My Wife is Ready to Retire

I retired a few years back. A big part of my decision was based upon the ever changing job environment. What I described as “diverse experience across multiple years and technologies” unfortunately translated into “too old”. At the time I was 53 and had enjoyed for the most part where my career had taken me. But the powers that be did not feel I had a place in their future. And so began my retirement journey.

I have learned a lot over these last three years – most significantly that I have a lot to learn. It took me awhile to start figuring things out. Although somewhat at a loss in the beginning not always sure how my days would play out I feel I have evolved into a relatively happy, engaged, rarely bored retiree. Best of all I look forward to what tomorrow brings.

Now the time has come for my wife to join the ranks of we retired. I am excited about her becoming more a part of my daily life. And I look forward to sharing our respective second acts side by side.

After a successful career across multiple start ups Beatrice has had her fill of office politics. Dealing with inefficiencies that could easily be addressed if someone just took responsibility is no longer intriguing. It is time for something new. Although she will miss some friends from the job she has always been willing to make the effort to keep in touch with those she wants. And although the safe comfort of a place to go each day will be no more, she looks forward to the many new things she will be able to do with her free time.

She is excited – for the most part. What she is not 100 percent clear about is what she will do to stay busy and engaged once she leaves the job behind. Having worked steadily over the past decades she has only had to fill her weekends with worthwhile activities. Monday through Friday was spoken for by the demands of her career. Now suddenly her weekends will extend to seven days – that is a lot of additional free time. I can relate as this was the biggest single fear I faced when I first retired.

Her plan for now is to take it easy for a few months, enjoying a little downtime to recharge and contemplate the future. But not too far down the line she plans to look for work of some kind. The ideal would be a part time job without much of a commute doing something she enjoys that makes a difference. She is happy in the same line of work or willing to try something new. I support her completely. I have come to learn from readers and fellow retirees there is no reason work cannot be a part of the retirement mix especially if you like what you do.

My wife is very social with a wide range of friends scattered around the globe. She likes to get out and engage with people in the community. In our new digs she plans to reach out to neighbors and locals to learn the lay of the land as well as discover common interests. I see many a dinner party and afternoon get together in our future and look forward to it. She has always been interested in volunteering for worthwhile causes. Now she will have plenty of time to do just that.

One of my wife’s and my great loves is hiking. We are fortunate in that we live within a few miles of a wonderful national park with trails and vistas to fit every want. I imagine us exploring early morning strolls along winding dirt roads as the sunlight filters through majestic redwoods and ancient eucalyptus groves. I see us navigating the many paths to find the most challenging, most scenic, and most hiker-friendly for later down the road when we may no longer possess the fortitude to climb the highest heights. Should we need an alternative to the mountains, 12 miles down the road is some of the most beautiful coast line in the world. It is easy to picture a nice five-mile walk listening to the breakers booming along the shore, breathing in the fresh air, watching seals and gulls go about their merry way,  and ending up at a quaint café where a frothy cappuccino waits. Not too bad if you ask me.

I hope my experience evolving into a happy retiree might in some way help her hit the road running. Although we are different in many ways she will likely have to deal with a lot of what I went through coming up to speed. Why not learn from my mistakes? I will let her know that she does not have to stay busy every minute of the day. Sometimes it is okay to do nothing and if you enjoy what you are doing who is to say it is a waste of time. I will highlight the joy of an empty calendar as well as one filled with only those things you choose to do. I will encourage her to try new things she has never done before. I will recommend she revisit hobbies and passions she may have been forced to push to the wayside while busily employed full time. Now she has time. I will share with her my daily routine that sets aside time for exercise and creativity and exploration and relaxation. If difficulties arise I will remind her we are in this together for support, love and enjoyment. Together we are stronger. And I will invite her to join me in this retired world where the future looks promising and we have the enviable luxury to do what we want when we want.

Welcome to retirement my dear. So glad you are joining me. :)

The Joy of Part Time Retirement

It is a bit scary to think of retiring completely from the world you have come to know over the course of your career. During those memorable decades, you lived through good times and not-so-good times and dealt with challenges of all shapes and sizes. Hopefully along the way, you were able to establish an acceptable balance between work and relaxation. Whatever the case, making the switch to full-time retirement is a significant change, something we have no firsthand experience with. It sounds good, but are we ready?

Retirement for most of us is about getting away from the working world and refocusing our efforts on doing what we really want. By the time we reach that right age – which varies case by case – we are typically more than ready to leave behind the stress and pressure of a job to explore new interests. We have done our time, so onward to bigger and better things.

Yet most of us probably experienced at least a few good things while on the job. There is our relationship with co-workers established over the years, that group of confidants we share our lives with from 9 to 5 and often beyond. There is that feeling of accomplishment when a challenging task has been successfully completed. And keeping actively engaged with a dynamic situation makes us sharp and stimulates our brains to function at their peak. Perhaps there are some things about the job we might like to carry over into retirement.

My ideal retirement – a work in process – would combine the freedom of retired life with what are, for me, the best parts of a job. I am looking for a balance between relaxation and pursuing something along the lines of my own small business. Although each of us will need to find the right formula to create an ideal part-time retirement, here is what I have in mind:

Living a fulfilling retirement stays priority No. 1. Since it has been a difficult path getting here, I plan to fully enjoy the freedom and flexibility of being retired. I will stay in control of how I spend my day. My mission statement: “Have fun, try new things, enjoy the moment and never be bored.” If I decide to work in some capacity during my retirement, I will not allow the job to dominate my days. I have been there and done that, and no more. Now that I am in control, I can make those adjustments and tweaks to assure I maintain my retirement’s first priority.

The work I do will be strictly part time. Since I am officially retired, I have no wish to work 40 hours a week. Any work I undertake will be strictly part time. I am a morning person, so the ideal part-time retirement would allow for my business activities to take place before noon. Dedicating three to four hours first thing in the morning, when I am at my best, leaves me the rest of the day to explore other retirement options. By getting the work done first, I pave the way to having fun. Come noon, all work-related activities should be in my rearview mirror.

The work I do will be something I am interested in. If it is not interesting and I do not have to do it, why would I? There are lots of meaningful, worthwhile, fun options to consider. I am no longer limited to what will bring in a paycheck. And there is no problem with a little trial and error. I am looking for that part-time business that fits in with and compliments – rather than monopolizes – my day.

I can work from home. Even better if I can work from the beach! I have done a lifetime of commuting and waiting in traffic. If I am going to consider any retirement job, it cannot require me to waste my time and sanity stuck in traffic. The flexibility to work remotely is a big reason I believe a part-time career will fit in with the retirement I envision.

Money is not the main driver. I accept that my part-time venture will not result in near what I made while employed full time. That is OK. What I hope for is a steady incremental improvement over time. I am happy to start small and build gradually. Controlling the rate of growth is yet another benefit of the part-time job I look forward to in my retired life.

All goals will be realistic. Since I have no desire to build an empire, the goals I set will be reasonable. Since there is no timeline for success, I will progress at a natural pace. And since it is my business, I am the board of directors, CEO and ultimate decision maker. If somewhere down the road, the job starts to take more effort than I feel it is worth, I will gracefully exit and look for my next adventure.

These are a handful of important considerations to help facilitate a part-time retirement. Since this will be our first time at it, I am sure there will be adjustments along the way. And if for any reason we decide we do not want to include work as part of our second act, we are free to leave it in the dust and move on. It is all about creating an environment that allows us to enjoy our own personal joy in retirement.

From my blog for US News & World