Trying It Out…

My entire working career I have always put a high priority on travel.  When I had the preschool I did not have paid vacation, so I worked a second job to pay for travel.  When I started working at the school district, my position was a year-round position and so I got vacation days.  Every year I planned our travel using every one of those days each year.

Over the past few years a number of circumstances have come together that have slowed my travel plans considerably.  As I result, I found myself with enough vacation days “left over” that I could take the week of New Years off.  I had no plans … I would just stay home.  I had NEVER in my working life just stayed home.  In fact, I had never even considered it, preferring to save my days for a big trip.

Suze Orman is always encouraging people to “try out retirement” while you’re still working .  This time would be a way to do just that.  It wouldn’t be a fair trial because it would not be long enough to really know what it felt like, but it would still be an interesting experiment.  So here’s what I learned:

  1. I had much more energy!  Even though I worked hard at home, my time at work is faster paced, more stressful and demanding.  Now, by the time I get home in the evenings I have already “hit the wall”.
  2. My house will be cleaner, because I was always taking a little extra time to more thoroughly clean.  Now, I am so tired after work that “a lick and a promise” is about the best I can muster.
  3. My husband was hoping for more together time than he got during that week.  He kind of followed me around as I busied myself around the house, hoping for a little companionship and maybe for us to spend more time doing something together instead of me being totally absorbed in my projects.  If I was working on my computer, he would want to be on his computer as well, wanting to share all the forwarded email and You Tube links he’d received.  Unfortunately, I have no interest in or patience for forwarded email crap, and his playing You Tube videos while I’m working at my computer, wanting me to watch them with him, was more than I could take.  From now on, when I think about being retired I need to include time for “us” as well as time for myself.  It WON’T include forwarded email or You Tube videos, however!
  4. I was surprised to find that I was not as physically active as when I’m at work.  Several of my projects were things like sewing, reading, working Sudoku puzzles, working on my computer…all very sedentary things.  While at work, I am up and down the stairs and hurrying here and there.  Once I’m retired I had already planned to join SARC and exercise at least 3X/week as well as walking more and working in the yard, but I did not do those things during my time off.  For sure I will have to make that conscious effort to stay active.
  5. I was NOT bored!  I did not think I would be, and in fact would have been very surprised if I had been.
  6. The TV drove me NUTS!!!  My husband LOVES TV and music and You Tube and often has all of them going at the same time…AWK!  I would retreat to my sewing room and close the door and put on quiet, background music in an attempt to drown out the constant babble, but that is going to be a problem.  We have worked around it in the evenings and on the weekend and when we go camping by him wearing headphones to listen.  But he can’t walk around all day, every day, wearing headphones the whole time.  We are going to have to work something out there.  I’m going to have to get some of my own headphones to share the inconvenience, if I like it quiet.

All in all, it was a great experiment and I’m looking forward to being retired even more than before.  I thoroughly enjoyed being home and puttering around the house and did not feel like those vacation days were wasted at all.

I was a little anxious about going back to work, knowing that it was going to be really busy… but once I got there it was fine.  I really do love my job and the people I work with.  I’m still looking forward to being retired, though!

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