My husband "G" retired a few years ago, and while he strongly felt I should leave my job, my age and years of service did not qualify me for retirement benefits. However, I regularly worked over 50 hours per week, and when I wasn't actually working, I was thinking about it. I worked from home, and from my "passenger seat office" when on road trips. G argued that my body being in close proximity to his while I worked on the computer was not the same as "being together." I reluctantly conceded he had a valid point.
I decided to clear my slate entirely, take a few breaths, and see where my dust settled. First I withdrew from activities and resigned from organizations I'd been active in. Then I moved to the edge of the cliff, inhaled, and gave my boss my notice.
Formalizing that decision had an immediate effect on my demeanor (according to my family.) I relaxed. They could see it in my face and body language; they could hear it in my tone of voice.
When my full-time job ended, I embraced being able to do ordinary "house-wifey" chores, most of which G had been doing -- meal prep, grocery shopping, laundry, vacuuming up dog hair. I indulged in things that provide immediate gratification: reading, writing, reorganizing a closet, walking, swimming, a little yoga, just hanging out with G. Rather than re-up in all my former activities, I opted to keep my calendar relatively uncluttered. I gave myself time to regroup and clarify what my priorities really are.
Now, before I commit to something I think I want to do, I consider four questions:
- Will this grow me spiritually?
- Will this enrich my relationships with family/friends?
- Will this be professionally gratifying?
- Will this benefit my physical/emotional health?
If I can't answer with an emphatic "yes" to at least one of the questions, it's not right for me right now.
Friends continue to congratulate me on my retirement, but I'm not retired. I'm just recalibrated.