August 16, 2020

Retiring to Instead of Retiring From


In June of 2001, my business was in its final death throes. After 36 years, the path had started at fifteen was reaching its conclusion. The finish was not what I expected; the quick fade into irrelevance was not what I had envisioned. 

Three months later, the events of 9/11 shook our self-enclosed world to its core. We were only not safe, but amazingly, shockingly, vulnerable. What millions of others around the globe experienced as a regular part of life, in one blink of an eye, became ours, too. 

I was instantly aware that my business would never have survived the changes 9/11 forced on us, so leaving when I did was fortunate. But, I realized that the world into which I was retiring was not the one I thought I was about to enter.

Retirement is retirement from something, usually a paying job. I guess you could say you are retiring from raising children or caring for an aging parent. You could retire from volunteer work, or serving on the board of a local charity. You could even think of retiring from your previous life and retire to an island off the coast of England. But, nine times out of ten to retire is stopping some form of employment.

Well, it took me several years to understand that type of retirement really doesn't work. If you retire from something, then what? All you have known stops. Many of your friends are connected by work; that link is severed. The way you spend your time, plan your day, use the weekend changes completely. Actually, when you retire, you are only halfway to a satisfying retirement. There is a key part of the puzzle still missing.

For several years I struggled to find what came next. Prison ministry, ham radio, becoming a lay minister: each seemed to offer a fulfilling next thing. For a time, each gave me something to look forward to, to plan my weeks around, to interact with others. Eventually, though, each ended, leaving me to wonder what was next. I hadn't yet found what I was retiring to.

Ten years ago. I stumbled into blogging. It wasn't anything I planned. I have always enjoyed writing; my favorite class in High School was creative writing. Blogging, though, is different from writing fiction, like a great whodunit. It is more personal. You are placing parts of yourself out there for others to see. Hiding is not really an option.

Ten years of writing this blog had made me a different person than the one I was when I started. A decade of purposely airing my thoughts on a variety of topics has forced me to reevaluate decisions and choices. Publicly putting myself in front of others has left me hardened in some ways, and softened in others.

Writing is tough work, regardless of the form. Have you ever tried to compose a letter to a loved one you hurt through some selfish act? Have you ever wanted to capture the beauty of a sunset in a poem? Have you decided it is essential to pass on life lessons to a grandchild but couldn't quite find the right words or tone? 

Blogging is kind of like that. Every few days, there is a need to say something worth someone else's time to read it. To simply produce sentences and paragraphs, anything, to fill a page and hit publish is unfair to the reader. That person has many ways of spending his or her time. They are owed your best effort in making the few minutes at your site worth their investment.

I will be the first to admit that some of what I have written over the years has missed...badly. Few people bothered to read something I posted, and even fewer left a comment. However, I have gained an appreciation for the instant judgment of the marketplace.

Something that hits a cord, is engaging on some level and provokes a response, quickly becomes evident. Likewise, a topic or approach that lays on the page, flat, and uninteresting, makes itself known, too. When I write something,  my challenge is to express something that provokes the former, and learn from the space fillers like the latter. 

So, this was what I was looking for: something to retire to. This is truly the magical part. When you find something that fulfills the piece of you that needs attention, it seems to open up new areas that have always been there, but simply remained unnoticed.

Playing guitar, trying to oil paint, picking up a charcoal pencil to sketch something in the kitchen or backyard...I believe creative activities that I never knew had any real appeal to me have surfaced because I was not stuck in the "from" part of retirement, but, had transitioned into "to" something.  Once that happened, I became free to let other things develop. 


So, the important takeaway from these thoughts: have you retired to something, or just from something?


47 comments:

  1. An interesting story Bob and I can appreciate how much work goes into writing a blog. Not that I've ever done it but I know composing a decent letter or even a post here, by the time I get through with corrections and revisions, something that takes a minute to read takes me what seems like a long time to write.

