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Old 03-27-2008, 01:26 PM
 
Location: Tennessee
34,667 posts, read 33,667,394 times
Reputation: 51854

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This weekend I will be retired 1 year. I also moved 6 weeks after I retired but I've been reflecting on my retirement and these are the things I've learned.

1. I don't miss work. I worked for the same government agency for 34 years (different jobs). I still use some of my work skills in retirement and I'm very happy I acquired them (useful for hobbies, classes and dealing with people) but I don't miss the job itself and didn't miss it 5 minutes after I walked out the door. Since I was never unhappy at work, this surprised me.

2. Your friends from work are just that. My out-of-state friends that I have had for decades are still the people that keep in touch with me the most often, not the "friends" I worked with daily and who I socialized with on and off the job. I'm not sure if it's because they are still working and I retired and moved away or because they weren't really friends. But, I have also observed that others who retired and didn't move are just "Christmas Card friends," too.

3. Retirees I come in contact with regularly span the ages of 55 - 85 (I'm currently 56) and after the first week or two, I stopped noticing the age difference probably because they all are currently active, intelligent and/or skilled people and many of the older ones, especially, have lead extraordinary interesting lives.

4. I'm more observant and things in my surroundings interest me more now that I'm retired. I fell into the hobby of outdoor photography since I retired and as a result I hear bird sounds, I never heard before, look at trees and flowers, I would have walked right by before. If I see something I've never seen before, I take a photo and research what it is when I get home. I notice when the leaves change, the bugs come out and the flowers bloom. I'm curious about wildlife and farm animal behavior. When I'm standing in line at the store or the Post Office, I actually look around me at the people. I can tell you I lived 12 years in my last town and never visited the town park or explored any nearby location just to look around. I just wasn't interested enough to explore. I've already visited 6 state parks here and one National Park and have a boatload of photos to show for it. I would not have predicted this new interest in my surroundings. I'm always looking forward to visiting new outdoor locations.

5. My TV watching hours and reading habits didn't change when I stopped working. I still buy and read as many books as I used to. I still don't turn on the TV until dinner time. I still prefer to shop online. I still like new software. I still like reading and posting to assorted forums. I still hate housework. I still procrastinate. I still hate walking for the sake of walking (as opposed to walking TO something). I still go to bed when I'm tired, not at any particular hour at night. I still like taking classes/learning new things. In other words, retirement didn't change my good/bad personal habits like I thought it might.

6. I read the local newspaper for local news, city planning and event info. I really didn't care about what was happening in the town I was living in when I was working. I didn't watch local news (except when bad weather might impact the next day's commute) or read the local newspaper. I know more about this town (population pretty close to former town population) I retired to, than the last town I lived in for 12 years while I was working. I recognize people I don't know personally at town activities, now. If had I retired and not moved, would I have developed an interest in my former town? I don't know.

7. I'm never in a hurry/feel I have to rush since being retired. I still have to keep track of what weekly, monthly/annual events are scheduled but I don't look at the clock, just the calendar. I think I set my alarm clock about 3x since I have been retired.


I'm wondering if other retirees 1) feel the same way about not missing their work; 2) didn't stay close to their work friends in retirement but remained in communication with non-work friends from decades ago; 3) now think differently about people who are older than they are; 4) are now more appreciative/observant of their surroundings; 5) kept their same good/bad personal habits; 6) are now more interested in their town/area; 7) slowed down (not physically, but no longer rush anywhere) --- Anyone?
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Old 03-27-2008, 01:59 PM
 
Location: Prunetucky-on-the-slough
113 posts, read 447,338 times
Reputation: 44
Nice/encouraging post. Years away for us but having fun thinking about where to go (currently central coast of California) and what to do.
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Old 03-27-2008, 03:48 PM
 
Location: home...finally, home .
8,235 posts, read 18,505,219 times
Reputation: 17765
Thanks , Laura. You have just made me even more anxious to retire . Now that I know that I am leaving, it is all I think about, counting the days & all until June 26th. Although I am not unhappy at work, I feel that I have detached from my teaching job already .
Hope to hear more wisdom from you.
__________________
******************


People may not recall what you said to them, but they will always remember how you made them feel .
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Old 03-27-2008, 04:11 PM
 
433 posts, read 991,407 times
Reputation: 389
Great post, LauraC. I've been retired for several months. I intended to go back to work in January, but couldn't bring myself to do it. The extra money would be pleasant, but I value my freedom more.

