Photo taken near Monument Valley, Utah

Sunday, July 7, 2013

The End is Near

At home in Fort Worth...

No, I'm not talking about the end of the world (although sometimes I wonder if it will survive the politicians), I'm talking about the end of my work world.  Since I have been working continuously for about 45 years, I really don't remember what not working was like.  I do remember that I was young and full of ambition then, and I wondered where that would take me.  When I retire at the end of August, I'll know.

Almost all of my time in the work world was centered around airplanes.  I knew from a very young age that I wanted to be a pilot, and I achieved that goal, retiring from flying as a Boeing 727 captain.  After that, I joined the FAA and became an inspector, supervisor and office manager.  After 17 years with the FAA, I'm finally bidding goodbye to a profession I have enjoyed and that has treated me well.  I only hope that whatever influence I may have had toward others along the way was more positive than negative.

I'm a little unsure of what to expect as I lurch toward retirement, but my initial impression is that it's much the same as I feel about getting old.  You see, I've never gotten old before, so I'm often surprised when I'm confronted with new limitations on activities, body parts and brain function that I thought happened only to others.  The same can be said about retiring; since I've never retired before, I suspect that I might be a little clunky at it until I get the hang of it.  I think it's a little like taking your first flying lesson: The first thing your instructor says is, "Don't touch anything."  Well, that's not going to work here, as I am, basically, my own instructor.  (This doesn't work well when learning to fly, by the way.)  

However, I know that Sandy will not hesitate to give me guidance, as she has ten years' experience at being retired.  Come to  think of it, she doesn't necessarily need experience in something to offer her opinion on it, so I think I'm covered.

Perhaps the first consideration is, can we afford it?  The answer, hopefully, is yes. As we have gotten older, we are well beyond the ‘acquisition’ phase and into the ‘downsizing’ phase, so we don’t buy as much stuff as we used to.  In fact, we found that efforts toward simplifying life are increasingly rewarding in our later years. Without any concerted effort to do so, we've also become, well, cheap. More and more often, I may be in a store and start an argument with myself as to whether I really need to purchase an item I think I want. (My hope is that the argument will remain nonverbal, so as to save the family from embarrassment.)

Full time or part time? Part time won. We recognize the freedom that would come by jettisoning the house and its associated upkeep and expenses, but we're not quite ready to give up the home base, especially a custom built RV home like ours. 

Phannie is comfortable here, and so are we!

What we don't know is what part time will look like. I am looking forward to extended travel, the ending point of which is undefined by having to return to work on a date certain. That will be a really big deal for me. 

Besides, we've learned that we are to be grandparents again!  Mindy and Tyler will be welcoming a new brother or sister for Mason in January, and that exciting event will certainly keep us nearer home for a while this winter.

More later on retirement preparations!