    Retiring to something versus from something. I had never thought about it that way before. I transitioned so easily to retirement it almost seems like I didn't even have to think about it. Of course that's not really true, about 5 years out from my "penciled in" retirement date I started giving some serious thought to what I would do retirement. I read the few non-financial retirement books available at the time (there may be more now) and kicked around several ideas. Did I want to spend my time on a sailboat in the Caribbean? Too cramped for me. Did I want to volunteer somewhere? I started to volunteer at a local theatre while I was still working to see how that would go. I was certain that I'd want to spend winters away from the snow and cold here but where? When you have the world to choose from it's almost overwhelming. I knew I didn’t want to follow the crowd to Florida, at least not yet. There’s a lot to think about.

    One other thing we all must come to realize is that our health is a consideration. I was and still am basically healthy but that's not going to last forever sooner or later health is going to be a limiting factor and I wanted to make sure I made good use of the early and most healthy years of retirement. What you can do in your early 60s will likely not be what you can do in your late 70s or 80s. I am sure there are some people that paddle up the Amazon solo for their 80th birthday but there are also people that win Olympic gold medals. Neither of them is going to be me.

    Of course, you can't do anything without money so after years of saving for retirement I needed to think about a spending plan to ensure I was able to enjoy what I had spent decades saving for. This "retirement spending" mindset is much harder than you think and many people never allow themselves to spend what they've saved. I knew I didn't want to be a penny-pinching pensioner, I'd done enough penny pinching when I was in my saving years. I figured I’d saved it so I could spend it, if not then why did I save it? On the other hand, I didn't want to be destitute later on either so it's a tough balance. I also found that most retirement financial advice seemed to amount to "Don't spend anything ever!" which is good for the financial industry but maybe not so good for me.

    Bit by bit I cobbled together a retirement life plan or perhaps it was more of an outline. I seriously thought about and discarded many different retirement lifestyles until I landed on a combination that I believed would suit my wife and me. My wife was involved in this every step of the way though I think she wondered why I was doing so much planning and then discarding those plans. I also developed and became comfortable with a rough retirement spending plan. It's not set in stone, there are too many variables for that, but it's one I can live with. Some my financial adviser agrees with and some she doesn't but hey - it's my retirement. (At least she did agree that it was a reasonable plan.)

    In the end I delayed retiring past my "penciled in" date for 2 years but that was just nerves about cutting the cord to paid employment that by then had been for 46 years. By the time I left I was ready to go and I've never looked back. Retirement has been everything I imagined and more. Perhaps the biggest surprise in retirement is that money, once you have enough to cover your basic needs, is not the big thing all the financial planning types talk about. Sometimes people ask me about work and I say a bit about it but end by saying “But that was another life”.

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    1. I can echo agreement with what you say. I retired "from" because it was so sudden. Then, my wife and I developed all sorts of wild ideas for our retired life: full time RV living, moving to Europe or Hawaii for part of the year, cruising for months at a time. But, what happened looks very different from those fantasy plans. Staying home and close to family, with occasional trips was best for us.

      A pared down lifestyle in which we continued to spend less than was coming in didn't change either. That was the approach that allowed us to retire successfully, so why change it now. I know my financial advisor only shuddered once, when we decided to give both girls a substantial end-of-the-year "advance" on the estate they would one day inherit. We are determined to leave them a nice nest egg when we go; trying to balance that with a desire to enjoy our healthy years is a work in progress.

      "But that was another life" resonates with me. Occasionally Betty will ask me about something from my radio career, or putting up a display of radio station memorabilia. I remind her it was fun, a great life experience, and one with fond memories. But, that was then. I have moved on.

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    2. I think you're selling yourself short. Your comments are always thoughtful, clear and well-written. You could easily become an excellent blogger. Just sayin' . . . Something to think about if you're ever looking for a new pursuit!

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    3. Thanks for the kind words Mary.

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  2. For sure, retirement is when you stop living at work and begin to work at living. I retired 7 yrs ago and have never looked back. I retired from saying "no" to saying "yes". I retired from punching the clock to having time at my disposal. I retired from the unfinished to-do list to continue knocking off the list albeit some of it is from yesterday. I retired from living for days off to not caring what day it is. I retired from someone/thing else setting my priorities to defining my own purpose.