1. I don't miss work. I worked at the same bank for 18 years in different jobs. I earned a good salary and was treated well, but I was happy to walk out the door for the last time.

2. After I left, I got together once for lunch with some of my work friends. I sat there looking around and realized that although I like them all, I had no interest in hearing what was going on at work. Since then I've declined their invitations. Without the context of work, we have little in common. Like you, I have old friends who live in different parts of the country.

3. I intended to move soon after quitting, but I decided to take more time to decide where to go, so I haven't met any retirees. I hope to move before the end of this year.

4. I'm also more observant. My job (working with computer systems) was stressful and intense, so it occupied a lot of my brain even when I wasn't at work.

5. I'm watching TV shows that I didn't have time for when I was working. For example, I used to watch only The Daily Show, but now I have time for The Colbert Report.

6. I'm also paying more attention to the paper and to things that are going on.

7. I'm never in a hurry. At first I didn't set the alarm, but because I love the early morning hours, I've returned to my routine of going to bed relatively early and setting the alarm for 6:00 am. Before, I had difficulty finding time to exercise, but now I go for long walks along the waterfront several mornings a week. I like running errands in mid-morning or mid-afternoon on weekdays.

I love being retired and I know how lucky I am.
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Old 03-27-2008, 09:09 PM
 
Location: WA
5,392 posts, read 21,382,389 times
Reputation: 5884
I retired about four years ago. I never missed work. I speak with some of my ex-co-workers on the phone every month or so. I feel the same way about people I always have, regardless of age... have acquaintances aged 30 to 75. I have more time to appreciate my surroundings and moved to a beautiful place. Habits have changed somewhat, some better some not. Keep up with local news but will not participate directly in politics. Slowed down the day I gave notice at work.
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Old 03-27-2008, 09:58 PM
 
Location: Deep in the Heart of Texas
1,479 posts, read 7,031,596 times
Reputation: 1908
I've been retired for seven months. I worked in management at the same company for 18 years, and for another company for 18 years before that. I was lucky to have earned a modest pension from both. While I loved my job, the day I left was the last day I thought about it. I've stayed in touch on a casual basis with a few former co-workers and my boss, but my social network was largely outside of the workplace. I now volunteer on a flexible schedule for a non-profit. I find my management and people skills useful, and I'm grateful for what I learned in the business world. I'm 58 and some of the other volunteers are over 70, and yet we are peers in every way. It's so easy to share skills and experiences with like-minded people who aren't in competition for promotions or salary increases. It's an entirely different experience, and I'm enjoying every minute of it. I still get up early, I make my husband a hot breakfast and get him off to work. (He has to work another year.) I have the time to make him a good dinner every night from scratch, that's ready when he comes home--no more "30 minute meals". I no longer feel bound by the clock. My time seems more valuable because it's all mine, and I seem to have more of it because I can control how I spend it. I run errands in the early morning when there's no traffic, lots of parking downtown, and no lines in the stores. I walk around the yard and see the crocus peeking above the mulch, and watch the birds carrying straw and string into the birdhouses as they prepare their nests. I stand on the porch and listen to the peepers and watch the sun climb over the trees. I read a couple of books a week, listen to music all day on the radio, and I'm taking classes in metalwork and enameling. Life is very, very good and I'm so very grateful for making it this far and being able to experience this milestone in my life.

