Earlier this week was my last day of work. The closer it got to 5:00 pm, the antsier I got. Did I make the right decision? I gave up a well-paying job with benefits to retire a little earlier than perhaps I should have. I don’t yet qualify for social security benefits or widow’s benefits. Almost, but not quite there yet.
I loved my job as a managing real estate broker. But I’ve been working for decades and felt the call of a slower pace. Plus I’ve been praying about retiring for a while and truly felt that God was telling me it was time to join Him in something different.
The last few months at work were extra busy. So busy that in the evenings I just crashed from exhaustion. Even though I worked from home and didn’t spend any time traveling to/from work, by the time I got done for the day I didn’t want to even look at my sewing machine.
The weekends were spent recharging and catching up on housework, laundry, chores, you know, drudgery. Heh. I slowed the pace a little more on Sundays. I attended church and swam some laps in the community pool. But still, no sewing. I couldn’t even get up enough energy or excitement to plan a project and start on it. Oh, I’ve got a bunch of W-I-P’s going (Work In Progress). Lots of projects that I look forward to finishing. But I didn’t have the drive to work on those the last few months at work.
I’ll admit, my sewing/guest room is a bit untidy right now. So that probably added to my not wanting to go in there. I still have about 3 shopping bags of new notions I purchased in March at the Original Sewing Expo in Lakeland. I haven’t had time to find a new home for them amongst my other things. And I did not want to put them in the closet. You know, out of sight, out of mind, right?
The above also explains why it’s been almost 2 months since my last post. And in that post, I promised to write about the classes I attended at the sewing expo. I still aim to do that. And now I have time to devote to that. Posts will be coming soon.
But back to retiring and sewing. Do I really want to sew full time? No. Do I even want to sew as a source of income? I don’t think so. But I have time to figure that out. I do believe that God will make good use of the time He’s given me and show me where exactly I should join Him in His work. And I believe it may include sewing. But if it doesn’t. I’m OK with that. I’ve been blessed with talents, a home, and a heart that wants to serve. I will continue praying and wait on finding out where those blessings should be employed.
The church I attend is fairly new to me. Having moved here less than 2 years ago, in the middle of a pandemic, I haven’t connected at church as quickly as I would have otherwise. But the connections I’ve made are genuine and important to me. I do know that the church is involved in several homeless outreach programs. I feel called to dig a little deeper into those. Can’t wait to see how I can help!
Another thing I am planning is to join the local chapter of the American Sewing Guild. I’ve been in touch and like the outreach sewing they do. They meet once a week for several hours to sew items to donate to charitable causes. The plan is to join this week so I can join them next week at that sewing meeting.
If you’re considering retiring or recently retired, you may be concerned about making the transition gracefully. Of course, financial concerns have to be addressed. But even with those addressed, and no money worries in sight, just giving up something that took up a substantial part of your day (probably 50% or more of your waking hours!) is going to be something to get accustomed to. The initial knee jerk reaction is “goodbye tension, hello pension!” But dig a little deeper and you find that it’s not the getting away from work that is to be looked forward to. It’s embracing your new role at this juncture of your life that will bring about a graceful transition.
Spend some time giving careful thought to how your time will be used. I first thought about the things I wanted to accomplish and then I added time slots to my daily schedule within which to accomplish them. I love my Google calendar, smartphone and the newly acquired smartwatch my colleagues gifted me as a retirement present (thank you eXp Realty Florida brokers <3 ). So I created recurring events. Don’t worry about “etching in stone” things you may need to tweak later. Whether it’s on a mobile calendar or old school paper and pencil, it can be changed! Just having something to look forward to accomplishing daily gave my day direction. Yesterday I realized a couple of things would not work the way I had them scheduled (swimming right after lunch – hello stomach ache!) so I just moved them around and am now swimming before dinner instead.
I am also being very kind to myself as I get used to my new normal. I have time blocks throughout the day which I’ve labeled “Create!” When I entered those in my calendar I pictured going into the Sewing Room and sewing. Or making jewelry. But yesterday I used some of that time to handle mundane, but necessary, things. Like following up on my new health and dental insurance policies! I refused to beat myself up for not following the calendar exactly. Ain’t no calendar gonna tell me what to do! =D
The point is that my new retirement calendar is there to help me, not punish me. Many of the things on it are just slightly more than the suggested ways to spend my time. But they’re not requirements. The calendar helps nudge me in the way I want to go, without being a drill sergeant. I refuse to look at it as such. I did pretty darn well yesterday. I got way more steps in than I ever thought possible on a regular day. Fur baby was happy with the 4 walks she got and I even had a batch of yogurt going when I went to bed. It was a great way to start retirement and I did not stick to the calendar 100%.
Day 2 looks like it’s going the same way! I am looking forward to what’s ahead on the horizon. But I am enjoying the journey along the way.
Be kind to yourself! <3