November 1, 2014: My Retirement First Day

Saturday, November 1, 2014

It’s my first day of retirement and I woke up at 2:00 am…I heard the coo coo clock chiming twice which is why I can state with certainty on the time.

Retirement is such an abstract notion, at least to me it is. The only concrete fact I know about retirement is that I don’t have to get up at 3:30 am this coming Monday, or any other day, unless of course, I want to. Other than that aspect of retirement, I don’t believe I really understand this new state of mind at this point. It seems so strange: for years it was the end goal of a structured life and yet when that big day finally arrives, it seems strange, alien, a sort of limbo so to speak. I know at some point I’ll be more in tune with not going to a structured job on a daily basis and that at some point a new lifestyle will assert itself.

I think the biggest shock at this point is I truly know deep inside I cannot live the way I have done for the past 50 years. I know that it’s up to me, not anyone else, to make my way in this new life phase, to be more engaged in life…to be truly engaged with those in my life. In so many ways that knowledge is truly exciting yet on the other hand, I also know that if I’m not actively seeking new ways of being in charge of my life, it will be a continuation of the past five decades and that is absolutely unacceptable.

In the past few weeks as retirement grew closer and closer, people would ask me what I planned to do and tossed out the usual assumptions of what someone does in retirement, in particular “was I going to travel; are you going to get back in to photography”? My first response was “sleep for a year” followed up by photography, gardening, and getting to know my wife and my family better.

While I responded in a casual manner, these concepts weren’t just idle words for I know getting to know my wife and my family is most important and my number one priority. The other parts of retirement, how I live daily life will slowly evolve as time goes by and I’m OK with that. I also know that in this evolution of this life phase, I cannot be as I was in the past…not being engaged with my wife and my family. This point has become crystal clear over the past three years of my PTSD recovery journey.

Retirement is a new phase, the next cycle of our lives and I look forward to it.


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