Shifting Sands

Today was supposed to be THE day. On one of my first RetirementallyChallenged posts, Picking a Date, I drew a line in the sand by declaring that I would retire on January 31, 2014. I did this so that I would have a date to focus on and to make the concept of retiring more real to me.

Sand shifts, lines get less defined, plans change.

Sand2

I knew that when I approached my manager with this date, the resulting discussion wouldn’t be a comfortable one. Although I would be giving plenty of prior notice (months, not weeks), I work with a pretty tight team, both in working style and in numbers. My leaving will create an unwelcomed challenge for my co-workers. The challenge will be temporary; work adjusts, life goes on, but our team is small enough that one person’s leaving impacts the others.

When I approached my manager a few months ago, although she expressed happiness for my new adventure, it was apparent that she was concerned about filling the void my retirement would leave. I felt guilty and conflicted. My resolve began to falter and I found myself looking for ways to “fix” this problem I was creating.

Yes, I whimped out, but only temporarily.

I will stay a few more months more to help with the transition. I will still be able to take my planned two-week road trip with my friend in March. And, when I return, my final two months will be made up of 4-day work weeks. Padding my savings a little bit more before the regular paychecks end probably isn’t a bad thing. Not leaving my co-workers scrambling to cover my absence makes me feel better about my ultimate decision.

Looking back, I’m glad that I set the January date. It prompted me to put the process in motion. The fact that my end date is a few months out doesn’t bother me too much. It would have bothered me more to have added extra stress to the lives of my team.

hourglass

The more sand has escaped from the hourglass of our life, the clearer we should see through it. – Johann Paul Friedrich Richter

4 thoughts on “Shifting Sands”

  1. Same thing happened to me. I chose June 1, 2011 as my date, but it turned into Dec. 1, 2011. I agree–the most important thing is setting a target, and second most important thing, is allowing yourself to be flexible.

      1. Same thing happened to me! I let my boss know of my intentions in September last year, finally settling on a date during February this year – I finish up in 4 weeks, May 23rd 🙂 It was the right thing as it has given us time to find a replacement and have a decent handover leaving me feeling much less guilty about my ‘early’ departure. At 51 I’ve tried to avoid the word ‘retirement’ and have instead used terminology such as ‘domestic goddess’ or ‘lady of leisure’!! My other half will continue to work for another 6 years or so therefore I will carve out a life for us that will no doubt change over the years. I have spent most of today reading your blog from the beginning and have enjoyed the fact it’s not about pension funds and stock markets (although we wouldn’t be able to have the luxury of retirement without either!). Like you, I find it hard not to stare out of the window dreaming of the different life to come. I look forward to following your journey alongside my own.

        1. Congratulations on your impending life change! I too am having difficulty with the word “retirement.” A friend introduced me to the term “rewirement” and I thought that described it nicely.

          Thank you for finding and responding to my blog! I hope we can learn from each other as we journey down this path!

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