I am a 53-year-old woman, and I recently retired.
All the pomp and circumstance are over, the cake eaten, the cards and hugs and well wishes received, and employee ID 0734 security badge relinquished.
I was quite surprised the number one comment from all who attended my retirement reception was, “You’re too young! What ever will you do to keep from getting bored?” My quick response to them? “I’m wondering where I’ll find the time to do all the things I want to do!”
Like many women, I’ve worked non-stop since I was a teenager through high school, college, first marriage of 19 years, two kids, divorce, and second marriage of almost eight years. I retired from a healthcare IT company where I worked 25 of those years.
My work was important and impactful in the big picture, and it provided a great living for me and my family. However, it didn’t light a fire in my belly. I didn’t ever once say to myself, “If I could pick anything to do with my life, this would be it!”
I think that’s the case with many, dare I say most, women. To top it all off, by the time I would get home at night, cook dinner, and get the other important life stuff out of the way such as laundry, bills, homework, or whatever else was needing to be done, I didn’t really have the time or energy left to cultivate many passions or hobbies.
So now I have the gift of eight to ten more hours a day. I realize how incredibly blessed and fortunate I am to be able to retire so young. What will I “do to keep from getting bored” they asked? I’m certainly not going to waste the precious gift of time I’ve been given, and I’m going to finally do the things I could only daydream about while working.
I’m going to exercise and keep myself healthy, as I no longer have any excuses to stop me. I’m going to spend more meaningful time with my aging mother and in-laws, thankful that I still have them to enjoy. I’m going to feel the sun on my face on beautiful summer days as I work in the yard or walk my dog Hank, and watch the snow fall outside my window on blustery winter days while curled up on the couch and reading a good book. I’m going to teach myself to play the banjo.
My daughter and son-in-law just gave me my first grandchild (a girl!), and I’m going to stay with her for a few months once my daughter goes back to work, thoroughly soaking up every minute I have with her. I’m going to dust off and polish the children’s books I’ve written over the last three decades before bravely and boldly submitting them for publication consideration. I’m going to finish writing the love story I started a year ago, and then I’m going to write new stories that have been swirling in the back of my head. I’m going to travel to new places and experience new adventures with the love of my life. I’m going to find volunteer opportunities to help others. When things eventually calm down and I’ve settled into a routine “new” life…well I don’t think that’s going to happen for a very long time.
Most importantly, with ALL that I do I’m going to be thankful I can do it, not take it for granted, and most certainly not spend my retirement bored.
Julie Ellingson is newly retired, reinventing herself one glorious and beautiful day at a time. Her newest and favorite role is being Alice’s grandma. She’s written several children’s books which she dreams of having published one day and is currently writing a novel of love and fate.