I read this really interesting, thought provoking post some time ago about the different stages of Retirement, by Kathy Merlino at Kathy’s retirement Blog. I carried on to read some more of her articles, which were great. It got me thinking about what stage of retirement I am at.
To paraphrase her, the phases of retirement are
- Retirement / honeymoon period.
- Retirement Routine
- End of Retirement
Further research suggests that there are several different views
This one also came up with 6 stages but they gave a stage just to your last day at work!. Interestingly it also included a disillusionment /disenchantment phase.
I hesitate to say this, but this is a phase that has mostly passed me by. Maybe because for 3 years of my retirement, I was caring for a 90+ mother. I saw it as a blessing. It was lovely to be able to spend time with her, when she needed it. I had spent too much time being away from home when I was working.
So, we have definitely missed out on disillusionment. Maybe it is ahead of us, but we still wake up and smile each morning and say – isn’t it great to be retired!
This was quite a short stage for me. It turned out to be 15 months. I took a six-month career break for family reasons. I turned 55 while on this break. At some stage during this time we decided we could both retire and why wouldn’t we? I love spreadsheets, so I had done endless iterations, and worked out our Drawdown Strategy. So I went back to work in September 2010, with only one thought – exactly when would I retire? On 28th October, aged 56, I walked out of work without a backward glance.
Retirement Honeymoon period
First of all we went to New Zealand for 3 weeks. (booked when we were still at work, and neither of us had handed in our notice, or we would have made it longer!), home for a week, then 2 weeks in St Lucia. Back in time for Christmas, then it was January. Now January in Scotland is a cold dark month. As I write this, it is dark by 4pm and daylight doesn’t arrive until 9am, so there are 17 or even 18 hours of darkness. Often we have the light on all day long, and the heating is going full tilt. It was such a delight not to be heading out in the dark, de-icing the car, driving to work. For me even more so, as I no longer had to get up at 4:30am on a Monday morning to get the first flight to London or Amsterdam. That pleasure lasted for months. Even now, six years in, we often comment on how lovely it is not to have to get up.
Indeed I don’t think we have ever really exited that honeymoon period.
Reorientation / Reorientation ….
We are permanently in a reorientation position. Over the 6 years we have been retired, things have changed significantly.
Define retired. A few months after my husband retired, his firm asked him to work part-time, at his own pace. It suits him, he enjoys it. He goes into the office about 6 days a year and works from home doing the work he wants to do. It wasn’t expected, and he enjoys it, so why not? He’s still doing it…. We save his salary!
We also don’t really have a routine. Each day is different – it evolves. What’s the weather like? Will we go for a walk? What will we have for our meals, depends on what is in the fridge / freezer
Our first three years were spent looking after my elderly mother who was 90+. It didn’t take a lot of time, but we made her meals for her and she shared in ours on many days. It was a rare day that I didn’t pop in to see her, or take her out. (She lived 5 minutes walk away, independently, in her own home). She would have been even more independent but unfortunately her sight was failing fast. Sadly, one evening she had a bad fall, and like many old ladies didn’t recover from it. C’est la vie.
In between times we fitted in several trips to New Zealand, a trip to India, a trip to Malaysia, a couple more trips to St Lucia. They took a little more organisation because we had to arrange a bit of extra support for my Mum, but apart from that, we were pretty free to head off when we wanted.
Three years in, also coincided with me taking on a voluntary position as a charity trustee/governor. This turned out to be rather more than the 6 days a year I had expected, more like 2-3 days a month. But I have enjoyed it.
Then by chance we happened on the concept of Slow Travel, spending 1-2 months in a different European city each year, and our routine changed yet again. It has been a delight taking this break each year. Every day is different. And, of course, a few more trips to New Zealand...
In year 6, I started blogging. Just because I could! Why not? I have enjoyed it. I hope my regular readers have too.
I continued with my passion – metal work, and I also started learning Spanish online (very slowly)
Year 7 onwards
I have reduced my charity commitment to about 1 day a month. This is working well. I continue to blog, but I am trying to make it fit in with my lifestyle rather than the other way around. I have started 2018 far more determined to get a few posts ready to go, so I can ignore it for weeks if I want to. I have ramped up the time I spend on my metal work. I’ve started weekly face to face Spanish lessons which I am really enjoying. I teach silver casting in among other things.
My husband is still continuing to work part-time. Without the pressures of deadlines, and able to spend time on his beloved maths, he is very happy. We both thought he would have stopped ages ago, but he wants to carry on.
We’re not there yet, but at some stage in the next 20 years, we will slow down. It is inevitable. We have been very fortunate health wise, long may it continue. We don’t have close family near us. So any plans we put in place have to ensure we are ‘self-sufficient’. In advance, we’ll do a bit of planning on what ‘old-age’ might look for us. My desire is to live independently in our own home, but the ‘home’ might be smaller, on one level etc. A friend’s mother made this transition aged 85, that seems a decent age to plan for.
So back to where we started!
- My personal aim is to be independent in my own home until the day I die!
- That home may not be in the same location as I am now. I have no idea what the next 20 years will bring. It will certainly be compact and easy to manage.
- If I end up in a home, please kids, make it a nice one! (I don’t care if it is manned by robots, but please don’t let it smell of urine.) I just hope I am not too much trouble and not too cantankerous! If so, I apologise now….
- Growing up we used to have an elderly aunt living with us – Auntie Tillie. She kept us all busy – often the house revolved around her. My daughter-in-law now has Auntie Tillie’s brass bell, that she used to ring, and expect attention when she wasn’t well. It drove everyone mad. Mum always said , when I get old and cause bother – just say Auntie Tillie to me and I will stop immediately. So boys – I hope saying Auntie Tillie will have the same effect on me when I am 90! This little bell can reverberate through several flights of stairs and a couple of closed doors!!
If you would like to pin this, and please do, just click the image below.