How can something that feels so right, still feel so very wrong?
A little over a week ago I set things in motion to go ahead and take early retirement. I had fluctuated back and forth for a while but finally decided to go ahead with retiring.
I’ve been out of work since March twenty-seventh of this year thanks to the pandemic. If I had made it to August, I would have worked for the same company thirty years. There wouldn’t have been any celebration or acknowledgement or way to go, about the anniversary, but it was my goal. Covid robbed me of that. Still, I had been told that when things picked up, I would be called back. Now, eight months in, I know that isn’t happening.
After getting so much done around here, I was left with time on my hands. My parents found ways to fill that. Mom calls up to five times a day. Oh yeah, they live right next door. My parents are in the at risk group due to their advanced age. The extended family tries to take care of as much of everything as we are able. But the mental and emotional side of this pandemic is taking its toll on both of them.
At one point I was considering taking a job. I spoke at length to a person about the job. It sounded very interesting and like something I could handle. I told my mother and she was quiet at first. A couple days later she spoke of her concerns, wondering what she would do when I went back to work. So, two days after that conversation, I made the call.
The first call was to make the appointment for them to call me to apply and get my social security started. I got that call today. The entire call was barely thirty minutes. We talked, I asked questions that he answered and he asked questions that I answered. He told me what I would draw off mine and then when I reach full age what I would draw from my late husband’s.
Its official, its done, I’m retired. So why do I feel like I do? Aren’t you supposed to be happy and all excited that you have reached this point? Aren’t you supposed to throw a party and celebrate? After a life time of working and slaving and following the rules laid down by others, I’m free.
So why, am I not dancing in the yard and scaring the neighbors with my cheers?
For as long as I can recall, I had said that I would work right up until thirty minutes before my funeral. Knowing that wasn’t a complete fact, but I had still planned on working full time right up until I was full retirement age. Of course then, my husband was still alive and we had all these plans. Then he died and I saw no reason to consider retiring. Oh I thought I would leave the manufacturing job and find something a little easier on the mind and body, but I would still work. I have bills to pay, this I’ll be drawing will cover the bills, but there won’t be much left after that. So yes, part of the concern is the money.
I am not an entrepreneur. I don’t have any talents that can be used to generate extra money.
I could try to find a part time job, but the only way to do that, and still be here for mom, would mean it would have to be evening hours. That would mean I probably wouldn’t be able to join in on the events that the only club I belong to puts on. And I’m just starting to really enjoy that group and the family it is.
I think though, there is also the fact that I have worked since I was 15. I have been self supporting, I have helped support a family. I have worked short weeks when the work was low, and I’ve worked nearly six and seven day weeks when the work was over abundant.
I’ve worked. When I was diagnosed with cancer, I missed two days. The day of the surgery and the day after. After my husband died, I didn’t miss any work at all for the next three years. The days I missed then was because of the loss of one of my brothers to cancer.
When I got let go from work, I worked hard around the house reclaiming my yard and helping mom with hers.
What, am I going to do now?
There is also the guilt. Both my husband and brother spoke of retiring and what they were going to do after that happened. Neither of them made it to retirement. Now here I sit. Of course like someone told me, they wouldn’t leave where they are to come back here. So there is that.
I know, that what I’ve done is right. I need to be and am happy to be here for my parents. They had always been available for me. I can’t begin to list the times they have helped me. If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t even be here. So I do not regret this move. I just have to find my peace and comfort with it all.