If all goes according to plan, in just about a year, I will be retired. However, as I heard someone say recently in a webinar I was listening to, I say “Retired” with air quotes because for me, retiring will just mean no longer working full time. I still plan on teaching the analytical course I have taught for almost 20 years as well as teaching the new stability course I started in 2015. And as the opportunity presents itself, I will also do some consulting work.
The reason I plan to “retire” in this manner is because I have been blessed throughout my career to enjoy my work. And early in my career when I was still working in the laboratory, I absolutely loved my job and looked forward to going to work every day. This was when work was play for me. I was doing hands-on HPLC work and considered myself a “micro plumber.”
But even when I moved into management, I still enjoyed many aspects of my job. Often there would be problems to solve that required creative analytical thinking. Or I would have to develop a detailed plan to accomplish some task and being a detail-oriented person, this was right up my alley. Over my career, governmental regulations continued to change and in my position, I was the one responsible for developing and implementing policy to meet the changing regulatory environment. In this regard, I was often my own boss in defining what had to be done and when.
It wasn’t until later in my career that I began to have to perform certain tasks that I absolutely loathed, performance management, annual goal setting, and employee ratings distribution being at the top of that list. Fortunately, these were only once or twice a year activities rather than daily tasks. These last tasks I will definitely not miss when I retire.
So overall, I have thoroughly enjoyed my 30+ year career in the pharmaceutical industry and plan to stay active in it since I really enjoy the teaching aspect and working to help others to solve problems.
So beyond my teaching and possible consulting, what will I do when I retire?
Well I know the first morning I wake up and do not drive to work will likely just seem like a weekend day no matter what day of the week it is since while working full time, the weekend was always the time when I had a number of things on my To Do list that I had to accomplish. After three or four days of this, it may begin to seem like a “staycation” but once I am into my second week without going to work, then I think it will really hit me that “I am retired.”
So being a habitual list maker, here is the start of my retirement activity list. I suspect I will add even more ideas as time goes on. But this is at least a start.
Travel – Not since I was a preschooler have I had unlimited vacation time. Admittedly being able to travel is not just about having the time, there is the money required as well. But working full time for over 35 years, there have been numerous times when I could not travel because I simply did not have the vacation time to take off. With extra tine, at least half of that travel equation will be resolved.
So where will my wife and I go first? Well we have almost a year to figure that out. But I suspect it will be someplace we have never been before. Because in spite of all our past travels, there is still a world of places out there we can explore that will be new to us.
Spend Time with Kids/Grandkids – No doubt some of that travel will be to visit our kids and grandchildren. Two of our kids and grandchildren live a long way away and so we don’t get to visit with them as much as our in-town son and granddaughter. Our trips out west in the past have some times been limited by the cost of airfare. But with unlimited vacation time (at least for me), we could drive if we wanted to. On the way, this would also give us a chance to visit some places we have never been before.
Road Trips – Driving out west might seem like a road trip but for me, a road trip is when I drive by car specifically to experience a fun road, The Tale of the Dragon (US 129) is at the top of that list and I have driven it multiple times.
Another fun road that I have driven just for the experience of driving it was the Blue Ridge Parkway.
When I retire, I want to find some other fun roads in the US that I can drive to and experience.
Reading – Reading more is definitely a high priority on my list. I look forward to seeing how many books I can put on my year’s reading list when I have all the time I want to read.
Outdoor Projects – Projects that would normally take multiple weekends to complete oftentimes went undone while I was working full time. Rebuilding the garbage blind is one of those that I have written about before that is still waiting for me.
Even the steps I built from a walkway to our deck fell into disrepair this year and are in need of a rebuild.
Photography – With extra time available, I plan to pursue taking more photos. I have a very nice digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) camera that I haven’t used in many years because it has been easier to use my iPhone or my point and shoot camera. Using the manual mode on my DSLR, hopefully I will be able to create some stunning photos.
Golf – It’s also been over 20 years since I played golf. I played a lot when I was growing up and even early in my marriage (when I still had the time) I would play. I was never very good with my best handicap probably being 20+ but I always enjoyed getting out to play. In my teens, I remember seeing a number of old men playing the game. Now I am one.
So this is a start of my list; I’ll have a year to add more items to that list. And when that day comes about a year from now, I suspect I may be perplexed at what to do first. But I know that no matter what it is, it will be the beginning of a fun retirement.