I’m still a bit of a novice at this retirement biz. In November 2014, I retired completely from an almost 40-year full-time nursing career.
I had considered taking my pension and leaving my name on the casual list in order to wean myself off slowly. One August day, in the summer of 2014, I had a moment of clarity that changed this plan. I was having a wonderful day at work and all of a sudden, I had an epiphany. With nothing upsetting me, and for no reason at all, I said to myself, “Terry you’re done”. It took me until November to make the decision on the date.
I loved not having to go to work that first winter. I recall seeing the first heavy snowfall out my window, smiling to myself and saying, “Ahhh that’s really too bad”. I was a home care nurse at the time of my retirement and driving to do home visits on cold, snowy, icy winter days wasn’t among my favorite activities. The only time I’d have to dress up warm and start the car ahead of time to go out in the winter now, was my choice, and was the first big positive I experienced.
No alarm clocks was the next life-altering change. For over 43 years, (from the time I finished high school, worked for a year, and then my time in nurses’ training) I was a slave to an alarm clock and to time in general. I was so time-oriented, I couldn’t live life without a watch. Now, the only time I’d have to set an alarm would be to catch an early flight.
Coming to a full stop from going at a manic pace all of those years was like running into a wall at full speed forward. I didn’t venture far from the couch for almost 4 months. My hubs was still working and his work as a long-haul driver kept him away all week. I didn’t have to cook and I had no energy to do any housework or even to go out to do simple errands. I started going steady with Netflix – watching one series after another from beginning to end. I’d watch and sleep and sleep and watch. If I was hungry, I’d open a can of kernel corn and eat it cold, right out of the can, so I wouldn’t have dishes to do. That was my life. I didn’t even go to bed. I just slept on the couch on and off over every 24 hours. I know I was exhausted and now, in hindsight, I believe I was also depressed from leaving a lifetime of being needed and valued to an existence of nothingness.
If I had it to do all over again would I change how I retired? Yes, I would. I would have listened to my heart and head a year earlier when retirement was an option and I would have weaned off slowly. I opted to work another year to boost up my pension. That bit of extra cash per month wasn’t worth the 4 months I lost while I was in recovery mode.
Now, a full 3 years later, I’m finally able to reflect back on a long, diverse, and rewarding career. It’s definitely a sentimental journey.
The photo I chose for my featured image was one I took at the Arizona Commemorative Air Force Museum in Mesa, Az. This is the only combat aviation museum in the Phoenix area and well-worth your visit if you’re into aviation history. https://www.azcaf.org/
Retired is being twice tired, I’ve thought first tired of working, then tired of not. Richard Armour