By Kate Benzin
Your last day of work came and went. Your co-workers gave you a farewell party and toasted your pleasant smile that greeted everyone every day. They also commended your ever present willingness to help anyone who was having trouble with the software that seemed to change faster than anyone changed underwear.
You saw the envy in Bill’s eyes when he commented that he only had to work five more years before he too could embark on the same new adventure as you. And it was clear that many of the others were either counting how much longer they had to work before they could join you in your freedom or else not wanting to face that they were going to have to keep working past retirement age because they hadn’t planned their finances strategically.
Despite the feelings of envy that some of your co-workers felt, everyone wished you a marvelous retirement and promised to keep in touch with you.
The Beginning of Freedom
When you went to bed that night after your last day of work, you didn’t set the alarm clock, and you started regularly sleeping in past your normal 5:30 am waking. How glorious it was to wake up naturally without that intrusive clang jarring you into consciousness. This was freedom.
As the days passed –
- You met with friends you hadn’t seen in a long time, spending hours over long lunches with them praising yourselves for your smart financial planning so that you could retire and welcome every day as a blank slate on which you were free to write whatever you chose.
- You got out that painting that you started so many years ago and finished it off in a few days.
- You started volunteering at your local VFW to help vets deal with the pressures of returning home.
- You took a few trips to places that were on your bucket list.
- You even visited some distant cousins that had contacted you years ago during their genealogy research.
- You ticked off activities on a list that you made before retirement. You were so busy during the first several months of retirement that you wondered how you ever had had time to work.
- And not having to deal with the stress and frustrations of the nine-to-five rat race made you feel euphoric. You could hardly believe that this feeling of being on vacation will be yours for the rest of your life
This period of retirement is often referred to as the Honeymoon Stage. The feeling that life is open to endless possibilities can be thrilling, especially for retirees who looked ahead and planned their newly free time around activities and hobbies that they were passionate about.
There is no set length of time for this stage. For some, it can go on for a long time, but for others, it can be frustratingly short. One of the main factors determining the length of this period is a person’s financial resources. If he has enough money to do the things he had to put off during his working years, then this period can last for years.
Kate is a freelance writer who has lived on the island of Java for the past 30 years. Java became her home when she took a 3-month work assignment to train Indonesians on word processing equipment in Jakarta, and she fell in love with the adventurous lifestyle that she found there. She worked as a tour director in many countries of the world, but she now spends most of her time writing in her home/office in Yogyakarta, Central Java, which she shares with her two whippets and four Dalmatians. You can visit her at KateFreelanceWriter or follow her on Facebook or Twitter.