Today marks my one-year anniversary of retirement.
To go from President of The News-Press to chicken liver retiree was far easier than anyone might have feared. (See my retirement column.)
For all those who ask, how’s it going, I just beam. The abundance of time, for myself and my family; the beauty of simple walks where the brain is not racing or fretting or distressed; the frequent laughter and snuggles: what blessings.
I’m still learning how to fully embrace this treasure. But one year later, here are my top 10 keys to success for new or would-be retirees:
No. 10: Let it go. Your past life is past. You’re no longer that person. Move on to your new journey.
No. 9: Your phone isn’t broken.Those hundreds of emails are going to someone still on the payroll. You may need to have the phone surgically removed as an appendage.
No. 8: Confused about what day it is, again? Who cares! Every day is fun day.
No. 7: Your loved ones are accustomed to you being mostly elsewhere physically and mentally. It’ll almost be like starting a new romance: You’ll need to work at being together, communicating complete sentences, being attuned to the other’s needs and moods, and giving each other space. Be prepared when your other half relegates chores back to you. It is your turn. (Though I’ve always been the one to hold the ladder.)
No. 6: Your former circle will continue their orbits without you (because you did an excellent job in building something enduring!). Good time for introspection in your new universe: what defines you outside of work, what makes you who are you, really? Don’t dwell on the vast darkness–focus on the glittering stars shining for you.
No. 5: Rearrange closets and drawers to prioritize your life. Tennis gear takes over while business garb goes in the back. (If you haven’t worn it in a year, you know what to do.) And yes, you do have to go shopping for retirement clothes.
No. 4: Don’t obsess over the stock market. You had already carefully planned out all your finances before you retired, right? Right??
No. 3: No more excuses about why you can’t get into shape. Whatever your age, size or situation, your mental and physical health are vital to your future happiness.
No. 2: You don’t have to do anything. If it causes you stress or feels obligatory or was a mindless routine or you just don’t feel like it, reassess. Just say no. (Excepting No. 3, and when it’s your Mom.)
And conversely, the No. 1 key to retirement success: You can do anything you want.
Basking in the rain. Exorcising tennis demons. Napping. Leisurely going through the paper. Studying bridge. Rediscovering Disney magic. Baking. Falling in love with the grandpuppy. Building a web site. Reading. Consulting, connecting, presenting. Frequenting Costco. Traveling. Packing for China. Contemplating writing. Preparing to write. Eventually writing.
Come to think of it, don’t wait to retire. Get going on your list now!