Never-ending Weekend

Although I actually enjoyed my job before I retired, I was afflicted for many years with Monday Morning Dread, a sinking sensation that usually crept up on me sometime late Sunday afternoon.  It was the sensation that the weekend was over and that I would soon have to shift into work-mode.  On Monday morning, I would have to dress in work-clothes and engage my work-mindset.  I would have job responsibilities to take up my time: meeting deadlines, answering the phone, replying to email, completing assignments.  Some Monday mornings were worse than others, of course, but regardless of the actual demands of the job, all my Sunday nights were plagued by MMD.

Now that I am retired, there is no reason to dread Mondays, but nevertheless, the affliction persisted during the first months of retirement.  I would get the creepy feeling on Sunday evenings that I needed to prepare myself for whatever dragons might appear on Monday morning.  But now there are no dragons on Monday morning.  I did not so much enjoy having to face dragons, but now I am missing them.  At first, it would take me most of Monday to get over phantom MMD.  That is one reason why retirement has been a period of adjustment.

Phantom MMD persisted for months after the beginning of my retirement, but it is fading now in the last months of year one.  Retirement has displaced MMD with the slightly euphoric sensation of the Never-ending Weekend.  Monday mornings might just as well be Saturday mornings, given the lack of dragons.

Retirement, actually, has much in common with weekends.  For the non-retired, weekends provide recreational time and opportunities to have fun, but weekends are also when the non-retired person must do all those things he put off doing during the work week because he did not have time for them.  Occupying much of the weekend to-do list are routine household chores and yard work.  Weekends are the only time available for the non-retired person to do all the minor repairs and improvements that beset the happy-homeowner.

In retirement, you can do this stuff seven days a week!

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I retired ten months ago, or so, at the beginning of 2013.  My retirement was by choice.  It was not a sudden thing. I had been thinking about it for two or three years.  My wife retired in 2009.

I was not forced to retire due to loss of a job or a medical problem.  Money did not seem to be an issue.  My wife and I are not hugely wealthy, but we both worked at jobs that provided retirement plans, and we have always been careful not to live beyond our means.  I feel fortunate that I could, in fact, choose to retire.

Most retired people that I have talked to have given it generally good reviews.  Five stars.  Retired people tell me that retirement is great, that their lives are busier than ever, and that they wonder why they did not retire sooner.

I do not like the word “retirement.”  When I retired, I told people that I was “ready to start the next chapter.”  I did not want to think of myself as headed for the proverbial pasture or rocking chair.  I did not want to think of retirement as something that would happen to me when I was no longer useful.  The word “retirement” seems negative, more about the absence of something (a job) rather than something positive or affirmative.  It seems so, well, terminal.  Still, when someone asks what I do, there is really no getting around saying “I am retired.”

During these first ten months of my retirement, I have been telling people that I am still in transition.  I am trying to figure out this retirement thing.  I expect I will continue working on it for a few more months yet.

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