10 retirement insights after one year of being retired.
When I retired last October, I thought I knew exactly what retirement would be like. Many of the expectations I had did come true, but there were several surprises as well.
Today I’ll share my revelations in hopes those of you considering early retirement might be better prepared for it.
#1. Weekdays became the Best Days of the Week
Working Monday thru Friday it was obvious that I couldn’t wait until the weekend. Friday nights were my last night and on Saturday I felt free. I loved Saturday’s
The feeling of dread would begin on Sunday evening when I knew I had to go to work Monday.
Then Monday afternoon would hit and I would begin to prep for work. Monday nights were the worst because I knew I had 5 nights of work to do plus overtime. Each night got worse as the work increased. Then it would be Friday again and I could see a glimmer of hope.
Now I love the weekdays and nights. Most people are at work and the kids are in school so I have a lot of peace and quiet. There is less traffic, less noise. Weekends are for the workers and I let them have it.
#2. My Ex Co-Workers believe I will return
There’s a lot of crazy people at my former job who believe the only way out is through disability or death. They continue to contact me and ask if I’m bored, broke, ready to return. They tell me how crazy the workplace is and ask for advice. I’ve decided to stop telling people I’m retired. Too many questions and too many assumptions.
If I decide to jump back into working it will not be at my former job.
#3. I’m Busier than Ever
I started a business and I’m busy making it grow. I get to use my creative thoughts and that’s something I was unable to do while working. I volunteer. I indulge in my hobbies. My time belongs to me and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
The difference is that I went from doing things I HAD to do, to doing things I WANT to do. Which makes all the difference in the world.
#4. I’ve gained weight.
I am working on my feet which are now feeling the effects of standing on a hard floor for 34 years. Once my left foot heals I will head back to the gym and lose some weight. The good thing is I don’t have to spend 10 to 12 hrs standing anymore.
When I was younger, I could work out and eat pretty much whatever I wanted. No longer. As I gained that extra muscle, I didn’t lose much fat, so my weight went up (even while my waist size shrunk).
My plan is to eat cleaner and incorporate walking until I can lift some weight.
#5. I’ve Gotten Very Comfortable Wearing flip flops and sweats.
I never wore sweats to work and always had to wear closed end shoes. I love having my toes out all day now.
I love wearing workout pants they refresh my soul. I can throw on a t-shirt, workout pants and I’m out the door. These are now my clothing wear of choice. I’ve gotten to the point where even putting on jeans feels uncomfortable.
#6. My Relationship with my kids are much better.
I assumed that retirement would give me more time with son and daughter, but I didn’t know how meaningful and far-reaching this time would be.
Here’s a sampling of the impact so far:
- My son and I talk and laugh much more now. Retirement gives us lots of time to connect.
- I am available to help him with his job search (recently began working) We discuss his future, dreams and goals.
- My daughter and I go out regularly shop and ship my business products. I call her my intern and she helps when she can. I have time to explore day programs for her and talk to other parents with autistic children.
- My daughter and I took a girl trip (cruise). My son, daughter an myself took a road trip to the mountains.
- I am able to visit my mother more and not have to worry about asking for time off work.
- I don’t have to rush anywhere. My time belongs to me.
In addition to helping connect with family, being retired has allowed me to connect with friends, and meet new people.
This is probably the most rewarding part of early retirement for me and completely unexpected. It’s been a great surprise.
#7. I’m Learning and Growing More than Ever
Retirement is the time to kick back, down-shift, and relax, right? Only if I want to but I’ve been pushing forward more than I ever have and am loving it! I am learning and growing in ways I completely didn’t expect.
- I’m reading more than ever.The library and I are on a first-name basis. I’m there several times a month. I’m reading on personal growth, fitness, blogging, and a whole host of non-fiction topics. I’m even re-reading some fiction.
- I’m learning from YouTube.You can find videos on how to do anything these days. Now that I have time, I’m learning how to cook better, make cocktails and write, I co-wrote a book this spring so now I’m a best- selling author.
- I’m consuming podcasts.I listen to a lot podcasts. I’m learning about a whole host of topics, plus getting lots of input on business issues that keep me sharp.
- I’m assembling lots of puzzles.I now have time to do puzzles so not only do I sell puzzles as a part of my business I enjoy putting them together also.
I’m interested in a lot of things, and now I have the time to learn about them too. I thought I would have some time for this, but the amount and diversity of learning has really surprised me.
#8. I Wish I could have retired earlier.
I love retirement so much that I often wish I could have retired earlier, back when my kids could have really benefited from having me at home every day. I could have written a book earlier. I could have started a business earlier. Working is great for some people but I’ve wanted to retire as far back as I can remember. I’m grateful that I was able to retire when I did. I have a lot of ex co-workers who see no end in sight and that is very sad.
I’ve since eased into my new normal, and I love it.
#9. The Stress is Gone
We all hear about stress and how it impacts our health, and so forth. But having lived with it for so long, it was normal to me. I didn’t realize just how much it was impacting me.
Having a disabled child, I realize there will always be some stress in my life but work only compounded the stress.
Once I retired, I could literally feel the stress melt away. It was that tangible. I was destressing after 34years and 11 months of constant pressure.
I sleep better. My temperament is better.
I was surprised at just how noticeable it was. My son and daughter noticed I was much more relaxed.
#10. I’ve Turned into a Morning Person
There are morning people, and there are night people. I have been a night person my whole work life. I worked night shift 33 years. It was convenient when my kids were young but it takes a toll on anyone as I had to struggle to sleep during the day.
I didn’t know what would happen sleep wise once I retired. I didn’t attempt to make a schedule.
I’m now up and starting my day by 8 am most days. But the beauty is that I can stay in bed for as long as I like.
The big difference now, though, is that life is so much more exciting. I wake up and get my daughter’s day started and then I start my goals for the day.
Plus, less stress helps my sleep to be more restful, so I feel better with less sleep now than I did with more sleep while working. I recently read a book titled “The Perfect Day Formula” and I’m trying to follow the tips in the book to make my day’s more productive.