Semi-retired For Real

And just like that, I am done! Last day at work, last day at this job, last day of a time that I though would ever end. It was a day of emptying my office, cleaning out the closet, a day of good-bye’s, well wishes and warm feelings. A day of appreciation, rumination and celebration. A day of good things and not bad. It was the day I always wanted. It has been the day it was supposed to be.

Though it ended on a high note, the week had been strange. It started out long and dragging, minutes into hours and hours into days. I could see the end but felt like I had to wade through molasses to get there. As the week unfolded, time passed faster. I actually worked parts of my job and organized my information; hard drive to shared drive, emails into folders, email and phone greetings set, that sort of thing. I cleaned out my office and took home any personal mementos. I gave the rest away.

Also during this week I was tired. I mean, like fall asleep at 7:00 and still get 8 hours of sleep at night tired. I blamed it on the snow. Our area is getting hit with record snowfall and the shoveling is really taxing. The last big hit took me 90 minutes to clear. Yeah, that was exhausting! I felt it was more than that. I was pulled into a hibernation of sorts. I tried to pay attention to what my body and mind were telling me and they said to hunker down, stay home, curl up and rest. So, I did. Lazy as it was, it felt like the right thing to do. I slept a lot, which is not normal for me, and I watched TV. Full disclosure, I fell asleep watching TV! I did some stretching to get the shoveling kinks out, but did little else. Hibernation seemed to be in order. 

Later in the week was my going away party at work. It is customary in my office to have some sort of gathering over food – sandwich bar, taco bar – sort of thing. The person leaving basically sits around with everyone else and tries to make conversation for about an hour. There are usually some memes on the wall and music playing on the jumbo-tron (giant television in the conference room). The last person who left, about a month ago or so, had a sandwich party. I usually pop my head into these events but do not stay long as they look mostly awkward and uncomfortable. The designated person seems to be on the spot and must somehow entertain all these folks who look at them expectantly. Oh, hell no am I doing that! I specifically requested an ice cream party and I added an activity as a way to prevent long periods of social pressure, make it more fun, and so I could invite friends from around campus… which I did. 

I felt a little bad because folks come and go from this office like there is a revolving door, and it is the staff who pay for the food. I offered multiple times to contribute to my own affair, and was politely turned down. Granted, it is a party on work time and we do not have to take it as lunch or break or anything. I think it sucks that folks pay out of their own pockets to bid their peers farewell. Not only do they do it, they do it quite well. Cheers to them! 

During my party I put in an extra twist. Because I am leaving for my walkabout, I had a pad of paper and pens and asked folks to give me their travel tips, tricks or someplace I should visit. Even if I have been there already, just put it down so that I can hear from others what they think I should see or where I should spend time. That put less pressure on me (and everyone) as now we had something to talk about and did not have to struggle too hard for conversation. I chose John Denver as the music and at one point, folks started to sing along. That was fun. All in all, I was really pleased with how it went. It was nice to chat and share my plans, and the people there seemed to have fun as they enjoyed the ice cream and each other. I did not feel pressure to entertain anyone and I heard lots of conversation and laughter. I got to spend some meaningful time with my work clan, which has always been a highlight. I was glad to leave on a positive note. Goal achieved!

Friday, March 1, 2019 was my actual last day. I woke up excited and turned off my alarm. I had dreamed about that action for months. It was not as exciting as I thought. I spent the day cleaning and hanging around, as I really did not have much work to do. I was invited to leave early, which I politely declined. I wanted to finish my shifts one last time. Besides that, I had no where to go and no plans after work. 

As I wandered around the office suite, I poked my head in here and there. It felt good to connect with the folks I work with, talk to the students, share my plans such as they are. I listened to their travel stories and dreams. I received well-wishes and hugs. It was nice.

I feel like I have shed a stifling cloak, let go of a very heavy weight, moved out of a negative space. I feel like I left with positive feelings and an appreciation of the people there. I now feel excited, more energetic, and a little freer. My new reality has not yet set in and probably will not for some time. I just know that I will no longer have to force my brain, my intellect, and my emotional self into a place it does not want to go, doing things it is not good at or perform tasks I really do not want to do. I will not have to deal with the parts of the job that sucked the life out of me. 

That feels good. 

Cheers to liberation!

Staffing an information table.


3 Comments on “Semi-retired For Real

  1. Congratulations! So excited for you as you begin your new adventure. Your need for sleep may indeed be due to the snow. Or, it could be your body preparing to reset itself. I read quite a few books on people who have done “Gap years” or taken sabbaticals or a few months off to ‘reset’. A lot of them said the same thing, that the first few weeks they were exhausted and just wanted to sleep. It’s as if the body finally gets a chance to rest after we’ve pushed it for decades, and sometimes pushed it to places it did not want to go. Rest, Michelle. You’ve earned it!

    Like

  2. Congratulations! And best wishes for the wonderful adventure that lies ahead. I retired from 30+ years of teaching five years ago and life has been a wonderful adventure ever since. Best wishes for the adventures on the path that lies ahead for you.

    Like

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