Friday, November 7, 2014

Retire Already

One of my closest friends from childhood is finally about to retire.  I say "finally" because her plans have been a very long time in the making and she wasn't exactly in a hurry.  She's single, has a nice house, and grown children.  She's weathered two divorces and raised her kids on her own. Totally on her own. And now, now she's scared of a silly thing like retirement and has asked me for advice.  :I'm good at dishing out advice. Not as good at taking it but when it comes to helping friends (who ask for help), I can be very, very good.

So, here's my advice.

Take a vacation.  Right away.  If you have any doubts about your decision, if you wonder if you have done the right thing, this will clarify it all in a very short time.  Have a great time when you are away and then, the day before your return, pretend you have to go back to work.  But you don't. Ahhhhhh.

Don't start sorting out, cleaning out, organizing or becoming a domestic goddess.  It is not worth it.  When you went to work, you probably dreamed of the day when you would have time to "do it all", to finally have closets and drawers all perfectly groomed as if they were going to be inspected by the military police.  So, you tidied up every morning and went off to your job.  Trust me, you will live in more of a mess than you have ever before and that, my friend, will be an indication of your happiness.  If you start out trying to keep a perfectly clean and organized home, your retirement might be pretty much dedicated to just that.

Find a class that meets during the day and join it.  Even if it isn't something that you are totally interested in, you probably will meet your new set of friends or at least one, who is also retired.  Forget about the "work friends" who send you off on that last day with promises to "get together for lunch soon".  Never happens so don't count on it.

Look for your creative voice and listen to it. You're human, it's there.  It might be way down deep inside there, in that place it got shoved when someone, maybe a parent, told you that the key to happiness came in having a "real job" and you got the message that to be creative was not a good thing.  Well, I got news for you.  Find a way to open up that channel.  Buy some paints, a brush, and a big pad of mixed-media paper and play with color.  Don't worry about making "mud".  If you stick to your palate, you won't make mud.If you don't know what that means, get a book and find out.

Do not concern yourself for one minute with the question of "boredom".  I have not had one real bored minute since I retired.  Work, for me, was incredibly boring and it sucked so much life out of me. Enjoy pulling your own strings, making your own decisions, never, ever having to sit through a business meeting, a seminar, a year-end performance review or the worst of the worst, a "setting goals" meeting with your boss.It won't take you long to wipe the mission, vision and values of your former employer, right off your brain. Enjoy the good laugh.

Play with your friends and let them know how much you appreciate them. They will give you so much more validation as a person than any boss or co-worker ever did.

Write real letters.

Never do a "full" grocery shopping again.  How will you know what you want to eat on Friday if today is Monday?  Shop for it on Friday.

Hang your clean sheets on the line.

Get rid of anything that isn't comfortable to wear.  Treat yourself to one good "lounging outfit" and don't get dressed for the day until you really have to.

Buy a new coffee mug.  One that makes you feel like hugging your coffee as you read your morning paper.

Be happy.  Don't worry.  Be happy. Don't worry.  Be happy. Don't worry. Be happy.  Don't worry.

Cherish every moment.

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