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    1. That paragraph pretty much nails the successful approach, Mona. Even before Covid, it was easy to lose track of what day it was, since it usually didn't make much difference! That's a nice way to experience life.

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    2. "I retired from someone/thing else setting my priorities to defining my own purpose..." Exactly! Extremely well said.

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  3. So true. For example, the research I've seen shows that death rates for older men who are still working are half of what they are for men of the same age who are fully retired. The mortality trends for women are similar, though not as pronounced. But the researchers concluded that it's not working that makes the difference. Its staying engaged in life and involved in something bigger than our own personal problems. Self-sufficiency is not the key to a longer life, they concluded. Staying connected to a community is the secret.

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    1. That is an important point, Tom. Occasionally someone will tell me the same thing: quitting work shortens your life because you lose purpose. My response is like yours. It isn't the job, it is the sense of accomplishment and the things that excite you that keep you loving life.

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  4. I had a twenty year business that took a major hit when new technology came along and replaced what I was doing. I saw the handwriting on the wall and sold it. Then I spent 17 years working for my husband's business which I had to sell when he had his massive stroke. Then I spent the next 12 1/2 years being a family caregiver which could in no way be compared to retirement. None of my so-called retirements were choices I would have made, when they was made if outside circumstances hadn't come along. So I really don't know how to answer your question. I guess my point is that I don't know how to pigeonhole myself as "retired to something, or just from something." Seems to me like both choices can fit, like looking at a half a glass of water and seeing it two ways.

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    1. I understand your point and agree that these aren't necessarily clear binary choices. Retiring from something is necessary to get to what is next, or the "to" part of the journey. But, the "from" part isn't as a clear cut choice for some of us. Circumstances limit what can be next.

      Maybe the more accurate description would be we move "from" one stage of life "into" another. That is what happened to you: several "from" one responsibility "to another, none of which were truly a retirement situation.

      While that transition may not fit the typical retirement model, I suggest it is not good to move from anything to nothing that fulfills us or gives us a purpose. Certainly, your situation was made up of movement from one responsibility to another. Not a textbook series of steps, but one that does fit the overall point.

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  5. I retired last year at 58 from a high-stress healthcare Leadership career into a lifestyle I had planned. 39 years from my first role to my last. (Hubster continues working as he is enjoying his career in cybersecurity).

    We became focused on saving for our future around age 30. I was already hearing/seeing retirement stories and knew I would want to be active in pursuits I enjoyed. When our retirement accounts hit XXX value, we turned it over to a professional as I was feeling some stress over being in charge. He worked wonders beyond my ability! My announcement of retirement surprised absolutely everyone-my staff, my boss, my family. My financial advisor simply thanked me for 4 weeks notice ;-D

    So, I've retired TO a life of no schedule. I have time for my gardening/harvesting/preserving (instead of starting at 7pm and finishing at midnight!). I have time to read something other than professional journals. I can walk in the cool mornings of summer and the warm afternoons of winter. I love to quilt! I love to knit. I love to cross-stitch. I love to cook-when I'm not exhausted.

    We've lived a mindful life for decades and have/use what we need. We are not surrounded by clutter. 17y ago we acquired a small mountain cabin-minimally furnished. It's a wonderful place to go and just 2.5 hours from 'home'.

    Although not in 2020, I/we can travel when desired. I had planned a great 1st year celebrating my retirement. Well, 3 trips cancelled and 3 concerts cancelled. Oh well! I am healthy and I am making the best of life in my home(s) with the occasional distanced outing with a friend here/there.

    Will I volunteer in the future? Will I go on medical missions? I don't know. A medical mission is finite so that's a possibility. Everyone who wants volunteers wants a schedule. The one thing I do NOT want even after 13 months! I don't want to be locked down every Monday or Wednesday.

