My Retirement
Monday October 30th 2006, 10:26 am

Baby boomers, like me, are getting older and their retirements have already begun. Most teachers, nurses, police officers, government and military employees, who are my age, have already retired because they have government pensions. These retirements are making it easier for younger people to get jobs in these areas, which until the last few years, have been hard to get. Baby boomers, who are now in their 50’s and have no pensions or savings, will probably have to work for at least another 10 years. I would say that most baby boomers are looking forward to the day they can retire.

I am now 57 and retired two years ago when I was 55. I knew my exact retirement date from the time I was hired by the federal government in 1969. I knew that I had to be 55 years old and work 30 years for the government in order to get a pension and work 35 years to get a full pension.

Psychologists say that there are several phases to retirement which start years prior to retiring. The first phase starts three to five years before retirement and consists of dreaming and planning all the things you never had the time to do before, such as travelling, hobbies, gardening, reading and just relaxing. The possibilities seemed endless. You can move anywhere and do everything you always dreamed of doing, as along as you have good health and enough money. Some of my co-workers were definitely in this phase years before their retirement but I didn’t get into it until about a year before I retired. I liked my job and I didn’t know how I would fill my days because I had always worked. I knew that I had to have a plan or I would spend my days watching television or reading. I wondered how women who had never worked spent their time. I was always very organized at work so I knew I had to be organized at home also. The year before I retired I did some reading about retirement and about what to expect so I thought I was prepared.

The second phase occurs immediately after the actual retirement and is the time of enjoyment of your free time which feels like a long vacation. I love this phase because I don’t have to set my alarm clock and get up at 6:00 am every morning to get ready for work. I can stay up late and not have to worry about being too tired in the morning. I can spend the day reading or gardening, if I want to, or spend the entire day doing house cleaning. I sleep better because I am away from the stress of the job. I can plan trips or go to the cottage whenever the weather is good. I don’t miss my job and I find that retirement is so much better than I thought it would be. I vowed when I retired that I would never watch televison during the day because I wanted to find better things to do with my time. I do spend more time on the computer some days but I am learning new things and that is a good thing. I have been retired for two and a half years so I am still in this phase. This is the phase of retirement routine, rest and relaxation and according to the psycologists lasts four to five years and I am enjoying it.

The next phase is called the disenchantment phase, which doesn’t sound very good and I am not looking forward to it. It starts four to six years after retirement. During this phase the retiree feels depressed about life and the lack of things to do. They have done everything they desired and they are tired and bored. They feel the need for productivity. My husband has been retired for over five years and hasn’t gone through this phase yet and still enjoys his retirement. I don’t think he will ever run out of things to do. He is always busy going from one project to another.

Fortunately most people go through a reorientation phase from the sixth to eighth year. This is the period to develop a more realistic attitude toward the effective use of time. Decisions are made about what is important and we learn to accept and enjoy the roles of retirement. Once we decide what is important, these priorities set the stage for the next phase called the stability or the “settle down to routine period”. This is the time of contentment because the retirement routine is established and enjoyed. Things like volunteer work, visiting and other routines are developed to keep the retiree happy and feeling important.

I guess it is good to know what is in store for me in the coming years but I was hoping that retirement wouldn’t be this complicated. Depending on my health and that of my husband, retirement in the future may or may not be great. Having good health is everything. You don’t think about it when you are younger and when you are still working. As soon as you retire, you realize that without good health, everything is less enjoyable.

Have a good day, Anne