Word Count: 486
One Foot Out the Door
By Peg Scarano
I started looking forward to retirement 20 months before the big day. That’s when I started counting the weeks. There were approximately 90 of them left. When I got down to a year, I started counting days – 365 – that was pretty easy. When I got down to a few weeks, I started counting hours while driving to and from work each day. However, I never did, and still do not do math, so that was s bit difficult for me.
I should explain that retirement was bittersweet for me for the most part. I didn’t love my job, but I didn’t hate it either. I was just sick and tired of getting up every day to the alarm; having to make myself pretty (which gets harder all of the time); and spending 40 hours a week completing tasks I had gradually lost interest in doing. I found myself daydreaming of what I could be doing if I wasn’t working. That was a very long list.
The last month I was there included the Christmas holidays which always keep me distracted in an entirely different manner than daydreaming. Every minute before, during and after the holidays is busy with, well work, but more importantly, planning, buying, wrapping, baking, decorating, cleaning, cooking, etc. Everyone is familiar with that list. Three days after I retired, we planned a three-month trip south so I had those plans and what to pack running around in my head as well.
Once Christmas and New Year’s were over, I entered a liminal state. I wasn’t worth my salary at work and when I was home, my mind wandered to what I wasn’t getting done at work and how I might possibly miss being there when I was no longer a welcomed member of that particular family. It was a dilemma!
I remember my last working day as being bittersweet. I experienced a whole menagerie of emotions. There were tears and laughter, joy and sorrow and a swelling of my heart to the verge of it breaking. However, once I got home and started packing, I totally crossed the threshold into full retirement! I was free to come and go as I pleased! I no longer had to figure out how many days off I had left or how to distribute them throughout the year. No more guilt about leaving my colleagues stuck with my work while I went away. I have never looked back. My work friends who really mattered are still my good friends and we see each other when they can work it in their schedules. As for me, I may be in the area to join them or I just may take a rain check because I might be in New Jersey, Virginia, Florida, Canada, Maine, Italy, or Switzerland or – wherever the spirit happened to take me.
Or, I may just be floating on this cloud-nine branded as retirement!