    I wholeheartedly agree that one should retire TO something. I know people who retired to travel and 2020 has popped their bubble and boredom set in-not healthy for very long.

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    1. I hadn't really considered your last point about those who have had their "to" choice so totally disrupted this year. If you are committed to travel and then can't, what takes its place? Excellent question.

      To use a familiar cliche, I guess what that suggests is it is dangerous to "put all your eggs in one basket." Retiring with only one interest leaves you adrift when something keeps you from that passion.

      I'd love to hear from readers who are travelers. What has Covid done to you and your sense of satisfaction when taking trips can't happen the way you have become used to?

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    2. In answer to your request Bob... Part of our "to" list in retirement was travel. Our plan was down south in a warmer climate for 3-4 months of the year and one month travelling to Europe each year. The rest of the year would be at home close to family. We are a few years into retirement so we haven't been hit as hard as Elle has. My wife is British and my wife's sister lives in a small village in France so we have family that my wife wants to see as well as just being normal tourists (if there is such a thing).

      This year our tourist trip would have been hiking on the Amalfi coast in Italy which of course has been cancelled. We have a flight credit from the airline and our deposit refunded from the hike organizers but who knows when we'll be booking for overseas again.

      As for down south... We've rented in Mexico for the last 5 years but in December purchased a winter vacation property there to give us a little stability versus trying to find a new rental every year. It seems like we bought at exactly the wrong time closing on the property in December just one month before the first reports of what became a pandemic started trickling out. Still, we are okay with the purchase and plan to travel there after Christmas this year. I figure being Covid-safe there is about the same as being Covid-safe at home and if not then we'll cut our stay short and head back.

      Since being back home was for good stretches of the year was also part of the "to" plan we've just maximized that part of it. There's still lots to do, grandchildren to see, gardens to tend, etc. so there's lots to keep us busy. If overseas travel is definitely out we'll be looking at travel within our own country. Actually part of the "to" plan always was overseas travel for the first 10 years then US/Canada travel after that. This part of the plan may have to be moved up. In reality nothing is ever 100% certain and plans can always be adjusted. Life is like that.

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    3. Thanks for the follow up to my question about travel.

      Moving from overseas travel to in-country travel is what I imagine many people will do for the foreseeable future. Even though parts of the U.S. remain more dangerous because of the infection rate, at least travelers don't have to be worried about being stuck overseas.

      Canada is in better overall shape, so you probably have fewer worries on that front. Plus, Mexico never banned travel from Canada so your Mexican getaway sounds feasible.

      Betty has discovered all sorts of ancestor information about her family, going back to the 1400s. With various ties to places and people in England and Scotland, when overseas travel makes sense again, I imagine we will be off the the U.K.

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  6. Interesting at what age you retire, and then your outlook on Life. I was 65 y/o when I retired full time, from a nurse management position in December 2014 and had to wait for Medicare for health insurance..No, Registered Nurses do not have a pension, except if you work for the Federal government. We do have 401Ks, fortunately, something there. I went back to work in 9 months, for one year, in a part time position at the same company, but did not enjoy the fact that I wasn't really "into it," and didn't know what was going on. Sometimes, it was 2 months before I was called into work so I fully retired in September 2016, at age 66 years and 9 months. I achieved all my accolades earlier in Life, my final college degree at age 4o as a Masters of Science. Do I miss working? Hell, no. This is the Time of Life to relax, take care of yourself and and your family, and your best friend. I've always had hobbies working, as I know this is important for all-around health. Work will not take care of you. Your additional monies to impress people are nothing. Learn the lesson. Thanks for reading.

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    1. Pensions are employer dependent not role dependent. I worked for a hospital corporation for the 1st 20y of my career that had a pension as well as my 403b I invested in. It's a decent monthly chunk I can tap into starting at age 67. Too many penalties to tap it early.

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    2. I like the "work will not take care of you" statement. How true. Money is never the answer to a fulfilling life, time is. It appears you made the best choice.

