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Telltale Signs That You Are Newly Retired

(SNN) Baby Boomers are pouring into the ranks of the retired. I am one of them. Ending my career as a librarian just this past May, I am learning what it is like to be among the Newly Retired. As I was told by those who went before me, " you'll just know you’re ready to hang it up."  They were right. You start to look beyond the work you love to the next gig, the one that offers flexibility, the one that gives you time to think and explore and to pursue those activities that you love, but always had to cram into a busy life.  That doesn’t mean it’s easy to leave a beloved career and dear colleagues. It can be tough. 

Fresh out of the gate, my plan was to enjoy doing next to nothing for a while. Relax, sleep, binge on Netflix, sleep, drink wine, sleep, buy stuff on Amazon, sleep, ignore the dust bunnies, know, stuff people do on weekends.  

But only two days after my last day of work, I was asked to join a team working on a new publication. It was too good to pass up. I had already planned to ramp up my writing life, but not quite that soon. Now, I’m writing for 3 publications. I got busy sooner than I had thought.  But I’m not complaining. I love to write, and now have more time to do it.

So, here I am. After working behind the scenes at the Sage for the past 10 months as a copy editor/social media pusher, I am back to full active writing mode. It feels great! 

I thought it appropriate that my first article after my hiatus should be about life as a new retiree.  There are signs, you know, signs that you have successfully joined the ranks of those folks who live on their own schedule, doing what they darn well please...most of the time.  The following gives you a glimpse of how you know that you’re truly, Newly Retired:

  • Finally, flexibility! It is right there in front of you. But when asked what your plans are for the day, you just shrug.

  • You still refer to your former colleagues/workplace using the pronouns “we” and “our.” It’s a hard habit to break.

  • Driving feels weird. The car can sit idle for days. When you finally get behind the wheel, it feels almost surreal; like you really don’t belong out there on the road with all those struggling commuters.

  • On some days, you may just decide to jump in the car and wing it. You might not know where you’re going, but who cares?

  • Happy Hour! You can actually make it now. No more missing the cut off. The cost of drinks go from $$ to $.  Much easier to justify.

  • Less laundry! Good riddance to 5 presentable outfits per week. You can’t get too dirty bumming around the house in sweats.

  • Bonus! You can do the laundry whenever. No more cramming it in on Sunday night, then forgetting the wet towels in the washer until 3 smelly days later.

  • You find yourself asking what day it is nearly everyday. They all blur together, unless you get out and discover that there are people out there who know it’s only Monday.

  • You realize that Wednesday at the grocery store is designed for the new you. But the stores are overrun with senior bargain hunters.  I don’t go, unless there is a sale on margarita fixins’ and wine.

  • You rediscover coupons. You know you really should start paying more attention to them like you did during the early years of growing toddlers and slim budgets. You swear you’ll start clipping...tomorrow.

  • You see all the “who remembers?” memes come through your Facebook newsfeed, but you don’t Like or Share them because you’re still pretending you’re not old enough to remember The Good Old Days.

  • Speaking of Facebook, you can park on that site all day and post as much as you’d like, annoying your Facebook friends. But, you know...those political posts! You just have to add your 5 cents.

  • You can meet friends for coffee anytime. There’s gossip to catch up on, if you can remember what it is.

  • Kitchen Window Theatre, Take 1: You can watch your local production of “Why the Heck is He Doing That?” The star is the dude in the corner house who checks for mail 3 times after said mail has been delivered. And, it’s Sunday.

  • Kitchen Window Theatre, Take 2:  Then, for the first time, you notice the neighbor’s trash hauler has traded his jumpsuit for a classic cowboy look: 10 gallon hat, cowboy boots, and tight blue jeans. Nuff said.

  • You get junk call after junk call, with a faux Siri voice announcing, “Call from, New Yoork.”  “Call from, Garbled Name.” “Call from, DonaldTrump.” That’s it; we’re dumping the landline!

  • You realize there are books to read, places to explore, ideas to ponder, conversation to enjoy, and free time to appreciate it all.

And there you have it, at a glance. But that glance will be different for each of us who have graduated the daily grind. We’ll all adjust. We’ll move forward through this phase we call retirement. We’ll be just fine. Some will re-enter the job market doing something entirely different, while others will start their own business. Some will travel to exotic places, but others will seek relaxation at home.  Some will resume old hobbies, while others discover new interests. For all, it’s a time to get back in touch with who we are. And best of all, it’s a time to just BE.

PHOTO: Some Rights Reserved. Image from Deb Nystrom flickr photostream. Original photo can be found here.

DISCLAIMER: The above article is OPINION.The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the authors of The Sage Opinion and forum participants on this web site do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the The Sage News Network or the official policies of the The Sage News.
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