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April 13, 2014 / Retirementallychallenged.com

The Last of the “Last Ofs”

With just over a month left before I retire, I find myself mentally checking off the last (insert here) that I will experience before I leave. On Friday, I gave my last work-related presentation before a large audience. Tomorrow, I will go on the last of many, many business trips I’ve taken over the years. Pretty soon, I’ll submit my last expense report, then I’ll make the last drive to and from work, and, soon after that, I’ll receive my last regular paycheck.

Cocoon1

I look forward to checking off some of these “last ofs,” but others are more bittersweet. Happiness mixed with sadness, excitement mixed with unease. I’ve changed jobs many times over my working life, but I was always transitioning from one cocoon to the next. I left behind the comfort of a familiar social circle and known responsibilities, but I knew that soon I would bond with my new co-workers and ease into a new routine.

Synonyms for “routine” are “monotonous,” “dull,” “tedious,” and “mundane,” but routines can also be positive and comforting. I begin each day with a cup of French-pressed coffee and end it by reading a bit before turning out the lights and going to sleep. Some routines won’t change when I’m retired, but others that lend a comfortable consistency to my work week will be gone. There will be a last team meeting, the last seminar I host, and my final walk through the door when the workday is done.

Of course, there will be many “last ofs” that I won’t know are the last until they are gone: the last shared laugh with a colleague about some work-related absurdity, the final time a co-worker offers to help me with a task, the last of many, many kindnesses I’ve been shown over the years by the people I work with. It’s the people that I will miss the most (although. I admit, the paycheck is a close second).

On May 17, I will begin a series of “first ofs” that being retired allows me to experience: the first of my weekends that won’t have a bunch of errands crammed in over two days, the first Monday morning that won’t require an alarm to get me up, the first Wednesday that’s not a “hump day” because there is no longer a hump to get over. Soon, my husband and I will take our first road trip that has a start date, but no set end date because we don’t have to meet anyone else’s schedule.

Many of the “last ofs” will be hard and I’m sure tears will be shed, but I am looking forward to the “first ofs,” and hope to add as many of them to my new life as possible.

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4 Comments

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  1. Dave Bernard / Apr 14 2014 11:43 am

    I look forward to sharing your “first ofs” as they evolve! I think when we retire we are a bit nervous at first – such a big change from what we have become used to over the past years. Then we enter the retirement honeymoon period – that first year-ish when we are busy doing all those things we could not while employed. And then onward to retirement itself. Enjoy your last month on the job and get ready to enjoy your second act to the max! 🙂

  2. Retirementallychallenged.com / Apr 16 2014 3:22 pm

    Thank you, Dave! I am getting so excited and am looking forward to the honeymoon… and beyond! So much to do, and now I’ll have the time to do it.

  3. katecrimmins / May 2 2014 7:46 am

    I agree with Dave. There is the first honeymoon year when you are so busy doing stuff you want to do that you don’t know how you fit work in. Then you ease out. I am retired 2 years now and I am always amazed at what I really miss and what I don’t. I don’t miss the paycheck (but I should) near as much as I thought I would. Shopping for clothing isn’t fun because there’s no place to wear it. Then again, your clothing changes. Mostly I miss seeing my friends more regularly. As much as you try, it’s not like seeing them every day and also eventually the interest in the company stories fades. It’s not your life anymore. I do love retirement but I also loved my work. Good luck to you on your new adventure!

    • Retirementallychallenged.com / May 2 2014 4:56 pm

      Thank you! I live a mere 3 miles from work so I envision stopping by every now and then (it’s that type of work – more of an event center than an office building) but you are right, I think that desire may fade with time. I have a few good friends that I’d like to stay in touch with, but they are in different life-passages so who knows. Thanks for the encouragement – I’m really looking forward to my last day happy hour, then going home to the rest of my life.

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