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  7. Retiring TO something, rather than FROM something was very important to my husband and me when we thought about leaving our well-paying and satisfying careers. We knew that we'd miss aspects of our jobs - especially the easy and enjoyable social network they provided - but we wanted to travel, work on projects, explore hobbies, and basically do what we wanted to do on our terms and timelines. I think my husband struggled a bit at first but I slide into home plate and never looked back.

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    1. It is true that men tend to have a more difficult time in transitioning from work. Usually we are not as good as females in social skills or having a strong self identity outside work.

      With support from a spouse, partner, of good friend, the transition will come, albeit with a bit more work..it took me about 3 years to figure it out!

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  8. I've been busy and satisfied for the ten years since I retired, except for the last six months. I like to be useful and so far I've found very little of that other than staying home so the healthcare people don't get overwhelmed. I suspect I needed a rest from all my travels - like nearly 70 trips in the last ten years. I've had a chance to think about what's important and what isn't, so I'll be interested in seeing what bubbles to the top for me once this isolating time is over.

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    1. The build out of your Seattle area home basement has probably kept you mentally in the game! That looks to be quite a project.

      More trips to Greece for the orphanage in your future? That was an important part of your life for quite some time.

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  9. My sister had planned to retire in a few more years, but the closure during quarantine caused such a disruption in her office and services they could provide that the owners are closing, and she is retiring a bit early. Right now she is filling in all her time doing projects around her house but is getting grumpy because all she is doing is laboring. I sent the link to this blog post which she read and said it helped her. Now she just need to figure out what her "to" is.

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    1. I'm glad my words gave her a glimmer of light at the end of this Covid tunnel. Most people need at least a year or more to begin to find and fit together the various pieces needed for the "to" part of retirement. Let your sister know I took 3 years...a slow learner, but the 17 years since then have been a never-ending joy.

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  10. I believe it is very important to retire to something and you should figure what the "to" is before leaving full time work. You want to avoid wasting five years of 'prime" retirement time like I did figuring things out and putting things in place. Far better to do this before retiring. It will give you something to work on and look forward to after having another one of those days at the office

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    1. I agree. My problem was I was so focused on my business I had no hobbies or passions when I had to leave the business world. That's why I struggled for a few years before starting to find things that would motivate and excite me.

      If someone is lucky enough to find a real interest before retirement so much the better. It gets you off to a smoother transition. But, and this is a big but, you will develop whole new areas of your personality and interests after retirement, so don't hesitate to leave what you thought was your key motivation for something else. I have shifted gears so many times my clutch is worn out.

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    2. I experienced the same thing. I planned one going one way and ended up going in an entirely different direction.

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  11. Hey Bob! I really appreciate your perspective on this topic. Neither my husband no myself are retired. (he works part time with lots of freedom and flexibility) and I just manage our finances and do my blog. In fact I'm not sure we will ever fully retire because we have managed to design our lives around work that was both fulfilling, sustainable and flexible. We do however have renewing interests and passions and that sometimes causes us to explore new things so who knows where we will be in the future? Still I completely appreciate the idea of moving towards something rather than away from something...wouldn't that just be a good approach to all life? ~Kathy

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    1. Yes, the idea fits more than just retirement, now that you mention it. In my case I certainly moved from feeling non-creative to trying my hand at several outlets or expanding from my particular religious tradition to a broader spirituality. I moved away from my comfort zone when I started going into prisons for counseling work. I guess you could say even this blog has moved from where it started to something a bit different.

      So, yes, I agree, Kathy. The "to" move is something we should encourage throughout our lives.

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  12. Very interesting conversation, Bob. You used the word "transition" several times in the comment section. I believe that those who retire to get away from a poor work situation, because their position was eliminated or their company closed, or who haven't developed hobbies or plans to pursue prior to their retirement may have a much longer transition period into a satisfying retirement. Those who had a pleasant work environment, were able to retire exactly when they wanted to and have activities to look forward to are more likely to slide smoothly and quickly into retirement heaven. However, even though retiring from less than ideal circumstances may extend the transition period - after all, we are making a transition from one stage of life to another - there is no doubt that individuals can eventually overcome transitional difficulties and build a happy retirement. It may take longer than for those individuals who are fully prepared and anxiously awaiting their day of freedom, but it certainly can be done. You, Bob, are a perfect example of someone who may have had a longer transition to retirement happiness, but now you're a shining example of what could be.

