The transition from working for the past 40 years (since age 12) has identified many emotions that I would never have thought were going to happen. We work for so long that it becomes who we are. People always ask us what we do, to try to give context to who we are. In the US, I get that.
We are moving to what we call the third phase of life where we can be passionate about something and not have to worry about the “making ends meet” part. We have been so taught to live the American dream, which is very consumer-oriented and we have done that. We have enjoyed it too. But now it is time to let it go. We don’t want shiny new cars. new clothes, or even a house to own and have to work for.
As I transition out of my position at work and pass the “baton” to a colleague it has been interesting for me to take note of my feelings. I have been fairly successful at internalizing them and being able to ponder them. Why? My feelings about this transition really do not matter except to me. Those projects and items that have been set up by me, are mine, done in my style. But no one has to do it the same way that I have. We have a great person to take over and he will choose to do it his way.
It is exciting and a little unnerving to say goodbye to our past lives. We are really saying goodbye to so much of our current existence . I’m not speaking about our relationships, but the patterns that have set in place and enjoyed over the past 9 years in our present house and community. If you think about it…… you have ways of doing things and established patterns that always change when you travel or move on.
The prospect of being gone and meeting new people and seeing new things and creating new activities is like having a grownup Christmas every single day. We have been working endlessly at always seeing everything as an opportunity rather than a challenge and problem. That is essential. We work on that on a daily basis.
Here is my list, as I see it, in preparation for our next adventure.
- Letting go of the clothes and items that defined who we are (no more neckties).
- Letting go of the activities and job that defined who we are (organizations, titles, positions,roles),
- Working on a travel attitude and a change from problem based to opportunity based (no more saying “we can’t because..” )
- Preparation of our vehicle for the trip. This has been quite entertaining but never-ending as we come up with new ideas.
- Investigation of work and volunteer opportunities in foreign countries,
- Change, change, change and a little more change.
The count-down has been going on for the past 2 years and is reaching a feverish pace. We are one and half months away at the writing of this post.
4 thoughts on “Mike’s first post- balancing on the edge of departure”
When Ron & I semi-retired (for as short lived as it was) it was a huge adjustment for him and he had a hard time converting. Sounds like you have it under control. Myself I loved it from day one and cannot wait to go back and do it my way this time. 🙂
Good to see you writing, Mike, and I hope it continues. I showed your blog post to a coworker of mine and she was like “imagine what it would be like to retire in your 50s….” with a big wistful smile. Your attitude about the changes sounds really good. I admire you guys for being able to downsize as much as you are – I’m downsizing too, but you are going beyond me!
It’s all about identity, no? So fundamental to our beings. You are taking on a new one. Most of us don’t. So brave, so exciting!