For all of you who are yet to retire, you have something special to look forward to. Embrace it and don't look back!
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Old 03-27-2008, 10:07 PM
 
609 posts, read 1,912,438 times
Reputation: 230
Wow, great post. Sounds like I wrote it myself. I am 60 today, retired 19 years ago at 41 and feel and share the same thoughts as in your post.


Quote:
Originally Posted by LauraC View Post
This weekend I will be retired 1 year. I also moved 6 weeks after I retired but I've been reflecting on my retirement and these are the things I've learned.

1. I don't miss work. I worked for the same government agency for 34 years (different jobs). I still use some of my work skills in retirement and I'm very happy I acquired them (useful for hobbies, classes and dealing with people) but I don't miss the job itself and didn't miss it 5 minutes after I walked out the door. Since I was never unhappy at work, this surprised me.

2. Your friends from work are just that. My out-of-state friends that I have had for decades are still the people that keep in touch with me the most often, not the "friends" I worked with daily and who I socialized with on and off the job. I'm not sure if it's because they are still working and I retired and moved away or because they weren't really friends. But, I have also observed that others who retired and didn't move are just "Christmas Card friends," too.

3. Retirees I come in contact with regularly span the ages of 55 - 85 (I'm currently 56) and after the first week or two, I stopped noticing the age difference probably because they all are currently active, intelligent and/or skilled people and many of the older ones, especially, have lead extraordinary interesting lives.

4. I'm more observant and things in my surroundings interest me more now that I'm retired. I fell into the hobby of outdoor photography since I retired and as a result I hear bird sounds, I never heard before, look at trees and flowers, I would have walked right by before. If I see something I've never seen before, I take a photo and research what it is when I get home. I notice when the leaves change, the bugs come out and the flowers bloom. I'm curious about wildlife and farm animal behavior. When I'm standing in line at the store or the Post Office, I actually look around me at the people. I can tell you I lived 12 years in my last town and never visited the town park or explored any nearby location just to look around. I just wasn't interested enough to explore. I've already visited 6 state parks here and one National Park and have a boatload of photos to show for it. I would not have predicted this new interest in my surroundings. I'm always looking forward to visiting new outdoor locations.

5. My TV watching hours and reading habits didn't change when I stopped working. I still buy and read as many books as I used to. I still don't turn on the TV until dinner time. I still prefer to shop online. I still like new software. I still like reading and posting to assorted forums. I still hate housework. I still procrastinate. I still hate walking for the sake of walking (as opposed to walking TO something). I still go to bed when I'm tired, not at any particular hour at night. I still like taking classes/learning new things. In other words, retirement didn't change my good/bad personal habits like I thought it might.

6. I read the local newspaper for local news, city planning and event info. I really didn't care about what was happening in the town I was living in when I was working. I didn't watch local news (except when bad weather might impact the next day's commute) or read the local newspaper. I know more about this town (population pretty close to former town population) I retired to, than the last town I lived in for 12 years while I was working. I recognize people I don't know personally at town activities, now. If had I retired and not moved, would I have developed an interest in my former town? I don't know.

7. I'm never in a hurry/feel I have to rush since being retired. I still have to keep track of what weekly, monthly/annual events are scheduled but I don't look at the clock, just the calendar. I think I set my alarm clock about 3x since I have been retired.


I'm wondering if other retirees 1) feel the same way about not missing their work; 2) didn't stay close to their work friends in retirement but remained in communication with non-work friends from decades ago; 3) now think differently about people who are older than they are; 4) are now more appreciative/observant of their surroundings; 5) kept their same good/bad personal habits; 6) are now more interested in their town/area; 7) slowed down (not physically, but no longer rush anywhere) --- Anyone?
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Old 03-27-2008, 11:26 PM
 
