Thursday, September 4, 2008

Thoughts on Retirement

Well, school went back in yesterday without me for the first time in 30 years. I retired on July 27th, but of course I was off every summer, so I didn't really consider this "Retired" yet until everyone else was in there planning and working and the students were back behind their desks. Now I'm starting to actually feel retired.

I hear that many people who retire find it hard to adapt to not working. Apparently close to 80% of males who retire end up doing something else, not because they have to but because they just couldn't get used to "not working". It is still early, but I do not anticipate having this problem. I think two things will help me deal with retirement.

The first thing is that I planned my retirement for the last five years. When I got the forms from my employer stating that I was able to retire in June (I could have actually retired in January, but wanted to finish the year), I looked into the financial implications, attended the retirement seminars, and made a decision to retire this year. The result was that I had five years to prepare and plan. I put some additional funds into RRSPs, I made arrangements to have cars paid off, and loans finished, and I started thinking about all the things I had been putting off because there was never time to do it. Each year I saw retirement as one year closer. The interesting thing was that I was not one of those downtrodden, tired employees who saw retirement as a way out of a job that was no longer enjoyable. I loved what I did. I spent 30 years working in the field of education, teaching elementary children and as an elementary school administrator. When I retired I was principal of a little elementary school with 200 students. On the last day of school in June this year, I went to work with a smile and I left just as happy. There were lots of challanges over 30 years, but for most of those almost 5000 days, I loved my job. I had planned to retire, and what better way to finish up a career. I was happy with everything I had done, and although I'll miss some of the great staff I got to work with and will most certainly miss all the students, but I'm now ready to move on and get caught up on all the things I have put on hold or haven't been able to get to because I was too busy.

The other thing that I feel made retiring easier was that I had two excellent role models. My Grandfater retired early for his generation. I don't know the whole story, but my remembrances of his never involve him actually going to work. He often did things to make a bit of money, but generally he was always retired. He lived to be almost 90, and always seemed to enjoy life so much. He travelled all over the world, especially through Europe and Australia, and had so many interesting hobbies. They never had a lot of money, but they always found enough to do what that felt was important. My father was much the same. He ran his own business, building it from a small home based operation to a major player in the field, and he says that when he got big enough "To be a problem for the big companies", they offered him more than he was worth, and he has been laughing ever since, enjoying "Spending our Inheritance". He retired before he was sixty, and now almost 80, like his father, has travelled the world, and always finds something to keep himself busy.

We shall see how I make out . . . . . I have lots of plans, and I will post some of them and follow up on how it goes. It has only been three days so far . . .