Retirement - Is It All It's Cracked Up to Be?

Six months ago, I said goodbye to my job of 30 years as an Information Technology Specialist at the U.S Attorney's Office for the Central District of California headquartered in Los Angeles. Hopefully, I saved enough money to help live off my small pension from the Department of Justice.

So how has it been?

It's been a transition, that's for sure.

The first week or so, planning on sleeping in as long as I wanted, I couldn't sleep. Maybe my rhythms were messed up? I don't know but I was getting frustrated but, finally, after a week or so fatigue caught up to me and I slept. For the most part, since then, my sleeping routine has improved and I'm getting a good night's sleep more often than not.

Sleep schedule properly adjusted, the next thing I had to deal with, psychologically, was the feeling that I was only on vacation and would have to return to work. After awhile, it almost felt like I was going to be in trouble if I didn't report back on the job at some point.

Over time, that feeling faded but it still feels a bit like I'm getting away with something I shouldn't.

Next is the expectation that you'll have all the time in the world. It's true that I have more time for the things that are important to me but I'm just as busy, if not busier, than I was at work. I am a full-time caregiver for my adult, disabled son which requires cooking for him, feeding him, dressing him, bathing, bathrooming, and much more. My day is filled with looking after his needs, although I do usually have a couple of hours between each bout of taking care of him.

We are also getting our house and affairs together so we can achieve that other retirement dream, moving away from the city. After living in very crowded Los Angeles County, it's time to cash in our chips and go.

Another problem is, even though I have the time, most of the friends I'd like to hang out with still have to work. I'm happy to spend my free time with my wife and son, though.

Since retirement, I've cleaned out the garage, relandscaped the front yard, we've painted our bedrooms and took care of the last couple of major home improvement projects. In addition, now I can relieve my wife of some of the chores she used to take care of like doing the laundry, pitching in to cook, washing dishes, and cleaning the house.

There hasn't been many dull moments since I quit.

Traveling has been fun as we can now go whenever we want, stay as long as we want, and not have to worry about our vacation time ending. It is still an adjustment when we do the end of the vacation, I feel depressed like I used to when I'd have to go back to work. But then, I realize, I don't have to go back!

Dealing with money is taking some getting used to. Instead of getting paid every two weeks, I have to plan everything monthly as I only get paid once a month now. Our income is less than a third of what is was before retirement so we have to be more careful with our spending.

We don't have to live like monks but we have gotten rid of our second car, we're eating at home about twice as much as we used to, and look for deals when we go out.

Fate sometimes has a way of stepping in, though, as we've had to deal with unexpected expenses like emergency dental work and a major car breakdown while we were hundreds of miles from home.

All in all, though, we dealing with the challenges of retirement pretty well. Going back to the original question, is it all it's cracked up to be? Well...yes! And more than I thought it was going to be.

We're blowing out our classic vinyl LP albums at The Musick Channel Garage Sale on Ebay.Find some bargains on great music today

Darryl Musick
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