Fifteen Weeks of “Retirement”

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On October 9, 2015, I worked the last day at my job. I had loved the job for 12 years but things were changing, the job was getting harder, and health issues were getting in the way. And so, I wrote a letter of resignation, worked a final four weeks, closed my office door, and went home.On Friday it will be 15 weeks since my “retirement.” These first few months have felt like a vacation. I’ve watched the clock, feeling as if my time is limited; feeling as if the ball will drop at any moment and once again I’ll have to climb out of bed in the morning and head for the office. I’ve awakened every morning and raced through my day, trying to cram in as many activities and chores as possible, constantly looking over my shoulder at the calendar hanging menacingly on the wall, and feeling a strange sense of guilt, like a schoolboy playing hooky. 15 weeks in and my head is only now just beginning to adjust to the idea that my time really does belong to me.

Getting up from my desk has done me a world of good physically. So far, I’ve  lost 8 lbs. by by doing nothing except not sitting at my desk.  At home I’m on my feet more. I eat better food. Since I’ve been home, I’ve cleaned up the clutter that have wound their way into my closets and drawers over the years. I’ve cleaned up computer files and tossed out half of the kitchen junk drawer. I’ve rolled coins, organized attic shelves, and cleaned the basement. What surprises me the most are all of the things I still haven’t found the time to do. By this time, I expected to have my entire house neat as a pin but there are still plenty of chores waiting. I let them wait while I took an extra vacation. One day at a time…

When I quit my job I had a lot of concerns. I thought I might feel lonely, but I don’t. I thought I might get bored, but I haven’t. I thought I might miss the money from my paycheck, but so far it’s not been that bad. Probably because my husband always did make enough money to support us and because I didn’t make much money anyway.

Do I miss my job? No. I wonder about the friends that I’ve left behind. I wonder how they’re doing and what they’re doing. I still feel guilty because they have to be there and I don’t. But that world that I lived in for so long seems so far away now. For 15 weeks I have had no desire to go back for a visit. In fact, I dreaded the thought of going back and so I didn’t except for one day around Christmas time. I’ve wondered if that feeling of dread would ever go away. It’s taken 15 weeks, but I think, just maybe, I could look at that building now without it making me feel tired.

This week something changed. I get up in the mornings and I feel relaxed. I’m not watching the clock. I don’t find any need to look at the calendar. I don’t feel worried about how much time I don’t have. 15 weeks it seems, was the magic number.

I am loving my freedom. I love not caring what time it is.  I love eating when I’m hungry instead of grabbing an unhealthy snack to “hold me over.” I love knowing that today is all mine and if I don’t get something done today, well, there’s always tomorrow and tomorrow is all mine too.

15 weeks down. It will be interesting to see what the next 15 bring.



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