13,313 posts, read 25,542,533 times
Reputation: 20477
Great posts, thanks to everyone who spoke.
I'm sure I won't miss the actual work I do (or the hours- third shift). I am accustomed to ongoing conversations with some co-workers- at night, there is time to talk about things not related to work. Remains to be seen if any people will become non-work friends. One problem is that, due to local real estate costs, people tend to live all over the place, and aren't necessarily nearby when at home.
I also look forward to paying more attention to local things. There's a great music school that has free concerts in my town, "Lunchtime Bach" and so on, and I don't go now due to working third shift and always being dead in the water or sleeping.
I also look forward to volunteering at things I cannot afford to try for a living, and am too tired to do on top of working.
I have been fortunate enough (or careless enough) to do a lot of things I thought I wanted to do while working- go back to school three times, play in a band/study music (good to find out one has zero talent!), have different jobs in different fields, join and quit Peace Corps... in short, a lot of the things people plan to do in retirement. I haven't spent that chunk of life being married or raising kids, so it took longer for me to figure out that I still had to do some "right things" to be financially stable/secure- like keep the same job in the same field for some time, buy a house.
I also figure that, in retirement, you're likely to spend even more time at home than while working, so it's a good idea to really like where you live. I live in my dream house, far more than I ever thought I could ever have. I'd be surprised if I sold and moved in retirement, although I do hope to spend some chunks of time in the Mountain West. Not much interest in travel for its own sake, although I've also done some of that.
Proof positive, I'm writing from work now at 1:30A. I could happily drop this field and never give it another thought. I don't hate it (although I hate "politics" and people B.S., like anyone) but I don't need this work for an identity or sense of self or accomplishment.
I hope more people post on this discussion. It's very encouraging.
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Old 03-28-2008, 12:23 AM
 
Location: Ohio
2,178 posts, read 8,072,249 times
Reputation: 3910
I retired a little over 5 yrs ago at the age of 56 and I don't miss my job of 30 years one bit. I do miss seeing some of the people and have kept in touch with a few that had become fairly close friends but the occasions are getting more infreguent as time goes by.
I still work part time at a machine shop my brother-in-law owns to help supplement the pension untill social security kicks in. That will be next January and then I will be done working. The part time job works out well for me because I kind of come and go as I please. I had the good fortune to work in a public service job that provided a fairly good pension at 30 years and out. I bought a 1949 Plymouth that I cruise around in and a small motorcycle to ride on nice days. I am restoring a 42 yr old motorcycle that had sat in a barn for about 30 years. It's coming along pretty good. I like doing stuff like that as a hobby. I have got a lot of things done to the house that I didn't seem to have time to do when I had to work full time.
I see my kids and grandkids more. I like the outdoors. I have more time to fish and go on camping trips or to just take a nice drive out in the country somewhere. I like to read and there is more time for that. My wife has a twin sister in Utah so we go out west once in awhile. Beautiful country out there in the mountain areas and the high desert. Lots of things to see.
I'll find enough things to do to keep me busy after I leave the part time job. My wife and I raised 6 kids and now it's time for us to do some things for ouselves that we couldn't afford to do while the kids were growing up. She is still working and plans on working a few more years. She likes to have her own money to do things with. She is 7 yrs younger than me and a few years away from retiring if she wants to work that long. It's up to her how long she works.
I'm glad I was able to leave the real job at an age where I am still healthy enough to do some things. I will keep busy. That is important. I won't be a couch potato retiree as long as I am physically able to move around.
Semi retirement is good. I think I needed the part time job just to kind of fill a void for awhile. Now I'm ready for the real thing.
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Old 03-28-2008, 06:29 AM
 
Location: Central Fl
2,903 posts, read 10,940,029 times
Reputation: 2860
What a great post.
This is the forum at it's best.
I am still 3 years away, but have already bought the house and have made great connections with neighbors, etc.

I do not think I'll miss work, but in some areas I will. There is just a special commorodarie (bad spelling) at the firehouse, borne of shared experiences that few others see or deal with. Also, guys tend to gauge their self worth on their vocation...I do not think I do, but many guys do, then are "lost" in retirement.

Frank D.
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