3897 Buteo Place
Titusville, FL 32796
My retirement story: Retiring From Retirement
In July of 2011, I left a job rather abruptly due to a personal issue that is now resolved. I was 59 ½, that magical age when you become eligible for social security, so it seemed like a good time to slide unceremoniously into retirement. My husband, 5 years younger than I am, was thrilled to have me home at last. My retirement would lead the way to his. Although this was an unplanned retirement, I began to think of all the projects and bucket list items I had placed on hold for so many years. I have at least 7 writing projects in the works, large plastic tubs filled with old letters that I have written and received through my early days of parenthood, my mother’s divorce and remarriage, my husband’s deployment to Desert Storm, and my own active duty years in the military, that I want to use for a book. I have short stories and memoirs written but unedited, and notebooks filled with journal entries from my early twenties and beyond.
I wanted to meet a horse, so I took some horseback riding lessons that included learning to groom and saddle the horse. I met friends for lunch. I wrote in my journal every day. I talked to my cats. I made nice meals for my husband. I called my kids.
After only a couple of months I began to feel isolated and lonely. My husband recommended a book about enjoying retirement, which essentially told me that if I was bored, it is because I am boring. That did not cheer me up. I ran out of excuses for not cleaning the house.
Then a former colleague called me out of the blue in October. She was leaving her part-time job as a volunteer coordinator for our county government, and thought I would be perfect for it. She encouraged me to apply, which I did hesitantly because I still liked the option of being free when my husband’s schedule opened up. Six months went by, the holidays came and went, and I heard nothing. Then in April someone from the county called me and asked if I were still interested in an interview. By then I leapt at the chance. I had gotten tired of the horse (I almost wet my pants every time we started to trot), I had writer's block, and when I went to visit my daughter and grandchildren and stayed with them in their small house for a few days, the strain my daughter felt at trying to keep up with her kids’ schedules, her own school and work load and efforts to “entertain” me, led her to a hysterical crying jag on the last night I was there.
When I interviewed for the volunteer coordinator job they asked me what my vision was for the position. Instead of talking about how I wanted to make meaningful placements for volunteers that also met the needs of the various county departments, I said in a very politically incorrect manner that I wanted a job where I was not micromanaged, where I could develop the job in the way that I thought best and where I would have a flexible schedule that I could determine for myself and adjust as necessary. My previous “retirement” and the support of my husband, gave me the freedom to tell the truth about what I really wanted in a job, for the first time in my life.
I got the job. I now am a volunteer coordinator for my county, and am having a blast. I work Tuesday through Thursday and every weekend is a four-dayer. I have a schedule now, which helps me stay more focused on my days off to get done some of the projects that I seemed overwhelmed by when I had so much time on my hands. And my husband and I are very happy knowing that retirement will be fun, but it will be better when we can do it together. We also now have time to plan our financial exit strategy and can look back on our last few years of working with a positive sense of achievement and satisfying closure.