I’ve imagined, reimagined and planned my retirement for years. Now it’s here and I am ready. Oh I won’t be driving around the country in an RV or taking a cruise twice a year. No snow birding in Arizona each winter and certainly no lakeside cabin to retreat to in the late spring. Single by choice and childless by fate, there is no husband to look after or grandchildren to sit.
So what have I been dreaming of all these years? The sheer joy of reinventing my life one last time. I’ve opened a small consulting firm to fill the need for nonprofit capacity building services in our small rural County of about 35,000 people. My professional services include grant writing, developing and implementing evaluation protocols, as well as training and coaching for new Executives and their Boards of Directors. After years of community work, I’ve been able to capitalize on my reputation to secure a few contracts which will meet my modest economic needs over the next year and afford me the time to build the business.
But that’s only one piece of the dream. The piece of retirement I’ve eagerly been awaiting is the sheer luxury of time. Time that belongs just to me. Boundless hours that I can use to read and reflect and write. Hours and days and weeks stretching ahead that I can spend with my friends and family, reconnecting, enriching our relationships. Long walks with the dogs instead of quick potty breaks. A class I can take that is no longer tied to my career but learning for the sheer pleasure of it. Retirement will be made up of mornings quietly knitting and afternoons engrossed in quilting and months of gardening and all the things I never had enough time to do because my career stole every weekday and seeped into my evenings and carried over into weekends and even vacations.
I never really understood people who are bored with retirement or miss going to work everyday. Or those who believe to have a happy retirement you needed obscene amounts of money to buy a second home in a sunshine state or support a vacation lifestyle cruising here and there. Having been raised in New York City, and having lived in different parts of the country when I was young woman, retiring in my little town of 2,000 people in my 1928 farmhouse with all the time in the world to indulge in all the small pleasures my simple life affords me is everything I need to have a long and happy retirement.