There was this photo, taken almost exactly 4 years ago. Linda had just retired, though technically she was on vacation till early December that year. That's what you get working 36 years for the City, a big vacation allotment. She had to either use vacation or get paid for it. Better to take it as vacation and spread out the money like normal. She was getting 7 weeks of vacation a year, had accumulated a bunch, and you accumulate vacation while on vacation so she got another full year's allotment in October, plus lieu days. Someone had to go through and carefully calculate it all out so she got her last paycheque on the last payday of December. It all worked out well.
Here is nearly the same shot from Monday morning. Yes, the landscape has changed. They moved the boundaries of the Tsuut'ina First Nation, a thing I never thought would happen, and built a major superhighway between Woodcreek and the new boundary.
And now, here she is in person, reflecting on the retired life!
I can't believe 4 years have gone by already! Retirement is a blast & I highly recommend it. Or rather, retirement at a time & place of your choosing, with enough post-work income to not only cover the essentials but have $ left over to play with is a blast.
Prior to retiring I quizzed my friends who had taken the plunge with all the usual questions: are you glad you retired? Do you have enough income to live on? Are you bored or wished you had continued to work instead of retire? All responses were of a positive nature. I was told retirement 'cost less than you think'. I was told 'I don't know how I ever found the time to work'. I was told 'I wish I had done this sooner'. All of this is true, by the way. Turns out that working for a living costs more than you thought it did! Work wardrobe, work commuting, work events - baby showers, weddings, coworkers moving to another job etc. plus of course having coffee/tea/lunch with said coworkers adds up to quite a chunk of change.
As for time, I added up the hours I used for work - work itself plus commute time & made a list of all the activities I could do that would hopefully ensure I wasn't sitting around bored because I had 'nothing to do'. Well, that time disappeared so fast I haven't yet done all the items on my list! I did enrol & graduate from the Master Gardeners course I had wanted to take; I did buy a membership to our local recreation centre & took many drop in classes for yoga & zumba; I did plan & take a blow out celebratory retirement trip to New Zealand which was everything I had wanted it to be. But still haven't made it back to Europe, though we did do a second New Zealand trip; still haven't made it back to the East Coast, though we did visit friends on the West Coast; still haven't done the Wildflower Festival at Waterton Park, or any number of other festivals here in town. Covid was a spanner in the works, but truthfully even without Covid I would likely still be trying to get to the next thing on the list when I had the time.
What I love, love, love, is living at a human pace. While there are still appointments to be kept - yoga class won't be delayed until I arrive, ditto any doctors appointments - it is easy enough to set up a schedule that ensures one doesn't have to fall out of bed, rush into the shower, fling on clothes & rush out the door. Instead one can rise without the alarm, enjoy a healthy breakfast & sip a cup of freshly ground bean french press coffee while watching the frantic zoom of those still in the rat race.
This is especially enjoyable on those days when the weather ensures any traffic commute will be highly unpleasant. If I choose to cancel an appointment I now have the time to reschedule, because I'm able to be available any time. I also love having control over my time. No more having to ask an employer if I can have time off, or having to coordinate any time off with the schedule of a coworker to ensure work coverage.
Retirement doesn't mean retiring from living. It means choosing what you want to do. When the choices you make are driven by what you'd like to try rather than what you have to do in order to ensure the bills are paid, life becomes infinitely more interesting. Maybe some of what you try turns out to be something you don't enjoy. Thats OK because the whole point is to try something new, to explore those ideas you never had the time to do before. For anyone thinking about retiring, I say come on in! The water is fine.
As a bonus, here's another of Linda during our walk today. This is often my view; her forging on ahead and me trying to keep up.
On a sadder note, some of you might remember this post from 10 years ago, when we brought Curtis and Celina home from Meow Foundation. We are sad that he left us much too soon. Here's one of the first photos I took of him with the good camera, from almost exactly 5 years ago.