I mentioned in an earlier post (Hundred-day mandates) that I am doing a countdown to my retirement, just under four years away. And, as with most things in my life, I like to plan and prepare for them consciously, ensuring that I am mentally aware both of the passage of the event in order to celebrate it, see it for what it is, etc. AND to make sure that strange unexpected aspects don’t knock me on my butt.
For most people, they think being prepared for retirement is just about finances. And, of course, on one level, it is. But there are also the physical, mental, social and emotional sides too. Take social, for example. It is likely the easiest to see — many people have very active social networks at work; after all, they spend 1/3 of their day there, 1/3 commuting or at home and 1/3 sleeping. Lots of people suddenly feel very lonely in retirement as they lose that network and if they haven’t planned in advance, it may take them quite some time to replace it. Or there is classic retiree puttering around the house with nothing to do.
I’m not worried about the physical side, or the activity side. I have niggling worries about finances, as we all do, but I’ve got good options and with a dual-income family, we should be fine. But there is an emotional side that I don’t fully comprehend yet, and the social side actually worries me. I am not an extrovert who joins groups easily, nor am I one with a huge social network of friends to do stuff with regularly. There is a very real possibility that upon retirement, I’ll sit in my basement writing and blogging, isolating myself further.
So, as I said, I’m consciously preparing.
A hundred-day milestone — 1400 days until I turn in my ID card
I went through the calendar up to my planned date of retirement in August 2027, and used Excel to count backwards in 100-day increments. Today, October 27th, represents 1400 calendar days until my last day at work, where at “5:00”-ish, I’ll turn in my ID card and be done. I thought I knew where that would be already, i.e., which department and job, but I don’t. Things have shifted in the last six months, and my “last” job will not be my last job after all. I will likely be looking for something new in the near year. In the meantime, I’m counting down over in the sidebar:
Today was the first of the 14 milestones between now and my retirement. So I kind of took it for a test drive. I had originally thought about trying to do some sort of special dinner out with Andrea and Jacob to build momentum, but that’s not really what my retirement is about i.e., I won’t be going out for dinner all the time.
Equally, with my original plan a bit of a bust, I looked at other people’s ideas. But most of them were more about doing something “special” like a bucket list item, and that too isn’t really about my day-to-day retirement. The more I thought about it, the more I wanted it to be like an actual day of retirement.
So I didn’t rush getting up, nor did I loll around in bed. I got up, did some personal things around my office, and worked for a bit on a project. Then I had a hot shower.
Then I went out and ran a couple of errands for personal health stuff. You know, the types of appointments that you need to do, but scheduling them around your work hours is a bit of a pain? Well, I had some lab work to do, and I ran over and did it this morning.
Early afternoon arrived, and I had a massage booked. My lower back has been acting up of late, and while I mostly deal with the chiro side of things, I wanted a more nuanced approach. We have a good RMT for Jacob, and I have used her too, but it’s been awhile. She had managed to squeeze me into an hour-long session (there were only 45 on the schedule, but she bumped some stuff for me!). I may be dead, but hopefully my back will be better.
Then I headed out for lunch. I know, I know, how is this different from dinner? Well, the dinner was with other people. The lunch was just a simple treat for myself for making the effort to do all this when life is giving me lots of reasons not to bother, just to keep my head down and get through things.
While I won’t be able to afford regular lunch and dinner outings, nor breakfast, I do want to treat myself from time to time to a simple breakfast outing. Maybe once a month, I’ll go to a different diner or restaurant. I was going to go for breakfast this morning after dropping Jacob at school, but he wasn’t feeling well and didn’t go this morning; since I wasn’t already out, I just grabbed food at home and did other things before I went out for the massage. I prefer going out for breakfasts, but a lunch option was good too.
After the massage, I stopped at the nearby new Lone Star Restaurant out in Kanata. I hadn’t been to the new one, which seems more like a store than a restaurant, at the end of a small strip mall. But a bunch of the others are like that, too, I don’t know why it seems “different’. It’s bigger inside than I was expecting, but the food is the same — I grabbed steak fajitas today, along with a drink, and read a book on my Kindle while sitting at the bar. It was a pretty quiet outing for mid-afternoon, borderline perfect, to be honest. It isn’t a location I would go if I was looking for noise around me, the big TV can’t even really be seen very well from the bar (huh? who the heck designed that layout?), but I do like the one at Baseline. I feel the same about the Royal Oak near my house or the St. Louis Ribs on Clyde…I can go, sit and watch sports on TV, and hear the buzz of people around me. I rarely engage with them, but if I’m going stir-crazy, it helps.
Not all ran smoothly
One aspect didn’t quite run as smoothly as the rest. After I got home, I needed to put heat on my lower back as instructed by the RMT. Except, of course, I’m lying on a bed, all nice and warm, looking out the window on a rainy day…and…clunk. I fell asleep for an hour. While that doesn’t seem like a big deal, it IS something I’m worried about on the physical side. It is really easy for me to loll, and taking naps is addictive.
Just as you can train toddlers to stop having naps, it’s really easy to train retirees to take them. After all, almost anything can wait until tomorrow. And I am willing to let that happen for the first two months, but then, NADA. I want my retirement to be fairly active, not sitting around on a couch watching TV or sleeping before dinner.
On the positive side, the “test drive” approach seemed to be a good metaphor for my retirement preps. I’ve thought of a LOT of things I can do in future milestone days that “feel” right, and I considered a couple of them for today. Ultimately, though, I didn’t want to over-fill the day. I’m not retired yet. 🙂
One other thing occurs to me as I sign off. I have tended to think of these days as also culmination points i.e., what have I accomplished in the last 100 days, and I expected to cover that in my post. Taking stock of my progress on my various goals. And then I realized that while that is important, and I’ll write about that later, the milestone itself is not about what I did in between the big dates. It’s just about how I mark the day. That’s enough.