I can’t quite believe it myself. I know it’s going to be a huge adjustment, and I’m looking forward to the adventures and challenges that this next chapter will most certainly bring. It’s not lost on me that this opportunity is a gift. A dear colleague’s wife said, “she is the luckiest of them all.” That definitely resonates, and I hope that I never take it for granted.
So, how did this happen?
A few milestones led us here. In 2015, Andy sold his company and considered retiring then. He was ready, but I felt like I had much more to do at work, and, quite frankly, I was scared of such a drastic change. So, Andy took on another position, I continued down my own career path, and we temporarily shelved our idea of packing up and moving somewhere quieter.
We were ambling along, saving, keeping an eye on our finances, dreaming of finding our forever home one day, and having some adventures along the way. And then, something shifted. I’m not quite sure exactly when it was, but we mutually agreed that Andy would retire by the end of this year (2019). We tossed around a lot of ideas, and brainstormed about what our next chapter might look like. Our long-term goals really came into focus this past summer. Andy’s official retirement date was set for 1 October, and I planned to continue working into mid-2020.
It all seemed surreal to me. It still does. My inner voice was shouting at me, “you can’t retire! You’re not even 40!” However, as Andy’s retirement date approached, I found myself at an impasse. I started to wonder why I had set an arbitrary date for the summer of 2020 to leave my job. I felt I was wasting time in not spending it with him. I knew that we could afford for me to leave my job. In fact, working into the next tax year didn’t actually benefit us–especially when we considered our time.
I think about time a lot. Time is actually what led me to start this blog. I want to remember this process, and update loved ones, but I also want to hear from folks about what they would do with their time in my position. Or, from those already retired, to hear how they spend their days.
Time is our most precious commodity in life, and no one knows how much of it they have. Andy and I are 18 years apart. I didn’t want to look back and regret not taking the opportunity to spend more time with him while we are both young, asked to live together without the constraints of a 9-5 job. I also want to be more present and involved in the lives of those we love and cherish, to explore the world, and to hopefully still make a meaningful impact in this world.
I also resolved that I didn’t want to be paralyzed by fear of the unknown once again. I was afraid to pull up chocks in 2015, and I nearly did it again. I was not going to regret missing this opportunity for a second time. So, yesterday was my last day of work. I chose Thanksgiving because it has always been a time of reflection for me. Coincidentally, when I did the math, I found that 38 was also the amount of days between my 38th birthday and what would’ve been my next work day after Thanksgiving break. Neat!
I’m really looking forward to refocusing my life purpose, and hopefully making a positive impact on the world – no matter how small. I’d like to volunteer, read and write more, improve my overall fitness level through yoga and continuing to lift, and spend more time with those I care about. Simply stated, our immediate goal is to LIVE! Andy has already been enjoying his time by taking long bike rides and in learning how to play acoustic guitar. Together we intend to travel, complete house projects, and significantly downsize the things we have.
Our long term goal over the next year and some change is to figure out where our Narnia is, and to make plans to relocate there. We expect to rent a small place for a couple months and do full immersion in a place before we make a decision. Right now, we’re looking out west to Montana, Oregon, or Wyoming. There’s also the possibility of Asheville, NC or Shenandoah, VA. At some point within the past two years, our mantra became John Muir’s famous quote, “the mountains are calling and I must go.” I imagine we’ll move somewhere with changing seasons, and mountain views. Stay tuned on that front; it’s going to be an adventure!