A sophomore in high school I turned sixteen in 1975. For my birthday Dad gave me a ’72 Chevy Nova with the provision that I had to buy my own gas and insurance for it. Though I had been mowing lawns and delivering newspapers for years before that, it was time to get a real job. That’s when I became a part-time dishwasher at a Ponderosa Steakhouse and kicked-off 47 years of continuous working for a living.
That came to an end exactly six months ago today when I retired.
I spent forty of those years toiling as an engineer and project manager, a career that allowed me to travel all over the world. As with any job there were high points and low points, the worst being too much time spent on the road away from family.
The global pandemic kept me working from home for the last two years of my career and in some ways prepared me for retirement. I really couldn’t imagine going back to an office environment after two years at home so when the time came to go back into an office I chose early retirement.
After six months I’m still adjusting to the retired life. Everyone warned me (many times) not to just quit working and lay on the couch. I hardly needed that advice, but it’s easy to see several days slip by having not accomplished much. An endless to-do list helps plus I started walking a few miles every morning which seems to add some structure to each day.
The best parts of being retired are pretty much what you would expect. The dread of Monday mornings that sometimes appeared on Sunday evenings as the weekend was drawing to a close is gone. Had you asked me a year ago if I considered my job to be stressful I would have honestly told you “no” though it does feel like a load has been lifted and I’m really liking that.
There has been more time for ham radio, but it’s easy to get burned out on even that. I’ve really had a problem trying to avoid frequently refreshing my LoTW account to see if any more DXCC has confirmed our contact…
The list of outdoor work that still needs doing includes a big landscaping project and endless antenna work. These are limited by weather and season and while there are still months before the snow starts flying I keep a close eye on the calendar and weather reports. I quit work at the tail-end of winter and have mostly stayed busy outside ever since.
It should be interesting to see how I handle so much free time when November rolls around and the lawn equipment goes into hibernation. I have lined up several QRP kit projects to build along with some plans to build a crystal radio or three. I built many of these when I was a kid in school and I look forward to reliving that part of my youth.
The bottom line for me after six months out of the work-a-day world is this; retired life is good and it sure beats working for a living!