One year ago today, I started my life over. After 34 years of working, putting the needs of my employer and clients ahead of my family's, I walked away to start a new life where I put my personal needs (which includes my wife and children) above all else.
During that year, I went on a 4 week vacation (the first 10 days with no electronic contact and the remainder a minimal amount) where my wife was the only person who mattered. It renewed our relationship, and reminded me why I got married. After the vacation, we settled down and took day trips and short overnight trips when we wanted. We then took a second 4 week trip where we saw parts of the country we hadn't been to before. And finally, the past 4 weeks of free time has allowed me to care for my wife while she recuperates from a fall and a broken ankle. If I was still in the position of putting my employer and clients first, I wouldn't have been there for her. I know of no salary that is enough to cover that.
I have let my hair grow out to the point that I am about a month away from having it long enough to donate to Locks of Love to be made into wigs.
Unfortunately, I have a wedding to attend next weekend and I don't think my long hair will go over too well in the photos, so I will get it cut this weekend (it is too hot for the summer anyways!).
Some parting words of advice to my friends:
To those who have already retired - life is good isn't it?
To those who are just starting out in their work life - work hard, save as much as you can (but still have fun), and know that things are nice, but memories are better.
To those on the edge - jump in, the water's great!!
Thanks to all of you for being a part of my life.