THE THING ABOUT RETIREMENT

A little over a year ago, I retired from my full-time job as a records scanner for a large medical concern. In reality, it was quitting since there is no Social Security payment involved, but only time that is now my own. I should have stayed on until my real retirement age, but I just couldn’t stand another day, let alone two years. The stressful, low-paying, mind-numbing, body-crushing, unappreciated… need I go on?

I had lots of ideas about what I’d do with those extra five days per week: go for health walks and get a treadmill; write my books, blogs, stories, posts, and articles; finish cataloging my ancestry and maybe visit some of the places they had lived; cat-sit and do collectible sales for money; get back to regular volunteering and attend my Al-Anon meeting every week. I envisioned a decline of stress and an upsurge of energy. All those things I’d promised myself for the last fifteen years.

Things never work out as planned, do they? I hadn’t counted on a resurgence of my General Anxiety Disorder which makes even the simplest effort disproportionately difficult. Out of the last 12 months, I’ve been plagued with some extent of GAD for 8. I didn’t get a treadmill and now I’ve became reticent to go outside my house; no one’s here to make me, so in I stay. I didn’t cat-sit or sell stuff because I got an ACA health plan that was based on me not making any money. I became even more of a slacker about my volunteering and my meetings because they were away from home. (see above.) I had so little energy I was certain I must be sick.

The thing I did do was write. I finished and published 2 books in 2016, wrote a third draft of another, and started a fourth. I managed about a blog a week, sometimes more, sometimes less. I kept up with posts on Facebook, Goodreads, Instagram, and Pintrest. I did promotion, readings, and panels; I attended promotions, readings, and panels. I met lots of writers, read lots of books, and for the first time, really began to feel like I was a writer too. So that’s what I do in my house when I don’t go outside: I write.

On looking back at the last year, a year of making – and breaking – my own plans and goals, I see it as a transition and learning experience. I know I have to keep moving, even if all I want to do is sit and play with the stories in my head. I feel better when I move, walk. I’ve just recently began standing at my computer instead of sitting, and it did me instant good. I know I have to bravely face the anxiety when it comes and appreciate the times when it’s gone. I know I have to make some money, and I really do love cat-sitting. (Collectible sales, not so much)

Retirement comes with a cost: all those hours I have to fill with my own choices. It feels a little like being a kid out of school: I couldn’t wait to be here but now what do I do? I thought I knew, but I am finding it’s a process. To be fulfilled and comfortable in retirement, I have to give up a lot of preconceptions. I have to let go of fantasies and goals that will not work for me anymore. Everyone’s retirement looks different and I know now that mine isn’t going to be on the Love Boat.

 

About Mollie Hunt

Loves cats. Writes books.
This entry was posted in anxiety disorder, Getting Older, Health, Wellness, Lifestyle, Lifestyle and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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