Early Retirement

Reflecting on my last day in the office

Reflecting on my last day in the office

After a fairly intense 25-year corporate career, I recently opted for early retirement at age 55. On August 15, I turned in my BlackBerry, laptop, American Express, and security badge, packed up a few family pictures and files from my office, and walked out the door.   It felt like the weight of the world off my shoulders! I shocked more than a few people with my decision, as I was at the height of my career and earning potential and few could see me sitting at home doing nothing all day.  For crying out loud, I don’t even do the cooking, cleaning or laundry at home and we recently achieved empty-nester status with our son off to college in Annapolis.  My biggest hobby is reading People magazine when it appears in the mailbox each Friday, and reading a book a month for my book club.  Co-workers consistently asked me “So what will you DO, Betsy?!!”

Some were disappointed that I was another woman opting out of the climb to the corner office and I carried some “survivor guilt” as I walked out the door leaving the myriad corporate and gender battles unwon.  But I was burned out from the job and the battles and more than ready for a change.  And I had no fire in my belly to chase the elusive brass ring for the C-suite. Plus, my already-retired husband is 13 years older than I am.   After overseeing end of life care for both of my parents the past ten years, I know how quickly one’s health (and life) can change and I wanted to make sure my husband and I had the time to travel together while we both still have our health.  A health scare last year  (that turned out to be a false alarm) sealed the deal for me.

In my career, I was a retirement consultant/lawyer, so the financial side of retirement was well-thought-out and planned.  But the personal and emotional aspects of retirement not so much.   It was a journey getting to retirement from my corporate career, and now I see another journey ahead transitioning into the next phase of my life, one that is not so well planned.   So as I embark, I decided to start a blog to document my first year of retirement for posterity.   Of my friends my age with careers, I am the first to take the retirement plunge and there seems to be interest in hearing how this goes.   I am honored and humbled to be the guinea pig in this experiment.

4 thoughts on “Early Retirement

  1. Welcome to the blogosphere Betsy! have fun.

  2. Bets,
    Your days will soon be so busy, you’ll wonder how you ever had time to work (even though Doug did everything at home)!
    I’ll enjoy reading about how much you enjoy retirement. Per your usual style, you are a great blogger already.
    Pat

  3. You’re going to have to try all the pottery, salsa, couples massage classes for us all and report back. When the time comes, I don’t want to waste my retirement on bad hobbies. It’s on you, Betsy!

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