06-16-2013   Leave a comment

I’m about a month away from completing my fifth year of retirement.  I think a celebration of sorts is called for because this has been one of the most difficult transitions I’ve ever had to make.

I’ve always been someone who readily adapted to change.  I’ve lived in many places over the years as required by my jobs and I worked my way up the corporate ladder twice with two different national companies.  I had hopes of a great retirement and pension but unfortunately both companies were purchased by other companies and neither survived that purchase.  You adjust because you must.  When there is no choice at all you pick yourself up and get back to work.

Fortunately that was one of the things my father made sure I had.  I had no fear of hard work and I also had a killer work ethic.  I worked my ass off for thirty years, 6 days a week, tons of travel, and change, change, change.  I started three business over the years and had reasonable successes with two and failed miserably in the third.  Shut up, get up, and keep on keeping on.

Making the change to early retirement was something I never thought I would get to do.  I’d already  excepted the fact that I’d be working until they found me slumped at my desk or in my car.  As in all things timing is everything.  After the failure of my two most important employers I took a public service position  with the State of Maine.  My fear of having another company hire me and then fail had sent me there. Whoever heard of a State going bankrupt?

The State of Maine surprised me a little.  They didn’t go bankrupt but they did call me in to tell me my work load was going to increase by 30% without a comparable wage increase.  I received a confidential call a short time later from a friend in the state capital who told me my position was on the chopping within two months. I had no choice and was lucky enough to be able take early retirement before the axe fell.  Hooray for me right?

Making the transition from workaholic to retiree was the worst.  I made the change immediately by giving Goodwill all of my suits, shirts, ties, and dress shoes.  I threw away my wrist watch because it was no longer something I needed.  It took at least eighteen months to find a comfortable rhythm for my life and to end the depression I was suffering with.

I hate making this sound like a sad story because it isn’t. I’m retired for God’s sake.  How can I possibly be whining?  I found these quotes recently that just made me laugh not because they’re all that funny but because they’re all so true.  My sense of humor has gotten through a lot of change and it’s things like these quotes that really help.

  • The money is no better in retirement but the hours are! — Author Unknown
  • "According to your latest data if you retire today, you can live reasonably well until 5 p.m. tomorrow."— Dave Erhard
  • My retirement plan is to find a shopping cart with good snow tires.
    — Patty Doyle
  • ‘The best time to start thinking about your retirement is before the boss does.’  Anonymous
  • ‘When a man retires and time is no longer a matter of urgent importance, his colleagues generally present him with a watch.’  R C Sherriff.
  • ‘It is time I stepped aside for a less experienced and less able man.’  Scott Elledge.
  • ‘There’s one thing I always wanted to do before I quit…retire!’  Groucho Marx
  • Retirement kills more people than hard work ever did – Malcolm Forbes
  • Except for an occasional heart attack I feel as young as I ever did – Robert Benchley
  • What do gardeners do when they retire? – Bob Monkhouse

I love being retired.  It gives a lot of freedom to do all those things I said I was going to do but never did.  I spend most of my time concerned with the care and feeding of my better-half who is still caught up in the rat race.  I try to be her stress reliever and to keep her as happy as I can.  I may bitch and complain about a lot of things but my life is good.  I’m what my Dad used to describe as, “fat (not too much), dumb, and happy”.

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