The Big R -- Retirement Reflections, Thirteen Months Later
A little over thirteen months ago I signed my last time sheet, completed piles of paperwork and cleaned out my office. That was my prelude to completing forty years of working full-time. I approached retirement as I had approached everything else in my life, with lots of planning. I've always been a planner and my approach to retiring consisted of lots of plans. I reviewed my finances weekly, signed up for social and volunteer activities and thought I knew exactly how I would be spending my time. I didn't take into account whim, chance or how one step in a different direction can change things.
Fortunately my financial review was accurate, but no matter how worthwhile, I didn't find the volunteer activities I'd chosen engaging. That is still a work in progress. I had also hoped to become more fit, but breaking my foot in September derailed that plan temporarily. I'm not completely where I had been, but I am getting around much better.
There was one area where I completely followed my heart and that was writing. I knew I wanted to write more and that activity has completely engaged me. Two columns for Manilla -- alas, now out of business -- and a number of Litfuse book reviews, plus hundreds of blog posts later, I now think of myself as a writer and I am loving it. This time last year I hadn't heard of Manilla or Litfuse and they became a big part of 2014.
I've long kept a list of places I'd hoped to travel to and diverged from the list almost immediately after retirement by planning my trip to England, Iceland, Norway and Ireland. Dublin was high on the list, but the other places weren't near the top. I'm glad I diverged from my plans and lists and followed whim and my heart to find adventures I couldn't have imagined when I booked the trip.
I've learned a few things. I've learned to follow whim and diverge from my plans without regret. I've learned that I get half as much done as I thought I would do, but that I'm having twice the fun. I've learned, too, that it's a good trade. I've learned and relearned that despite all the plans I can make my ship of life doesn't always go in the direction I'm steering. The winds have brought me to places that weren't on my map and I'm grateful for the new horizons I've discovered. It's been a lucky, lucky thirteen for me and I am excited for the new horizons I'm yet to find.
A toast to new horizons