Tuesday, June 5, 2012


Lately the topic of retirement has been popping up.

There are two dispatchers who are eligible for retirement now, one having already given a date in January 2013.  The other (who is so burnt out and so crabby because of it) keeps saying she plans to retire before the end of 2013 but worried about having the money to support herself and all her four-legged menagerie.  (Even with our pay cuts, she has the money because at a weak moment she talked about her finances, telling me more than I really wanted to know.)

In the list of older dispatchers, I would be next.  Ouch. 

My hubby (I know, I know, I don't talk about him much here) can also retire any time he wants.  He wants to pay off his truck, three more years, and then set a retirement date.  He is involved with lots of non-home improvement projects. Actually, not putting in a 40+ hour work week will give him more time to be more involved in his community activities.

My mother-in-law made sure I learned from her lesson on personal and spouse retirement.  She retired first, had a routine with the house and garden, church mass, weekly hair appointment, bi-weekly lunch with best friend.  Then my father-in-law retired.  He was so use to working very long hours that when he no longer was punching a time clock, he really didn't know what to do.  He would follow her around the house, the garden, basically driving her nuts.  She told him to get a job for a few hours a week to get out of the house and out of her hair.

She instructed me to make sure hubby retired first, had a routine of activities, before I retired.  To save myself a lot of grief.

So that has been our plan for many years.  The biggest difference between hubby and his father is hubby is more involved in projects and service than his father was at time of retirement.  But will be sure he is fully integrated before I turn in my retirement date.

And now the pickle.

I'm in a quagmire of "this" or "that" when I think about retirement.  My retirement.

I have been working since 12 years old.  Paycheck jobs since age 16.  The only time I wasn't working regularly, or 40 hours a week, was when I was raising our family. I worked for a temp service, so I could work around the school and after school activities schedule and hubby's horrific work schedule.  But I was still putting in a lot of hours around the house and at the kids school.  Sometimes running a typing service on the side.  And always busy with a very large service club.

But a lot of things have changed over the last couple of years since hubby and I started making retirement plans and discussing our "wants" over the previous years.  Maybe because I am truly looking at a retirement date soon, for him and me, I am getting confused and worried.

I can already hear some voices saying, "Hey, you're looking at three years alone before hubby retires, and you plan to wait awhiles after his retirement to plan your own, why are you even stressing about it now?"

Like any good emergency plan, or long term investment plan, you have to think ahead and play the "what if's" game.  And because I know I will be officially retiring probably five years or so from now, I need to start preparation and planning, for reals.

What am I going to be doing with myself without having the call of a 40+ hour work week?

And need to truly think about what to do with my free time.  Which has just become very large.

Retirement - that word is getting to be high on my list of scary words.

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