2.5 Years After Retirement – Very Fortunate

Over two and a half years since retirement and I really appreciate how full my life is – family, friends and the little world around me.

While the usual mundane activities are always there, they have become sources of peacefulness. It has taken this long for me to begin separating myself from my career and the past. Although they will always be a part of me, they are no longer all of me. Giving up the false sense of importance so many things in the past represented is a process which is giving me the freedom to look at the world with an honesty and awareness I didn’t know existed.

Work is work, and only that. The most fortunate thing is that I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth. Starting with nothing and ending with something tempers some of the materialistic drives which are fueled by the flack invading our minds at every opportunity. Stuff, stuff, more stuff, better stuff – and a sadness associated with the institutionalization of greed – there is never enough. But I am finding that there is too much – in the wrong places.

Is it OK to be cynical and a bit of a curmudgeon? I think so.

The world is not a baseball or hockey game, nor is it a spa to pamper our bodies. The world is becoming crueler, and greed in all areas of life is winning (sports madness, banking madness, Wall Street madness, narcissistic madness, me only madness, hatred madness, religious madness, political madness, etc.). Institutions are no longer working to protect the world population.

So what is my next step?

More later!

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Not yet retired 100%

OK, so when opportunity presents itself,  you either take it or leave it – I’ve decided to take it.

Keeping active in the manufacturing industry is really fun.  So anyway, here I go again doing some conceptual engineering/process work. I’ll do front end process analysis – the first project I accepted is for a major wallboard manufacturer and so far so good (a plant field trip and pulling together process flow information for a newly formulated product). I find it interesting, and that’s the key word. Also, working with a highly ethical firm (this has been the case throughout my career) is great for the self-esteem (though maybe I have an excessive amount already).

Although this sounds like a detour from my retirement, I intend to tread carefully and keep it under control.

So what to do with your time in retirement?

The feeling of freedom is new. Being raised in a working class environment, where the time clock was the boss, is ingrained in my mind. Even though I worked in professional environments most of my career, that time clock was always in the back of my mind. The guilt never went away – at least finally one day I said to myself “I’m not YET late until I’m late” – this helped somewhat.

So now there is no need for a time clock. It’s hard to get used to.

I dreamed about work a lot before retirement, and continue to do so (but not as much). The dreams were sometimes composites which included a combination of employers and settings. A typical one was having to get up in 3 hours to catch the group bus to the exhibition hall after attending the company outing for customers the night before (your jaw got tired from smiling all evening, and your gut took a lot of abuse).

The dreaming about work is less frequent, and I’m starting to calm down a bit. The health club is a blessing, and I discovered the rowing machine during my last workout (they have two machines which use water as the resistance means and it sounds like you’re rowing in a boat – clever). Finally got around to doing weights regularly; soon I’ll try Pilates and Nia (the latter sounds interesting as you dance through life and be silly). What I’ve found most interesting is how stretching makes you feel – guess I never stretched before.

Not wanting to stretch this post out any longer, bye for now.

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I am tuned in!

First thoughts on retirement:

  • Wow, there’s so much to do!
  • No alarm clock (except when catching a flight) and always enough sleep;
  • House projects in due time (new ones will take the place of those completed)[supervised the installation of the new dishwasher already];
  • Exercise and weight training program seriously back on track.
  • Cultural life in full swing  and even a couple of hours at The Art Institute;
  • Plenty of time to cook (pork tenderloin, chicken poblano, NY strip steaks, Polish sausage, Italian sausage, The Slap Chop keeps chopped garlic readily available, but most of all can’t wait for Weber charcoal grilling season to begin); plenty of time to make a pilgrimage to Lindy’s chili parlor on Archer Avenue & Western on South Side with neighbor – try the 55 gal size for $2300.
  • Bowling 6 to 8 games a week (still need to practice!) – my two bowling balls have names (Crash and Hammer);
  • Serious reading.
  • Movies galore (Netflix via mail and streaming with the Apple TV) and looking forward to the Academy Awards celebration;
  • Looking forward to CA trip to visit the guys in March;
  • And last but not least, looking forward to organizing the house.

Anyway, I’ll give myself a little time before I begin part-time consulting with a local engineering firm, and before I seriously start my documentary activities. The important decision will be where I decide to volunteer .

I am one lucky guy!

(My plan is not to make this blog like a Christmas Letter – but rather to share my thoughts on what retirement is like for me and what observations in my daily life help me better understand what this life is all about.)

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Hold on while I gather my thoughts…

Here is where I will share some of my recent thoughts, now that I am a man of leisure. I’m just formulating what I will actually say. Stay tuned.

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