Does Practice Make Perfect?

Now that I’ve made the decision and my retirement date is set, I regularly find myself dreaming about what life will be like when I:

  • Don’t need to get up and go to work every day
  • Will no longer have a professional identity
  • Can wear blue jeans every day
  • Have the option to accomplish the goals I set for myself
  • Will have much more time to sew, read, travel, bike and cook

A Dry Run

This past week Kevin and I took a road trip to see autumn in the Carolina’s .  We drove down the eastern shore to Charleston, SC, retreated to North Carolina’s Smokey Mountains and drove back to Philly by way of the Virginia’s, Maryland and Gettysburg.  This was a wonderful fall get-away and an opportunity to begin the process of separating emotionally from my job.

This week was a time to think and talk about what it will be like to be retired. I found myself wondering what will fill the spaces in my brain which are currently occupied by work-related content.  What will I do each day? How will my wardrobe needs change?  What will I do with all of the shoes that are now taking up residence in my office? What can I realistically add to my bucket list?

Let’s consider the past week my dress rehearsal for retirement. For nearly all past vacations, I would have my Blackberry nearby and would check my email at least once a day (no lectures needed, I know, this isn’t a healthy practice).  While I would always enjoy vacations immensely and wasn’t consumed by thoughts about my job, it was always in the back of my mind.  Does this mean I wasn’t really on vacation?  I don’t think so.

Bayou in N. Carolina

The Results

Hmmm.  If this was “pass-fail”, I would give myself a “pass”.  One whole week without work-related email; it was easy to push thoughts about work out of my mind as we traveled through miles of mountains at the peak of their fall color.  My thoughts were consumed with how wonderful it will be to have the gift of time.  For now, that alone is unimaginable.  Admittedly I was and am self-absorbed about this whole thing, often rationalizing that “after 40+ years in healthcare, I deserve to retire before an arbitrary age set by our social security system”.

The real test is less than 4 months away but in the mean time, I think I’m getting ready for this huge change in my life.  For those of you who have preceded me in taking this step, I’m eager to hear about your journey.

Now, enjoy a few of Kevin’s photographs:

Charleston, SC
Smokey Mountains
Maryland forest
Gettysburg, PA