We have spent many mornings either on the phone or at the financial investors office the past 5 weeks trying to get all of our finances in order so we can officially say we are retired. It is hard to imagine that after many decades of planning, of sometimes making decisions between a gallon of gas or a gallon of milk, we finally are getting to reap the benefits of an income without going down the road to work. It is a weird feeling just having money go into the bank accounts like the paychecks used to go in. It almost feels illegal.
It has been a little over a month now since my Best Half retired and no longer has to get up at 4 AM and travel 50 miles one way to work each day. Many have asked us how it is going and if we are adjusting. So I thought maybe a little update was in order.
Week one left us both a little dazed after many get-togethers and retirement parties for him at the clinics he worked at. His last week of work was spent finishing things he had going at the clinics and then saying his good-byes to coworkers and supervisors alike. For 38 years he worked at these clinics with many of these people. His very last drive up North and back home on his last day left him a bit reflective…and a little freaked out too. The wondering if he made the right decision to retire a year earlier than he had planned.
For the first week many hours were spent quietly processing his decision and beginning to adjust to a new sleep schedule. The first few days he finally stayed up past 9 PM and woke up about 8 AM. When the third morning came and it was getting a little past 8 AM, I suggested we maybe needed to get on a little earlier wake up than after 8AM. Afterall, there’s things to do, places to go and people to see. So week one was pretty much a quiet week of letting him kind of process all the changes that have come with retiring. Phase one of retirement as we call it.
Week 2 of retirement passed with him up and at it by 7 or 7:30 every morning. He really did have things to do and places to go and people to see. The garage furnace was turned on and he spent a good part of his days out there reorganizing his space and tools and such. And he spent time finishing up fixing things that got kind of set aside when he was working full time. We now have a well organized garage that 2 vehicles could easily fit in if we wanted. But I really have never seen a Minnesota garage that cars were actually parked in. It’s usually the more important items like boats, and snowmobiles or the snowthrower or ATV with the plow. But he now has space, “his space” that he can work on things like the snowblower and the vehicles. The Jeep, van, truck and Big Eddie all have washer fluid filled and all the levels of oil, brake fluid, and antifreeze are where they should be. And I usually have a list of things needing his attention. So for me, his retirement has so far been awesome, because things are getting done that he never had time for when working.
Week 3 was spent going down the road to the neighbors house a few times a day to take care of their German Shepherd while they were down at Mayo doing medical things for a few days during the week. Annie, the dog, and my Best Half had fun playing Frisbee and chatting together. It was a good thing for him to do as he has always been a little scared of other dogs. When he was a little guy, he was attacked by a Collie and had stitches in his head and face in which he still has scars. So Annie did a good deed by being his buddy that week. The only problem was that his girl, Zoe our Lab, got Annie’s scent on him and was a little more clingy to him.
And finally in the past few weeks, I do believe he is settling into retirement and beginning to enjoy the lifestyle of not having to go up and down the road to work daily. He has developed a sort of routine which involves getting many things done around the house he has wanted to do, getting into his hobbies like rock polishing, jewelry making with the rocks, and running errands without me. We have discovered that as long as I hate shopping so much, he will take on that responsibility. Sometimes I go with and just sit out in the Jeep watching the people and reading. Sometimes I will go in and shop with him, but I love the fact that I no longer will have to go into stores and shop. Yes, I hate shopping that much.
While we both have hobbies and things we like to do separately, it has been so much fun being able to drop what we are doing and take a drive, or do a project together, like the Christmas baking. Of course that involves me baking and him taste testing the stuff coming out of the oven. He calls it quality control. It has been fun to be spontaneous with our plans.
Each morning after he feeds the dogs and I do my Tai Chi stretches we meet up at the kitchen table for breakfast and chat about the day ahead. It may be about the weather for the day and some news we have read online or just chit chat . It has become a habit of ours this past month, the two of us just doing some catching up, a little at a time. We haven’t really been at the breakfast table together over the last 38 years. I think we both are getting into this retirement journey we have set out on. That day in the financial planner’s office when we were rolling over the finances and setting up stuff, we just looked at each other in excitement and absolute amazement…we did it…we are retired!