I retired in October 2010 after 31 years working for the Federal Government. I was 68 years old. At that time, I had no plans. I was not moving away, I was not planning on working; yes, I wanted to travel, but as far as "short or long term plans, I had none. All I knew was that after 31 years of getting up at 4:15 a.m., I wanted to sleep late, and I did! During those first few days my body still wanted to wake up at 4:15 even without an alarm clock. It just could not get used to sleeping late. After a few weeks, my y "sleeping late" meant to wake up around 7:a.m., stay in my night clothes, fix me a cup of coffee and stay in bed to read the newspaper or my favorite book. "This is life" I would say to myself. “I don't have to go out when it rains or when it snows, I can stay here all day long and do "my own thing". So, when people ask me "what does retirement means to you"? I answer: FREEDOM! Freedom to feel and do exactly what I want to do. I have the freedom to stay in bed or get out of bed, to clean the house or not clean it, to read, watch TV, to walk alone or with my dog. I have the freedom to be me and to do those things I have wanted to do for so long but because of work I did not. Now, I have the freedom to make a list of the Dos that have been put away for 31 years. For a year and a half, I have been crossing out items on my VERY LONG list of DOs, such as decongest the closets (why do I need 20 towels, 12 duvets, 10 sets of sheets?). Get rid of clothes that don't fit but that I have been saving hoping to lose the 40 pounds I need to lose. Going through my kitchen cabinets and getting rid of spices with expiration dates as old as Grandma Moses; getting rid or pots with no handles; eliminating many extra dishes, cups, glasses, platters that I do not need. It just felt so good to open my cabinets and have everything in order and easy to find. I finally got the time to work in my garden. I live in a small place so my backyard is small, but I love flowers. I finally planted a myriad of flowers that have made this small place look like a “mini Better Home and Gardens cover”. My DOs list has shrunk considerably and I am very satisfied. This FREEDOM also includes spending time with the many friends I have and with my children and grandchildren who live away. I travel, I do volunteer work, I teach part-time (whenever I want), I attend lectures and classes to enhance my spirit and my intellectual curiosity. I attend theatre performances, visit museums and exhibits. I simply love life and living and retirement is allowing me to live to the fullest. There is so much to do, to see, to learn, to share that I cannot thank God enough for giving me the health and the means to be able to live my life as I am living it right now. Yes, retirement to me is Freedom to do all that.
Ligia Diaz Glass