It wasn't raining today at lunch, so I went for a two-mile walk on my usual route. I realized, as I walked, that I've shifted out of fear mode, "Oh, my god, I'm not working after June 25, and that is terrifying, and whatever will I do with myself, and how can we afford it?" to anticipation mode, "Oh, my gosh! After June 25 my life will change completely, open up entirely, and be way more flexible, and that is exciting, and there are so many things I want to do, and we can afford it."
I wonder if this shift, which I realized just today, is because I'm writing about the experience. Or whether it's a natural, predictable progression that happens to everyone as they move from an active worklife towards the new possibilities of retirement. At work, I feel engaged in the immediate tasks at hand, and I'm at least as productive as before I made the decision to leave. But my identity is no longer in my workplace. It's like I'm inside a transparent bubble that brings me to work in the morning and takes me home at night, and on June 26 it will keep me at home. I'm moving on already.
I'm telling people at work one at time, in casual conversation, and every person I tell makes it more final in my own mind. Last week I was saying, "If nothing changes, my last day at work will be June 25." Today I'm saying, "My last day is June 25." It's not an "if" any more. At least, it doesn't feel like it.
A return to the back 40, the 2017 edition
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