Recharging and Reconnecting Recap

Retirement Review: September 7, 2014

My blog is about my new three Rs: retire, recharge, and reconnect. I accomplished the first R on March 31, 2014 when I retired. I decided that five months is a good point to take stock of how I’ve done on the other two. Why wait the traditional six months: Break out of the mold.

Have I recharged and reconnected? Have I moved on to the next phase of my life?  I made this list to remind myself where my journey has taken me since March 31, 2014. I was gratified to see what I had accomplished. I might not be totally there but I have made definite progress. Regularly posting to this blog has helped me move forward. I have

  • traveled in three continents, five countries (not counting layovers), one Canadian province, ten US states (not counting the ones I drove through without stopping), four of the five Great Lakes, Niagara Falls;
  • ridden in a car, a ferry, a boat, a train, an airplane, a taxi, a bus, a tram, and a safari vehicle;
  • crossed mountains, deserts, sand dunes, oceans, prairies, grasslands, rivers, and lakes;
  • encountered six of my seven siblings (I visited my sister in Alaska over Christmas), most of my nieces and nephews, many other relatives, lots of old friends, and five great safari traveling companions;
  • visited or viewed cathedrals, castles, museums, historic houses, Namibian game reserves and national parks, elephants, zebras, giraffes, leopards, cheetahs, oryx, kudu, one lonely black rhino, dolphins, white pelicans, flamingos, a whale, fur seals, giant red sand dunes, the Atlantic Ocean looking west, ancient rock engravings, stained glass windows, Cartier jewelry, Norman Rockwell paintings, Alphonse Mucha’s great mural cycle, US civil war historic sites, and a casino, and
  • regularly contributed photographs and postings to this blog, to my ViewBug photo page, to Facebook; worked to improve my photography skills; and explored ways expand my world.

Because I’m Happy

Clap along if you know what happiness is to you

Today is a very minor anniversary. Two weeks ago I retired. Even though two weeks is just a blip in life’s timeline, it is worth noting. I took a life altering step and I have no regrets. In fact, I have learned a couple of things.

I no longer know or care what day it is. I don’t have to pack all my errands into a Saturday or take leave for a medical appointment. I can stroll the neighborhood taking pictures of flowers without feeling like I should be doing something constructive. I can spend an afternoon studying an atlas to plot my upcoming drive to Minnesota.

Several weeks ago, one of my co-workers introduced me to a song I adopted as my retirement anthem. Every time I hear it, it validates my decision. Take a listen. If you can listen without wanting to clap along, your soul is missing a beat.

Day 7 – Phase 2

The first week of retirement has passed so rapidly I can’t believe it. I am amazed by two things. First, I have totally put my old job out of my mind. I think about the people I worked with but not about the work, the stress, the ridiculousness of some of the tasks I had to do. I don’t even remember why I was stressed. I have let go of it all.

Second, and most surprising, I discovered that it is not hard to get up in the morning when I don’t have to. I am awake at the same time I used to have to force myself out of bed. I have started a morning walking program. I no longer have an excuse.

I wonder what revelations Week 2 holds.

Day 1 – Phase 2

Retirement Arrives

I feel lighter, as if a weight has been lifted and I could float away. Does that sound silly? Maybe so, but it’s true. Yesterday at 3:30 p.m. I was walked out of the building in which I had worked for seven years and ended my thirty-one years as an employee of the federal government. It was a good run, with both positives and negatives, just like any job or large organization.

The fact that I worked for six different agencies in four states and two countries says more about my tendency to get bored if work becomes repetitive than it does about the actual jobs I held. For the first twenty-one years I worked in community and economic development programs that provided assistance to low-income and economically distressed areas. I had the opportunity to travel throughout the western United States while working with cities, counties, states, and Indian tribes. The last ten years I worked for one of the best law enforcement agencies in the world.

So, what did I do on the first day of the next phase of my life? I went to a casino. Yes, it’s true. Two of my fellow retirees and I started a tradition. Every April 1 and October 1 we will get together. Hopefully, the group will grow as others in our former office retire. And, incredibly, I won. Because I generally lose, I think the $239.98 payout from a penny slot machine, while not a fortune, is an omen of great things to come.

And tomorrow, what then? Does it really matter? It can be anything I want, anything I am inspired to try or to learn. Maybe I will try life.

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