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My first month of ER
Old 02-01-2011, 08:59 AM   #1
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My first month of ER

I've been retired for 1 month now. I'm not counting the last two weeks of December which was a normal holiday vacation. And technically, I'm still on vacation through the end of February . . . however, I have been home alone for the month of January. This is my longest stretch away from work in 30 years. Here are some observations about myself during this work to retirement transition:
1. Every day I am aware of the lack of stress in my life. Some stress is necessary to keep things exhilarating. I was also very aware of my maximum stress level and actively pursued activities to relax such as salsa dancing and "spa days". However, the last few months have revealed to me just how deep, pervasive, and destructive my level of stress really was. The most important observation of the past month is realizing where I was then relative to where I am now. It is very liberating to let the stress go.
2. One of my goals was to get healthy through an exercise program. Right now I am doing this on my own but I've been pretty successful in keeping to alternate days of aerobic and strength training. I am making it a priority for each day and I feel so much better doing it. I am also looking into some sessions with a personal trainer.
3. I am not bored. Of course this is a frequent question of friends and family. I've set aside 6 months to decompress and get my life organized. There is plenty to do each day and I do it at my own pace. I seldom get through my daily list but I don't worry about it. The chores are getting done. My DW is thrilled that I am doing her part of the housework. I am spending part of each day doing something fun. Some stuff I do alone. Some with friends. There is plenty to do in the San Francisco Bay Area.
4. I am not the least bit bothered by my new status and identity. I've been able to leave behind my engineer identity with no regrets. My career was something I did for 30yrs; I am proud of what I accomplished; but now it is history and I am ready to do something else. I had lunch with some past employees. It was nice to see them. I had no regrets that they were going back to w*rk and I was leaving on my motorcycle to go back home and walk the dogs.
5. Facebook. I had a FB account for a couple of years but kept a very low profile. Now I am using it daily to keep in touch with a few friends from work and some friends across country. I sometimes learn about activities through FB as well. It takes the place of the casual conversations that I had with colleagues at work. If kept within limits, it works for me.
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Old 02-01-2011, 09:02 AM   #2
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Sounds wonderful!!! Congrats on the smooth transition.
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Old 02-01-2011, 09:20 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by martyp View Post
I've been retired for 1 month now. ...Here are some observations about myself during this work to retirement transition:
1. Every day I am aware of the lack of stress in my life. Some stress is necessary to keep things exhilarating. ...just how deep, pervasive, and destructive my level of stress really was. ...very liberating to let the stress go.
3. I am not bored. ...set aside 6 months to decompress and get my life organized...spending part of each day doing something fun. Some stuff I do alone. Some with friends. There is plenty to do in the San Francisco Bay Area.
4. ...my new status and identity. I've been able to leave behind my engineer identity with no regrets. My career was something I did for 30yrs; I am proud of what I accomplished; but now it is history and I am ready to do something else...
Sorry about the massive "chop job", but I wanted to highlight some of the really cool things you wrote. I could have written this myself.
Recall I was also an Engineer. I still am, but on my own terms and for my own home-based projects.

Congratulations on defining your own boundary conditions and finding your steady state.
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Old 02-01-2011, 09:26 AM   #4
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Congratulations on a smooth transition.
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Old 02-01-2011, 09:44 AM   #5
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Congratulations. I think many of us had not realized how much stress we were carrying around until it was gone. Maybe that is why it is so hard to think about ever w*rking again, for me.
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Old 02-01-2011, 08:30 PM   #6
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Congratulations on your new life! I can hardly wait. While thinking about retirement and less stress, it hit me that just getting ready to be at work by a certain time is stressful. ahhhh--lucky you. I can hardly wait.

Please keep us posted.
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Old 02-01-2011, 09:14 PM   #7
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Congratulations...!! It wasn't until I stopped working that I realized the stress was making me sick. Literally! Good for you! Keep it up!
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Old 02-01-2011, 09:34 PM   #8
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Well done Marty, it sounds like you have things in order already, and are settling quickly into your new freedom.

The twitching should stop within the next few months
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Old 02-02-2011, 12:15 AM   #9
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Congrats Marty! Sounds like you really enjoyed your first month.
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Old 02-02-2011, 02:56 AM   #10
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Congratulations to you and DW!
Keep posting about your experiences. I will follow 2012.
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Old 02-02-2011, 04:01 AM   #11
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Congratulations martyp.
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Old 02-02-2011, 04:29 AM   #12
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Congratulations martyp. You worked for it... you deserve it!
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Old 02-02-2011, 07:40 AM   #13
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Congratulations! I bet your dogs love having you around more
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Old 02-02-2011, 09:46 AM   #14
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Congratulations on your new life! I can hardly wait. While thinking about retirement and less stress, it hit me that just getting ready to be at work by a certain time is stressful.
Please keep us posted.
Yeah. I used to be out of the door by 7:30am. Now, with the exercise, I'm getting going about 9:30am.

Also. I noticed that it is not just not being at work. It is knowing that you will not be going to work. In the past, if I had taken 30 days off then I would be worrying about the pile of work building up while I was gone.
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Old 02-02-2011, 09:47 AM   #15
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Congratulations! I bet your dogs love having you around more
They do but I think it is confusing them a bit.
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Old 02-02-2011, 09:54 AM   #16
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I experienced many of those things, too. The most surprising observations for me were the pleasure of sleeping in sans alarm clock, the acknowledgment of how deeply stressful some administrative aspects of my work had become (and the liberation of admitting it), and the pure enjoyment of leisure time with little structure (though I am already letting a few structured activities back in).

Enjoy.
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Old 02-02-2011, 10:01 AM   #17
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(though I am already letting a few structured activities back in)
Fight back, Rich! "Structured activities are the hobgoblins of unretired minds."
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Old 02-02-2011, 10:01 AM   #18
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My pets looked at me as if to say "What are you doing here?" for several weeks after I retired. They snoozed all day and if I disturbed them, they weren't happy about it. I wasn't supposed to be there during the day. At my normal come home time, they acted like they always did. They got over it. I got a dog last fall and she takes up a lot of time. On the other hand, she is getting a lot more training than my previous dogs ever did because I can do it.
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Old 02-02-2011, 10:08 AM   #19
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My pets looked at me as if to say "What are you doing here?" for several weeks after I retired. They snoozed all day and if I disturbed them, they weren't happy about it. I wasn't supposed to be there during the day. At my normal come home time, they acted like they always did. They got over it. I got a dog last fall and she takes up a lot of time. On the other hand, she is getting a lot more training than my previous dogs ever did because I can do it.
That is a riot. We've been dogless since retirement (for the first time in 40 years) and probably will remain so for a bit given busy travel plans. But I can't wait to get a dog back in our lives.
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Old 02-02-2011, 11:54 AM   #20
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The most surprising observations for me were the pleasure of sleeping in sans alarm clock, the acknowledgment of how deeply stressful some administrative aspects of my work had become (and the liberation of admitting it) . . .Enjoy.
I've been getting up without an alarm clock for several years because the dogs get me up at 6:00am to eat. Then they go back to sleep as if nothing ever happened.

I am only getting about another 30 min of sleep extra each day with the occasional afternoon nap. I am one of those people who only needs 6.5-7 hrs per day . . . even after retirement.
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