This blog post has been unfolding in my mind over the past few days as the next phase of our lives – retirement – is on the horizon but looming ever closer.
We have been ’empty-nesters’, with no children at home for over 12 years. This coincided with our move from Brisbane to our current home on a semi-rural block of 1.5 acres. There has been no shortage of things to do as we have developed the garden as well as undertaken several renovations to the house. There are other projects which we are looking forward to working on once we have more time but most of the major work has been done. Additionally, we have gradually sorted, culled, decluttered and generally streamlined a lot of stuff so the day-to-day cleaning and maintenance is becoming simpler and easier.
To add to the busyness we have both continued to work full-time, however, this will change when we retire in the middle of next year.
I am regularly quizzed by well-meaning people as to what I am going to when I retire and my somewhat truthful but flippant answer is ‘travel’. Of course, travel will be only a small part of what we do. I think my comment to GMan a few weeks ago really summed it up when I said that I was looking forward to having 7 days to do what I currently try to fit into 2 days of the weekend.
A few things recently have led me to rethink how I manage my working hours which I am fortunate enough to have very flexible arrangements. However, this has led to me not working in the most efficient manner at times. Even though I will still be working full-time I have decided to structure my office and working from home times so that I will only work 4 days each week with Mondays off each week apart from once a month when I will swap it for a Tuesday so that I can continue my involvement in a community project. Thursdays will a full day of working from home and I will be in the office on the other 3 days. There is still a degree of flexibility if I need to swap my days around for a particular reason.
I believe that having a 3 day weekend most weeks will allow me to do things I want to do at home without feeling quite so rushed and be be organised for the remainder of the week. I am thinking particularly of cooking and meal preparation and gardening.
With only 10 months (but who’s counting) until I retire I also need to consider how I will manage the workload whilst handing over the role to my replacement in the first half of next year.
There are certainly different seasons of our lives and what was necessary when I had young children is not relevant in my current situation. We are all at different stages of our lives and sometimes the biggest hurdle is actually identifying what is best for you and your family now. It will not be the same as mine but by finding what works for you will help to promote a sense of calm, peace and gratitude while minimising angst and stress.
It is admirable to strive for goals and targets but do not wish your life away. Be grateful for what you have today because this stage of your life will not last forever.