Winding Down

I’ve been working for a long time. Sometime in the early 1960’s I started having chores around the house, and to collect my miniscule allowance, those chores had to be completed. Then other jobs appeared that could be done for pay. As the oldest child of 4, I started babysitting young. My parents got both the discount rate of 35 cents an hour and first claim on my services. I didn’t particularly enjoy the job, but I did it for family and for others in the neighborhood and around town.

Once in high school, I got more formal work. I worked at the city swimming pools through high school and college summers, taught gymnastics, judged gymnastics, and did various other odd jobs, along with medical volunteering through college. Following graduation came my first “real job”. I spent 2 years as a research assistant in a biochemistry lab, learning both that I could do the work, that I enjoyed it and that this was not the career for me. At the end of those 2 years, I started med school. Four years later, I began my residency in family practice. Finishing residency in 1986, I joined a family practice group, where I spent the next 15 years. I then moved sideways into body oriented psychotherapy, working primarily with trauma, and I’ve been doing that since 2001.

It’s time to be done. I still enjoy my work, and being a part of an individual’s healing journey is a privilege. That’s all true, and I’ve been scheduled more often than not since starting kindergarten in 1960, a few weeks before I turned 5. I’m realizing that I’ve been longing for great stretches of unscheduled time for years. I’m closing my practice at the end of March. My clients were notified of this in the fall, and I didn’t work from Thanksgiving through New Years, a trial run for all of us.

I’m now back working part time, finishing up with my existing clients (no new folks, not fair to them or me). February and March, and that’s it. I’m ready. These past few weeks, I’ve noticed my reluctance to go to work. I really am ready, and as the end of work approaches, I’m perplexed that I didn’t retire sooner. I’m not entirely sure of the reasons behind that, but some of it stems from a sense of obligation, of needing to contribute in the world, to help if I can.

What will I do? My original dream was to travel a lot. Spending months on the road in my van, exploring wherever my interest led. I also hoped to do a lot of international travel. I imagined being away from home roughly 6 months each year. Between the pandemic and BA’s health issues, it’s not going to go that way. Some travel, hopefully, but more solidly home based. As I type this, Ziggy the cat is walking on the keyboard, so that’s another anchor here.

No schedule. That’s the biggest deal. I feel my internal excitement building, which is a fine truth teller.

From there, we’ll see.

17 thoughts on “Winding Down

  1. You won’t regret retiring for one minute! You’ll miss the fun and the intellectual stimulation of helping people, but you’ll find substitutes. I retired from teaching nursing at 58 and have never looked back. And that, unbelievably, was 22 years ago. Best wishes!!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I never imagined leaving the classroom and then I was finished. I don’t know how — I can recite some external factors but I know in my heart they weren’t the reason. In earlier years, I would have fought my way through, but in 2014? I was 62, I could collect Social Security, I could retire from San Diego State with a pension. It seemed like a sudden decision, but I know it wasn’t. It’s funny how our lives just reach that point. Like you, I’d worked nearly all my life. I know you are going to enjoy the transformation not being scheduled brings to life. Maybe you can travel to the San Luis Valley. 😀

    Liked by 2 people

  3. You will love retirement. It takes a little while to change you mental and physical clock, but once you get rolling, it’s GREAT. I’m always baffled by people who find retirement boring. How can you be bored when you can do whatever you want whenever you want to do it? There’s time to right, time to sleep, time to just hang out, time to try new stuff. You will love it. It’s a great thing, NOT working. It would be nice if it paid better, but hey, there are sacrifices — and if you were better with money than we were, you’ll be fine. Good luck!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. When I turned 60, my colleagues began to ask me when I was going to retire — I wasn’t ready, and my response was “when it’s time.” People told me I would know when I was ready, but I didn’t really understand that. Then there came a day when I knew I was ready — my final decision came during a 2-hour drive home from a sales appointment, and 3 months later I retired at age 63-1/2. I’ve never looked back — I’ve enjoyed several years of traveling, photography, reading, and simply enjoying life!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I never know if congratulations is the right word, but I think it is when you have made the decision because you were ready. I’ve been waffling over the same decision. Having read your post and the comments of some others, it is good to know there seems to be a moment that you just know, and maybe now I need a little more time to get there. Enjoy your retirement!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. You will love retirement Steph. It helps give people their second wind, so to speak. It is goid to have unscheduled time to think or be able to relax without not feeling guilty. I know many older women who have taken up new hobbies at which they have excelled. My friend’s mother took up furniture restoration when she retired. The possibilities are endless even within the constraints you mentioned. All the best to you, Steph.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I find, after 7 years of retirement, that I hate making appointments. I hate having a set time to go somewhere. Unless it is singing or weaving or walking the dog…those aren’t appointments. But grocery shopping is! Congratulations. Take a deep breath and dream.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I’m 55 and I’m so ready to retire! I only work part time, & in the lockdown I had to have a month off: I LOVED it 🤩
    There’s so much to do: gardening, writing, cooking, spoon carving, more gardening, resting, seeing friends, bushwalking etc- who’s got time to work really??
    I look forward to reading about all your new adventures, whether at home or traveling

    Liked by 1 person

  9. A little off-topic, but I’ve been watching the news of another fire in Boulder. I hope it hasn’t affected you as badly as the last one, and I also hope they have it under control by now (Sunday afternoon).

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh, my goodness — a true family affair! I’m glad everything is under control and without loss of homes or injuries! I’m sure there was a lot of triggering — it even concerned me to read about another fire in the area so soon! I’m afraid it will be a long hot summer — do stay safe! Janet

        Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s