In some ways, I had two “first” days of retirement. My last day at work was a Thursday, so Friday was my first official day of retirement. I was happy to be free of my job and I wanted to do something special to commemorate the event. Awhile back, I saw an ad campaign; I believe for Ameriprise Financial , that featured photos people took of the sunrise on their first day of retirement. I thought that was pretty cool, so I filed the idea in the back of my head (the back of my head is a scary place) for “someday.”
When that “someday” actually came, I convinced my husband to go with me at sunrise to some hills overlooking the other side of our town facing east. We researched the time of sunrise, scoped out the perfect spot for a photo, packed up a camera and tripod and then rolled out of bed at 0-dark thirty and drove to the spot. And I didn’t even have a cup of coffee to fuel this insanity.
For the special event, I chose to wear a t-shirt that read “Free At Last – Fathers Day 1988.” This was a shirt that I gave my father (now deceased) the night before our wedding (which was a Fathers Day weekend). He had been so proud of my career and me and, besides the event-appropriate freedom message, it was a meaningful way to include my parents in this celebration even though they are no longer here.
Of course, what we failed to take into account in our sunrise calculations was that the sun came up behind some peaks to the northeast, making sunrise about 30 minutes later at our particular spot. That meant coming up with all sorts of novel ways to entertain ourselves on a road in the hills above town at dawn. Luckily this was CA in summer so braving the elements was not a concern. One diversion was taking practice pictures of me jumping for joy with the sunrise in the background…timing it just right for the camera shutter. After doing about 20 of them I was exhausted, but I got a couple of shots that really made me laugh.
After we got our shots, we went home and back to sleep. Later I prepared for a girls weekend beach trip, so Friday ultimately felt more like the start of a 3-day weekend than the first day of retirement.
Monday was therefore, in my opinion, my real “first” day of retirement, and here was my agenda (all times are estimates since I quickly lost track of time):
- 8:30 AM…Wake up
- 9:00 AM…Check my calendar to see if there is anything on it (force of habit – there wasn’t)
- 9:30 AM…Eat oatmeal (made by my husband) with my husband
- 10:30 – 11:30 AM…Sort through stuff I brought home from office
- 11:30 AM….Throw 90% of it away
- Noon….Check Facebook and send email to my friends at work just to irritate them
- 12:30 PM….Eat peanut butter & jelly sandwich I made myself (gold star)
- 1:00 PM…Clean out my closet
- 3:00 PM….Take a nap.
Note: Around 4:00, I was going to start working on our itinerary for our upcoming Paris trip but my husband suggested we go for an early walk and then drink margaritas in the pool in the rafts with cup-holders that we recently discovered in our garage, which sounded like a much better use of my time. Planned agenda aborted.
All in all, it was a surprisingly busy day “doing nothing.” I did feel like I got some things accomplished. There wasn’t the adrenaline rush of closing on a big new business deal, but a satisfaction in a having the luxury to do one thing at a time at a slower pace and focus. I always felt like I was juggling 30 balls in my job.
Post-script: My husband made the margaritas a tad strong…so the day was ended with both of us passed out on the couch after watching the CBS evening news with Scott Pelley. Three cheers for the old boring folks!