Thursday, January 2, 2020

Why I Talk So Much About Retirement

Talking a bit about retirement just made sense to me since it is a big part of my aging process, although I should be pretty good at it by now since I have supposedly retired more than a few times.

What???

Yeah, when I was thirty-eight I retired after more than 20 years from the U.S. Coast Guard as a CWO3 (PERS) in 1996. However, at that point in my life, I wasn't ready to kick back and "be on the beach" retired (I was too damn young). After leaving the service, I went into working with troubled kids, which in turn led me to me becoming a Special Education Teacher for Middle and High School students.

As much as I loved being a teacher and working with kids that others had mostly given up on, I left education because it was killing me. Not literally, but really...I was 210 pounds at 5'7" (you can look at the BMI charts to see how obese I was), my wife was telling me that I had a gray pallor about me and mentally I was toast from trying to do everything to help the kiddos, it seemed like I was pounding my head into brick walls daily. I had to leave or have that heart attack that would kill me at far too young an age - it was that simple. I told everyone I was retiring and left the world of education with very few looks in the rearview mirror back in June 2011.

That was my second sort of retirement.

After taking almost a year getting most of my health back, it never comes back fully when you are in your fifties. I decided to get into social media marketing and became a professional blogger. Yeah, me can you believe it! I was starting to be sort of successful (making more money as a blogger than I ever did as a teacher), but the underside of that lifestyle wasn't me and I decided to move in a different direction. I didn't really retire, but I also didn't immediately head back into the workforce.

I am lucky to have an understanding wife and a frugal lifestyle.

In the military and as a Special Education teacher I was pretty good with paperwork, so eventually, I got a part-time job at a local university as a test proctor and Admin Specialist. Which turned into full-time hours. The work itself was fine, but what I enjoyed the most in my time at the university were the people that I worked with and got to interact with on a daily basis and would probably still be there. However, when my brother-in-law died unexpectedly in 2017, that changed everything and I left the world of work again.

Which was my third or fourth retirement?

Which brings us to now.

While I was not in the work-force for the past few years, I also was not looking for work either. When I look back, I am not sure if those years I could be considered retired or if it was more like I was in limbo going through my daily routine. It was more like I was waiting for what comes next than a true retirement. However, nothing ever came that tempted me to go back to work, even though I could have gone back to the university in some capacity and chose not to.

Honestly, even though I have supposedly retired several times since 1996, I never really felt like I was really retired until this summer when I turned 62 and applied for Social Security. Which after having long conversations with the wife and others, we decided that what was best for us was me taking it early and living within our means. We based this choice on our experiences watching multiple family and friends who scrimped and saved to get to full retirement age, only to die shortly after. It ain't what the financial experts recommend we know that, but it works for us.

Once I got that notification that my first Social Security retirement check would be such and such an amount in October, I had a huge mental/psychological shift happen.

It was at that point I realized that I really was retired. There were none of those societal expectations of how old I needed to be to retire, (they are out there in full force) I was that age. I was no longer sort of retired or simply in early retirement-but still working or thinking about how I should be working or any of those other euphemisms that we use when we are not sure of what we think is going on.

When I looked back on what I had been writing about more and more since October at my old blog and since I started this new blog, I realized that I was writing as much if not more about my retirement experiences than aging or even running.

Which got me to thinking, yeah a very dangerous thing sometimes.

The truth is that I am aging and retired, so what I write about most are my thoughts about what is going on in the life of a young-old retired guy, who is really in the first year of retirement and not just someone who dropped out of the workforce, just because he could.

For me, it was quite a paradigm shift in how I see things in my life. Now I get to have some fun writing about it. Hopefully, you will chuckle or at least nod your head a few times at things going on in my life that you recognize in your own and laugh at some of the antics of me being me, because I will when I write about them.

That is the rest of the story (to paraphrase Mr. Harvey), about why I write so much about retirement to the title of my blog.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I moderate all comments before they are published.

1. If you comment, I maintain the right to delay posting, delete or edit as I deem necessary any post or comment made on this weblog.

2. If you do comment on this blog, you do so with the understanding that I may use your comment in a future blog post and by posting the comment YOU give me permission to use all or any part of your comment.