I haven’t taken more than a few days off from the day job for years. Nobody fills in when I’m out. An overwhelming quantity of emails, phone messages, and snail mail waiting when I return offset the benefits of getting away. I use vacation days a few at a time for long weekends throughout the year.
I went into work on June 26 and, after checking my calendar, decided on a whim to take off until July 10. For thirteen glorious days, I hardly left the house. I did check my work email regularly and ended up having to go to the office once. But the rest of the time, I did exactly what I wanted to do.
Not long into the longest vacation I’ve had in years, that this is what my life will look like when I retire occurred to me. Some people worry about having nothing to do when they retire. Not me. My days weren’t long enough for all I wanted to do.
I jumped out of bed by 5:30 every morning with no alarm. Toodles gets her shot at 6:00, and I had stuff to do.
Work or not, the first two hours of my day are more or less the same. Make the bed, straighten up the house, walk Toodles, read the paper, listen to news on the television and NPR, check email and various web sites, and play brain games on my phone (Lumosity, Peak, Elevate, and the daily puzzle on Pixel Logic).
Except for three rainy days, I left the house by seven-thirty to run two- to four-miles before the heat and humidity became unbearable. By 10, I was at my computer working on The Gilded Lily. Most days, I didn’t stop until six p.m. or later, with breaks throughout the day to eat, do something with Toodles, or piddle in the yard.
In the evening, I touched base with Mom for our Hello Daily, ate a nice dinner, and watched a lot of television. The ex comes over just about every day, either for dinner or to leave Tico with me while he works.
For four days, I didn’t write. Thanks to an eye appointment, an extended power failure, and the inability to use my laptop for two days, I had no choice. Fortunately, a new power cord solved the problem with my laptop and, in truth, the break did me a lot of good.
Becoming a hermit after I retire is my biggest concern. As it is, I rarely leave the house except for work, grocery shopping, or doctor appointments. Vision issues prevent me from driving at night and, anymore, going more than a few blocks from home.
Travel? I haven’t flown for years — not since I had to sit on the tarmac in the blazing heat for nearly three hours. If I can’t get there by car, I don’t go, and even then, I don’t go far.
Financially, I’m not quite ready to retire. I could, but the longer I work, the more financially secure my retirement will be. My biggest fear (aside from dying before I retire) is regretting that I didn’t work another year or two. Knowing when I’ll die would be extremely helpful.
In September, I’ll be old enough to withdraw from my tax-deferred accounts without having to pay the ten percent penalty. I won’t be withdrawing any money, but reaching that milestone will be nice. I can collect Social Security in 2020, but again, the longer I put it off, the more I’ll get.
Que sera, sera. I’ll keep you posted. I’m counting on you for lunch dates!