    As for traveling during retirement, traveling is probably our deepest passion. This year, the pandemic canceled our re-scheduled trip to Alaska (strike two!), one short RV camping trip and one extended one. Yes, we were disappointed, but we'll re-schedule as soon as we feel comfortable doing so, and will keep ourselves busy with much needed maintenance and home improvement projects at home. This retirement gig is a pretty good one, and even a pandemic couldn't change my mind about that!

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    1. Since travel now is difficult, I am enjoying your posts of the last several months that are reruns of earlier ones of trips you have made. I missed most of the posts the first time around, so they are new and enjoyable to me.

      You are absolutely right: the transition period is as unique as each retirement journey. Mine wasn't what I had envisioned at all, so it look longer. How about you? I really don't know much about about your and Alan's journey except you love to travel! What was your transition like?

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    2. Well, the comments in my first paragraph were a reflection of our experience. Alan's employer of 35+ years eliminated his position in IT, and then immediately hired him back as a consultant. (Those old timers with six weeks of vacation time gotta go, you know.) I was working part time as the tax collector in our local school district at the time. (Don't shoot the messenger. Someone has to do that job.) We had always planned to retire early, so we weren't financially insecure, but we really didn't want to dip into our retirement savings for living expenses beyond our emergency fund. Luckily, a full time position in Human Resources opened up in the school district around that time, so I was able to move into a job that provided good benefits. I planned to stay for six years, and "graduate" when our younger child graduated from high school in that district. After PTA-ing for 18 years (our two kids are five years apart), I thought it would be an appropriate exit, and I was very much looking forward to it. Unfortunately, my HR job became stressful to the point of impacting my health and, since it wasn't due to a short term project, there wasn't light at the end of the tunnel. I ran the numbers again a year before I planned to escape from the workforce, and Alan and I were happy to find that I'd be able to pull the plug a year early without negatively impacting our long-term financial security. He was 55 when his position was eliminated, and he worked as a consultant for the company for a couple of more years before intentionally upping his rate so high he knew they wouldn't go for it. I turned 59 a few months after I left my job. Currently, he's 64 and I'm 63. So, we had one well-planned exit and one involuntary retirement. Because the company gave him a severance package, kept him on as a consultant, and I had a full time job with benefits within a year of his forced exit, we had time to re-adjust our plans, and purchase the rental property we had been talking about for the past several years. Alan was (and still is) bitter toward the company because he believes it was a case of age discrimination. When I escaped from the workforce (I still haven't come to terms with the word "retired"), he made sure we had a wonderful, private family celebration with our kids, wanting my exit to be the happy occasion that his was not. He experienced having retirement thrust upon him; I was able to pull the plug myself and dance out the door. The emotional impact of the two situations is vastly different. So, there you have it. And I apologize for taking up so much space in your comment section!

      P.S. I am SO far behind in documenting past travels on my blog that, between current and previous adventures, you'll have reading material well into the foreseeable future. I'm glad you're enjoying the posts!

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    3. Don't apologize. Your story is one lots of people can relate to. I have no data to back this up, but I would guess more couples are like you two: one half retired happy with the timing, the other was forced out or struggled in some way.

      I look forward to some of your posts from your archives. They are all new to me!

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  13. I have enjoyed reading the comments on this post. I come back to it every morning to see if anything new has come :-) It has really made me contemplate my days, my choices and consider options or staying the course.

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    1. I check back a few times each day and first thing each morning, too. The thought-provoking comments are what really makes any post come alive. Frankly, I am inspired to continue writing by the ideas and reactions left here by others.

