When I retired this past January (2019) I wasn’t sure what to expect. As far back as I can remember I have worked, and after spending some 47 years with my agency, CLASS, the regimen of working had been deeply embedded in my psyche. Of course, I knew I would always stay busy, but retirement challenged this notion, and I have to admit, made we wonder about the prospects.
Now, some 8 months into “retirement,” I have to tell you that it has been one of the best things I have ever done - for a number of reasons.
First, I have been amazed by the reduction of stress. In fact, when I was working I never thought much about stress. Of course I knew that aspects of my job were stressful, but I always found ways to deal with that stress that seemed to make it manageable. Be it exercise, or meditation or conscious efforts to relax, I thought that I had things covered. It wasn’t until I retired however, that I began to realize the extent and impact of the stress. It wasn’t just the work-related stress, but even the traffic jams while driving added up. Clearly I was under significant stress that I never really accounted for.
The other key realization is the importance of time. Certainly the older you get the more time becomes a premium. How we use our time, who we spend time with, reflections on how much time we might have, in fact the quality of how we manage our time all become important topics. Working full time drives most of our time in that direction. We are accountable for job-related outcomes and these activities take time.
In retirement however, we find that we are more fully in control of our time. Rather that being committed to a task or assignment that happens when we are working, in retirement we become empowered by time. We can choose what we want to do and with whom……And the older we get the more selective we should be about how we use this time.
So whether you are working now or not, I hope you can think about these 2 issues - stress and time. These issues can rob you of freedoms, and if not managed effectively, deplete your essence. They (stress and time) need to be respected for what they are - critical to health and happiness!