consultant to career counselor. Who knows? I certainly don’t. For now, I’ll continue researching the benefits of afternoon naps.

How about you? Any retirees, soon-to-be retirees, or wanna-be retirees who’d like to share thoughts, stories, or questions with me.? I’d love to hear them.


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