Recently I've been asked how I'm enjoying my retirement. Have I got enough things to do? Am I bored yet? Am I missing work?
The answers are: It's awesome; you bet; not likely; you gotta be kidding!!
It's just shy of 6 months since I hung up the shingle yet it literally feels like it's been years. That's because I have very deliberately created a change in perspective and state of mind.
For many years I have been a proponent of mindfulness, a state where one tries to be in the present, rather than dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. Having now made the transition from "planning for retirement" to "actual retirement" there's a lot less of that worry going on. And lucky for me I made the right choice. It's not to say I don't concern myself with my financial future, but I believe I have it covered. Oh this is such a relief!
What I think is the absolutely crucial part of a healthy retirement is letting go. The past is the past. I was a doctor. I'm not one now, I don't ever plan to be one again, and please stop fucking asking! That's my past. Today is my present and future. I won't be defined by what I was, but what I am now. Which is currently: homebody, organic gardener, windsurfer, photographer, skier, world traveller, blogger. That will do for now surely??
An added benefit for me is I no longer need to recover from the stress of work. And I don't mean the stress of making decisions about people's health every 20 minutes, you work out how to deal with that early in your career or you burn out fast buddy! I'm talking about the stress of interacting with others when you're an introvert. Not just introverted, I'm almost a hermit, which is to say I love spending time by myself, doing my own thing, and not having to interact with others. It's not that I don't enjoy the company of others, and I'm hardly shy or unfriendly, but too much interaction and I become emotionally drained. 3 days a week of work left me mentally exhausted and it would take me at least a day to recover. That's no longer a problem...
I'm calmer, less worried, certainly less anxious. I'm particularly enjoying the ability to just be. To work through the chores without any pressure. Tomorrow is just another day.
Of course there's lots of mundane things to do, like shred all those papers I've been hoarding for years. Payslips, bank statements, so much shit sitting around in filing cabinets and folio boxes. It all needs to be sorted and scanned and/or shredded. But even the mundane has a pleasure. I'm listening to all those podcasts I've subscribed to but never got around to listening to, I'm even buying and listening to music again. And there's a great joy in simplifying one's life, even if to the high pitched whine of a shredding machine!!
I am relishing this slow, deliberate, yet mindful, pace.
I'm pottering in the garden. I'm baking, and making soft cheeses. I'm going windsurfing whenever I choose to. I'm working up to having another go attempting forward loops...
I'm planning my next 12 months of travel. I've organised house sitters for the year already, yay!
I'm getting home repairs and minor renovations done. I've painted walls I've been meaning to get around to doing for the last 15 years!
I'm derusting the car, which is 20 years old this year and still going strong. The other week I updated the storage for the windsurfing gear to make it so much easier to access than before.
I'm systematically decluttering all my possessions and getting ready for a massive garage sale in the New Year.
My retirement is awesome!! Just in case you were asking....