Once you make the decision to retire (and commit to it), you start to notice that activities and events that you experienced regularly through your career, are being experienced for the last time.
At first, it is a novelty...the last company picnic, the last winter of work, last company business trip, etc.. But as you grow closer to your Last Day, some of the "lasts" have more of an impact.
I had my last performance review this week. I have always looked forward to performance reviews (as they are always accompanied by a merit increase). But more than money, it is fulfilling to see on paper that your managers understand what you have done throughout the year, and (in most instances), appreciate and reward you.
This "last" hit me a bit hard.
There will be no substitute for this "last" in the retirement world. No one to tell you "atta boy", or in the opposite, "here's an opportunity for improvement". No externally applied yardstick to let you know that you are headed in the right direction.
Everyone looks forward to having full control of their time, no imposed schedule, no deadlines, no daily grind. What we may not realize is those things gave us structure, especially for a corporate character like me.
I will be responsible for my own "atta boy"'s now. I will provide my own structure, and set my own yardstick to measure success. This is one aspect of retirement planning that I didn't really think about until this last performance review.
Goals do not end in retirement. The need for accomplishment and approval does not end in retirement. They just become your responsibility.
Don't get me wrong. I am not saying that this is a negative, rather it is one more thing that I can choose. It is an opportunity to trade the pursuit of basic needs and future comfort for an opportunity to enjoy that earned comfort while focusing on your new (or renewed) passions. It gives you time to slide up that old Maslow's Triangle.
I believe that we all have a core personality that gets pushed and pulled by the demands and pressures of the work-a-day world. Retirement is my opportunity to go back to my true core. To apply the skills I've learned (and the time I now have) to bring back my core values, and make my personal world (and the worlds of those I love) more civilized, beautiful, and healthy.
Sounds very 60's in all. But then, I am a child of the 60's, and my core is very much aligned to that era.
SOMETHING NEW: I'd like to feature a bit of my work every week. You can see from my site that I like photography. I love to present this in a multimedia format. Please enjoy my garden in the wintertime: Andy's Garden