This is really a journal entry, but this is as close to being my journal as anything, so I will just put it here.
I learned some things from taking four months of retirement. I loved it for the most part, but it could have been so much better. That is largely due to the fact that I thought I would be back to work by November, so I didn’t make many commitments or plans, thinking I would be back to work soon. I think some of it is also due to weather because I was in heaven in September and October, but November and December were not as good – at all.
- Have enough money to retire. Once you are retired, there is no more money coming in. Just your pension. Make sure it is enough to cover a decent lifestyle. (Not extravagant, but not miserly)
- Make plans for at least 3 days a week.
- Do something productive, like volunteer somewhere.
- Get up early every morning and get dressed and out of the house (go to a meeting or Mass or both).
- Have a fitness plan and follow it.
- Don’t get cheap with groceries, keep it healthy.
- Reach out to people, particularly people who might need to hear from someone.
- Be able to take a trip or two to someplace warm in the winter. Seasonal Affective Disorder is your enemy!
- Take every chance to see the grandkids, even if it means that you travel often. It is possible to find cheap airfare.
- Enjoy yourself every day. Retirement is a luxury, even though you “earned it” by working and saving and contributing all those years, plenty of people work and save and contribute and still end up working for the rest of their lives – out of necessity.
- Be grateful every day. Not many people get to stay sober for most of their lives. You have this tremendous blessing, don’t ever take it for normal. It is not normal. It is a miracle.
Oh, when I retire for reals it is going to be great! I never ever had any idea what retirement is like. I thought it was like a cliff you got to at the end of your career and then your life ended. It feels more like a beginning than an end. It is really wonderful. The idea of getting up in the morning and doing what you WANT to do is the ultimate freedom.
Why am I going back to work you may ask. I retired over a year earlier than I had planned. I thought I had one more year to get my debt paid off. But I didn’t. I will now.
When I did my budget this month, I looked at my “debt snowball” (courtesy of Dave Ramsey, Financial Peace University (FPU) – thank you Jeanne!), and realized not only how manageable this is going to be, but I was amazed when I saw the budgets from 2 and a half years ago, when I started FPU. I have paid off an amazing amount of debt. I should be able to pay off the majority of the remainder by the end of 2016. Wow.
It is so good. I am so grateful. Jumping off that cliff in September was the among the hardest and most wonderful things I have ever done!
God is so good.