      Thanks, Elle.

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  14. My transition was a positive negative. By nature I am somewhat pessimistic. Fortunately I can see it and use it to my benefit. During my working career I always expected something to go wrong so I was constantly looking for it instead of assuming everything was fine. I found and corrected a number of problems that would have taken an optimist longer to spot. I also realized in my thirties there was significant age discrimination in the work force and that a corporation could care less what happens to me long term. This encouraged me to save a large percentage of our income and always be on the lookout for changing winds. My last employer had numerous issues that had I been younger would have driven me off. I recognized this was my last ride and allowed myself to stay in a less than optimal environment. What was the positive. By staying I had absolutely no regrets when I chose to retire at 60. So far, even if I have a boring day, I have never desired to be back at work again. I definitely was not sure it would work out this way.

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    1. I had periods of the impostor syndrome when I thought clients would realize I had no idea what I was doing. Luckily, no one ever called me out in all those years

      I learned pretty early on that I was not really cut out for corporate life. Luckily, my chosen career allowed me to set up my own shop.

      Glad you are enjoying life, Fred. We only pass this way once, so it is not wise to spend our time on unpleasant experiences any longer than we must.

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    2. My last role at work was similar to Fred's experience. If I'd been in my early 40s rather than my late 50s when I took the role (an internal lateral move) I would have looked for another job. As it was I held on into my early 60s, then left and was glad to get out of there. I can say that I am generally an optimist, I can almost always see a good side even if sometimes I have to look really hard.

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  15. Since I loved my job, but was ready to do other things, I definitely retired to rather than from. Now, almost a decade since I retired, I still don't have enough time to do all the things I want to do.

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    1. I know you enjoyed teaching law and I imagine you were quite inspiring, even in contract law!

      It is amazing, isn't it, how we suddenly have so much we want to accomplish and try, while knowing the clock is ticking.

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  16. I think for me, it’s a little of both. I didn’t hate my job but I was tired of the hassles of the corporate world. And I was ready to focus on the things I love doing. Blogging wasn’t in my plans but after two years, it’s definitely become an important part of my retirement. I’m always surprised by which posts invoke the most responses. Lately, life has left me with less time for the things I love but I still value what my retirement has brought me.

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    1. I never know what posts are going to resonate, either. Some of the most-read were dashed off in 30 minutes. Others, a labor of love and time, fall flat. Oh well. As long as Google doesn't shut me down I will keep at it.

      I so enjoy the exchange of ideas and even a bit of controversy to enliven my day and keep me in touch with a whole range of people I wouldn't normally meet up with on a typical day.

      I loved my work in radio, too. But, the world was changing beneath my feet and I ignored the shift until it knocked me on my butt.

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  17. Really helpfull and quite fantastic! Good work on this article. It's worth reading.

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  18. Bob, I had a really tough time with the decision to retire. I loved university life and I think most people would have labelled me a “workaholic.” I always thought I wouldn’t retire until pushing 70. I ended up in a senior leadership position that was extremely stressful and political. It caused me to burn out and was beginning to affect my physical health as well. Going into that final position, I’d intended to probably stay for 6 years, and then move back to my home province — but whether to retire or to take another position was an open question. There was also the option to stay on at the same university once I left my leadership role, but in a different, less stressful position, and I seriously considered doing that for a few years. In the end, I retired a few months before turning 61 (5 years into the job rather than 6) and I love it. I have no lack of things to keep me busy and engaged, even though it was more of a “retire from” than a “retire to” scenario.

    Jude

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    Replies
    1. For someone dedicated to a particular career and industry, retiring can be tough. We have so much of ourselves invested in what we have been doing, that sometimes it is tough to see ourselves without that validation. Others, simply love what they do and make rationalizations to stick it out for as long as it is bearable. That is the retire from, not retire to model.

      Your story fits those basic patterns, as does the "rest of the story:" your positive transition after you finally pulled the plug. Interestingly, I think health or mental stress issues are often a key driver in the "retire from" camp.

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