Friday marked three months since I retired. It’s been going really well!
Like most people, I worried about adjusting to retirement. I talked to a lot of people about their transition. The best advice came from a cousin who’s been retired several years: “Just enjoy the day.”
Good advice for life, actually.
I decided I would give myself a year to complete the switch from working person to retired person. I would stay connected to the risk management universe, gradually detaching from my job the first few months, then detaching from the profession. Meantime, I would develop a new routine involving my four Rs: running, reading, ruminating, and writing.
But of course nothing ever goes as planned.
Running. In April and May I ran constantly and got into really studly shape. In early June I had minor surgery for an annoying problem, which sidelined me for a couple of weeks. Just as I was ramping back up, I lugged home a heavy bag of cat litter from a store several blocks away and bruised my right metatarsal. I haven’t been able to run since. It’s made me only a little crazy. What’s that, Fabulous Wife? More than a little? Yes dear, yes dear. [Grrrr.]
Reading. All good. I haven’t read any contemporary novels yet, but was thinking of trying Julian Barnes’s The Noise of Time because the main character is my favorite twentieth century composer, Dmitri Shostakovich.
Ruminating. No brilliant insights to report, but humming right along.
Writing. The University Risk Management and Insurance Association invited me to write an article about UC Berkeley’s handling of free speech issues over the last year, which I duly submitted. They rejected it! Either I really screwed up or they’ve concluded the free speech controversy is winding down. For the sake of my fragile ego (and our fragile democracy) I hope it’s the latter. But whichever, the rejection slip got me wondering whether anyone found my work as fascinating as I did. Okay, got it! I’ve backed off the idea of writing a higher ed risk management book. For now I’ll stick to blogging.
So I’m not where I want to be on the running front and am detaching from my former job and profession faster than planned. But that’s fine. I’m mostly recovered from the foot injury and hope to resume running in the next few days. And I’ve come to understand just how much my job compressed my life.
At the office I always kept a mental log of what I had to do next. After a day frantically crossing items off the never-ending to-do list, I’d need at least an hour to decelerate, meaning I got perhaps a couple hours of genuine me-time in the evenings. Weekends weren’t much better; they were a blur of chores and obligations.
Now there’s time. My mornings are structured (stretch, run, clean self and house, prepare lunch for The Fabulous Wife) but afternoons less so, and evenings not at all. I can socialize, sit in the backyard with the cats, go to Costco or a museum on a Wednesday. Or just flat-out relax.
The days still go by too fast. But now I can honestly say I’m enjoying them.