My official retirement began on the 1st of January 2015. I have received congratulations from many people on this occasion. Following is a brief inventory of my thoughts about this new phase of my life.
The Spanish term for retirement is "La Jubilación". If this sounds festive it is. I must say it felt great to awaken to a new year in which "Every Day is Saturday". For the first time since Kindergarten I may now awake without the requirement to attend class, go to work, or Obey the Man. It feels as if a ponderous mantle has been removed from my shoulders. Yeah!
Of course I went right out and began lining up an array of activities to ward off the ennui of this new found freedom. I signed up for a Spanish Class at Reed College, began a major landscaping and gardening project, volunteered for the Public Speakers Bureau for the Oregon Forest Resources Institute, increased my tennis participation, and began a study of the ancient game of Go.
I plan to take advantage of as many benefits available to senior citizens as possible. These include:The Golden Pass - good for life this grants me and anyone in my car free parking and access to all National Parks, campgrounds etc., Honored Citizen - I can now ride the Tri-met Bus for $1.00, Oregon Pioneer Fishing License - I have lived in Oregon for 50 years and now have a lifetime fishing license. It is true however that since said retirement I have not visited a National Park, ridden the bus, or gone fishing but I intend to do a least two of these.
Despite my glee at having achieved my retirement there are a few factors that perforce give me pause for thought. I am not writing to advise anyone on their retirement but you may draw your own conclusions.
1. I made the mistake of taking a look at my body in a full length mirror on exiting the shower. My skin seems to gradually corrode under the onslaught of a variety of lumps, bumps, scabby bits, age spots and growth of curly grey hairs where they clearly do not belong. I cannot touch my toes, while my feet, knees, hip, elbow and shoulder hurt. My night vision is poor and my wife keeps sending me links on the latest technology in hearing aids. This is not going to get better.
2. I am supposed to receive my first Social Security check today. It will not be enough to fund this operation. My retirement fund will help but still not to the level one would need to finance an idle life of travel and adventure.
3. Outside of having the required will, advanced directive and such in place I try not to think to much about how this all will end.
I have a few "hopes" that I will work to achieve. I want to spend time with friends. I hope to visit, in order, my Best Friends in Japan, The Netherlands, Switzerland, Mongolia, China, and Iraqi Kurdistan. Ya'll know who you are.
I know that my car will continue to break down, it will continue to rain in Portland, and I will not be able to achieve everything I have dreamed of but all in all I have never felt more content and happy. With Jenny, Bobby and Marie life is good. Thanks to all for putting up with me!