At home in Fort Worth...
Now having one month's retirement under my belt, I thought it might be interesting to share my initial impressions of life as a retiree. You will recall that I just sort of belly-flopped into this new lifestyle after 45 years of constant employment, except for a few weeks when I was between jobs. Frankly, I didn't know what to expect, but I can tell you now that it didn't take long for me to adjust. And I can also tell you that I like it. A lot.
Here are some of my first month's impressions:
1. The wakeup alarm on my clock radio has not sounded even once. I have always hated that darned thing, and I still haven't decided what action to take if it has the audacity to come on again at some point. Who knows, it might even involve gunfire; there is a pistol in my nightstand drawer...
2. I don't have to be in my car, backing out of the garage at exactly 6:50 a.m. every morning in order to make in 40 minutes what would normally be a 20-minute drive to the office. This daily struggle was caused by endless road construction and 100,000 other drivers trying to kill me while talking on their cell phones or putting on makeup at 75 miles per hour. I saw some pretty horrific wrecks over the years, and I thank the Almighty for watching over me.
3. I don't miss working even a little bit. I have older friends, however, who are still there even though no economic need exists to hang around. I'm sorry, but I don't get it; life is too short, and there's so much of God's creation left to see. I don't have many regrets up to now, and I really don't want to start any new ones if I can help it. Regrets torment us because they almost always involve the consequences of something we unwisely did or did not do in the past and which are, of course, irreversible. Frankly, I can't think of anything I would regret more than taking my last sightseeing trip being wheeled out of my office on a gurney.
4. I find I now have way too many clothes. I will never need to buy anything else to wear for any purpose as long as I live. I believe I could do quite nicely now with perhaps two dozen articles of clothing. So what do I do with the two hundred others in my closet? I'm sure a heavily-laden trip to a charity collection center will be in the offing.
5. There is little need to go to the dry cleaners much anymore to maintain my executive look, such as it was. When I told the owner of the cleaners I was retiring, he hung black crepe around his door and mumbled something about suicide.
6. It's true what they say about not knowing what day it is! I really didn't believe that until I retired and stopped wearing my watch, upon which the day of the week appears rather prominently. However, any unsettling feeling I might have about this is mitigated by my realization that I generally have no need to know what day it is! If I need to do something on a specific day, Sandy will tell me. She always knows what day it is, along with a whole bunch of other stuff whose usefulness is questionable. For example, do I really need to know that you're not supposed to wear white shoes after Labor Day?
7. Perhaps retirement's greatest benefit is freedom. Freedom from deadlines; freedom from limitations on time and travel; freedom to linger at a special vacation spot or over coffee and good conversation; freedom to pursue a hobby or interest that was suppressed during the grind of the workweek; freedom to visit friends and family and rekindle old relationships. And yes, most importantly, freedom from regret.
As my friend Ed Dray reminds me every day, "Life is good!"