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!   


  1. Congratulations on your imminent retirement. My husband has about two more years till he retires, and then we also will travel part time. I enjoyed your post as our son recently got his first flight certification. I remember him telling me his first lesson he was to look but don't touch. Enjoy your travels and keep us posted from the road please.

  2. Not having to return to work at a specified time will take some getting used to, but it's a great feeling. :)

  3. so lucky that the 'light is very bright' for your retirement plans! ours is very dim at the moment..
    congrats on the new 'grand baby'..what fun that will be in January!

  4. When I finally quit working all together after retiring twice before that, I found that it felt perfectly natural. I did start full timing right away, so maybe that helped a lot:)

  5. Yep, we hear ya! We are going to have a great grand in January.....but, considering John's past health problems.....he comes first in my book. Grands and great grands are ...... great, but my own life mate is precious.

    1. Oops! Forgot to say ENJOY! This will also be a transition for Sandy. When John retired, It was hard having someone home all the time. Now look at us. Living and traveling in 400+ sq.ft.

  6. Job well done on your working time, now it's time to enjoy life! I'm sure you will find being retired just great, as I have found.
    Also I like your decision not to become full timers. Very smart choice not getting rid of the home. We also feel this is the best of both worlds.
    Enjoy retirement!

  7. Obviously, you have been working on your "flight plan" for this next leg of your life trip... Now it is time to file it so it seals the commitment. No 5 year goals and objectives is the worst thing for those retiring after a long dedicated career. They think that retiring means no goals and no tangible objectives but for people that have always functioned to a plan not having one that they are truly committed to usually ends up shortening their lives.

    People need direction more than food and shelter to be fulfilled and happy. Cows don't. Full time or part time is irrelevant. It is about the commitment and anticipation of accomplishment of the plan.

    Enjoy and congratulations.

  8. Mike congratulations on retirement. We were somewhat different, in that we knew we wanted to full time and would sell the house, so when the big day came we just got in the truck, hooked up the trailer and took off on our adventures.

    Hope to meet you on the road somewhere.

  9. I guess I haven't been hanging around as much lately. Too much work (er, don't like that word) too many household chores to keep me busy...

    Congratulations on the retirement thing. For many, it does take some getting used to. I'm currently 'between assignments', as I'm too young to actually think of myself as 'retired'. I left a job in May of 08, moved to Europe with my wife, and there hasn't been a huge desire or need to get out there and get a paycheck. I recall a first generation Italian gentleman saying once, "But..(the name of his son, not important) you can only eat one chicken a day."

    My wife *said* she was going to retire in July, but she's busy solving all the little problems for her company here in Canada. Such is the way it is. I think she's a little scared, truth be told.

    Anyway, Good Luck.

  10. Mike, Congrats on your retirement. I am in Afghanistan and look forward to returning to East Texas and retiring myself. Looking forward to many days
    of travel. Rodney Kelley, USN.


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