Hardly a day goes by when I’m not asked how retirement is going. It’s great, for sure, and I’m extremely grateful for being able to enjoy the benefits of retirement. Over the past seven months, I’ve become adjusted to a new kind of rhythm and have enjoyed many advantages of being retired. Here are some observations.
More flexibility. It was a bit jarring to give up some of my travel plans this year, but once I realized that I can travel anytime I want to for the rest of my life, it wasn’t so bad at all. Now I can schedule what I want when I want. And if I didn’t have this flexibility, I couldn’t be taking my grandson to playgrounds or schedule doctor’s appointments at 9:00 am or meet up with fellow retirees at a coffee shop on a random Tuesday morning.
More energy. Teaching can be draining. Teaching middle school is exhausting. As much as I loved my career, I am glad to have more energy these days. And if I do feel drained, I can just sleep in.
No monotony. I’ve had many working people tell me, “I don’t know what I would do if I retired.” I retired not just because I have so much I want to do, but because I know I’ll discover more things to do with more time and energy. Trust the process. Retirement is anything but boring. I do manage my time by making lists, which have the danger of making me feel overwhelmed, but I always remind myself of the advice from a fellow retiree: “If I do everything that’s on my list today, I won’t have anything to do tomorrow!”
I also like the idea of thinking of myself as self-employed, as my friend Eric Kim suggested. “Retired” sounds like I’m sitting around doing nothing all day. This could not be further from the truth.
No longing for my former life. I am actually surprised at how little I miss teaching. It was a great career, I still have the occasional school dream, and I have fond memories of students, but this retirement thing is just too good to pass up. One of the unexpected surprises of retiring near where I taught is that I see so many former students/families around town. It’s always nice to hear “Mr. Flanagan?” whether I’m fumbling through the self-checkout at the grocery store, chasing my grandkids at the playground, walking into daycare, or even sitting at a bar.
New perspective on money. Although I retired early, I am fortunate to have a pension that I can live on. Sometimes I wish I had more, but the reality is I have more than I need and far more than what most people in the world live on. And I love the advice given to me by my financial advisor: “Don’t lower your standard of living – if you’ve saved money for retirement, now is the time to spend it!”
Finding community. Without daily contact with my school community, I knew I would need to find more ways to become connected to where I live. This is an ongoing process, but I’m so grateful for finding the Westerly Anti-Racism Coalition, a community of people who are passionate about making our town a more equitable and just place. It has become one of my favorite things about where I live.
The best thing of all? I still wake up every day feeling like it’s a snow day!
March 28, 2023 at 19:35
I’m so happy for you, Tim!!! Enjoy every minute!
March 29, 2023 at 21:04
Let me know when you’re ready to come to the other side!
March 28, 2023 at 20:17
Wonderful post, Tim!!! Thanks for the inspiration……I’m in year 36…..starting to think about it……Want to play tennis with me when I pull the plug??????
March 29, 2023 at 21:05
Well, I can watch you play tennis and join you for an after-match celebration.
March 28, 2023 at 20:31
I love this!!! I’m only at 22 years- but thinking about it now! Life is short! So happy to hear you are HAPPY!
March 29, 2023 at 21:06
Thanks, Whitney. You’ll love it!
Lynne (Jolly) Pinto
March 28, 2023 at 20:46
Love your outlook. My husband is being forced into early retirement from his company. He also has a pension from the company he originally was employed with but with having our mortgage and living in the state we do he is still in need of finding a part time job. I work very part time now due to the grandkids and my kids needing my help. However, we are looking forward to the freer schedule, the loss of stress with his clients and much more. You’re so wonderful. I have such great memories of you and your family. Love you!!
March 29, 2023 at 21:11
Thanks Cousin Lynn. I know all about kids and grandkids needing help! Retirement will come eventually. Enjoy the time with the grandkids. Love to you and your family.
Etta L Zasloff
March 28, 2023 at 21:08
You nailed it, Tim. There is life after work, if you dare to find it!
March 29, 2023 at 21:13
You’re a great role model for how to do retirement, Etta!
March 28, 2023 at 21:39
I sure do love a snow day and look forward to a future where every day is a snow day! Love this post so much!
March 29, 2023 at 21:16
Thanks, Ella! I do miss seeing you, but retirement is pretty great.
March 29, 2023 at 06:46
I retired June 2021 and I think you captured my thoughts on the process as well. I am still surprised that I do not miss teaching when I looked forward to it everyday when I was working.
March 29, 2023 at 21:17
Right, Nicole. I loved my job, but I don’t really miss it. Glad to hear you’re enjoying retirement.
March 29, 2023 at 07:46
Well-spoken, Tim, as always! Continue to enjoy!
March 29, 2023 at 21:18
March 29, 2023 at 09:21
This is wonderful! I love the idea of being self employed and having flexibility. Enjoy!
March 29, 2023 at 21:19
I know it’s hard to imagine when you’re in the midst of a busy teaching schedule. Thanks for reading, Elaine.
March 29, 2023 at 11:03
Spot on! Loving every second of retirement.
March 29, 2023 at 21:19
Glad to hear it, Peggy! See you at the coffee shops, beaches, etc. – on weekdays.
March 29, 2023 at 15:39
Happy Snow Day! I loved this post and I’m so happy to hear you are loving retirement.
March 29, 2023 at 21:20
Thanks, Tina! It’s not a bad deal at all.
March 29, 2023 at 16:13
I guess retirement related to boredom never ever crossed my mind. Endless freedom is more like it! I’m glad Tim retired early, a smart move on his part. I do believe that grandchildren are meant to be seen (daily) especially when they’re young. I enjoy an early morning mass and then being able to get 2 of my grandchildren on the bus, sneak them a cookie before school, or tell them a far fetched story. That doesn’t mean I don’t mind leaving the country for total space! The greatest gift of retirement seems to be the flexibility…changing your mind at any second or driving in an unexpected direction. And of course our greatest gift is good health, so when my 96 year old Mom wants to go to buy groceries or her favorite- the Dollar Store, I go. And when Tim says, “Guatemala “ and I make that decision within 10 minutes…I go!
March 29, 2023 at 21:21
March 29, 2023 at 21:21
and thanks for being my retirement mentor
March 30, 2023 at 14:51
Wonderful post, Tim! I’m so glad to know you and call you my friend! (I feel the same way about ARC!)
April 1, 2023 at 22:04
March 31, 2023 at 22:17
I’m so glad you retired and made new friends like me. I wish we had taught together, I’m sure we would have had a lot of fun. Looking forward to getting in some good trouble together in the years ahead.
April 1, 2023 at 22:05
Same here, Madeline! Imagine us in the same school!
April 1, 2023 at 12:16
Retirement is the best! So happy for you!
Let me know if you want to travel together!
April 1, 2023 at 22:07
Oh, yes! I’ll be wandering around Mexico in May/June. Let me know if you want to visit.
April 10, 2023 at 05:26
We are on the countdown Tim. Might need some retirement coaching from you 🙂 Jean and Anthony
April 10, 2023 at 18:38
Great to hear, Jean and Anthony! I don’t think you’ll have any problem adjusting to retirement.