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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Benefits of Retirement

I decided to pull the plug on my business as a stock broker in December of 2010. Since then, there have been a lot of changes and unexpected side benefits to being retired.

Surprisingly, being retired hasn't translated into a leisurely lifestyle. No bon bons or lounging around in silk pajamas for me. Have been able to squeeze in the few occasional naps once in a while and a nice afternoon glass of wine in the sunshine on the deck on the rare moment when the sun has actually out been out this winter and when I'm caught up on chores and errands :-)

I have been more busy now than I ever was in my office environment. The Dumbplumber (my ever lovin' husband) has expanded his business and I have picked up all of his bookwork, banking, post office and errand running, telephone calling and in general freeing him up from these hated and mundane tasks.

It is a very strange feeling to not have an office to go to every day. Not have a time schedule for meeting with clients, making phone calls. My time is my own. No demands from others......well.....except for The Dumbplumber. In the beginning it felt like I was playing hookie or shirking something.

Because I'm home now, I can do more than just pay surface attention to the house and the yard. Busy busy there too and I love it. All the things that I want to do at home that were neglected or just half assed taken care of.

Benefit #1: HEALTH I'm losing weight from all the activity. Seriously!! 8 pounds so far without even trying. No more sitting at a desk all day. No more lunches out. No more frustration eating. Now I'm up and down the stairs, walking from one end of the property to the other. Lifting.... bending.......moving around. My energy level is higher and my motivation to just DO is higher.

Benefit #2: ORGANIZATION: The ability to have the time to focus on a task and get it done. The low priority things like organizing my home office that I put off and put off until it becomes a monumental intimidating task. Catagorizing my enormous collection of cook books, recipies, craft books and patterns. Previously, who had the time? Not me. Side benefit is that I've been able to purge, throw away, lots of items that I had just stored away. Purging and lightning the load feels great.

Benefit#3: COOKING: Sort of a side benefit of #2. I love to cook and since organizing and purging; I have been able to plan new and exciting (and sometimes not so exciting) meals. Instead of sticking to the tried and true, old faithful recipies for expediency, I can experiment. Cooking is a creative and to me Zen like activity which leads me to the next benefit.

Benefit #4: CREATIVITY: I've alway been interested in arts and crafts. In fact......and I know it seems strange with my occupation as a stock broker, I was an art major in college. Over the years and as my business became more and more demanding, I stifled my creativity. NOW....with time being my friend instead of my nemisis, I can bring out the crafting supplies. The oil paints, the clay, stained glass, yarn and fabric and pick up again the creative outlets that I let languish and wither.

Benefit #5: CLEAN HOUSE: Feminists are probably having their heads explode right about now as I am reveling in my ability to do housework. The laundry is folded, closets are clean and organized, kitchen is sparkling, counters are cleared of clutter, floors are kept as clean as can be until it isn't muddy outside anymore, bathrooms are gleaming, dusting, polishing.........

I'm not a 'feminist' in the Gloria Steinham,(hate men, men are the enemy) mold. I am a feminist in that I held a sucessful job in a profession designated to and dominated by men. I am a feminist in that I feel that women can and should do whatever they are qualified to do. I am also a feminist in that I love my own femininity and enjoy being around men without feeling that there must be a competition. I see no contradiction in feminism and being happy to be at home with my family. I see no betrayal of feminism to be 'house proud'.

Instead of just skimming the surface, now I can take the TIME (see a common thread here?). Surprisingly, it seems to take less time to do the job throughly than it did to just haphazardly, slapdash through the chores.

TOP BENEFIT: TIME WITH MY HUSBAND: The number one top benefit of retirement, is that I have more time to spend with my husband. Quality time we have both been missing.

Previously, we would have some time in the morning over coffee before both going out to our respective businesses. Me to my office, he to his truck(s) and the various job sites for his plumbing and well jobs. In the evening, we would meet again at home for some de-briefing of the day's activities. Perhaps a cocktail or two before dinner. Maybe some television and then early to bed so we can go out and work again the next day. Wash, rinse and repeat.

Now, we often go together on the preliminary inspections for his work. Driving through countryside that is beautiful and pastoral.

Going from one job to another, we can revel yet again in the beauty of our adopted home, reminding us just why we are working so hard. We can spend time talking and laughing with each other; stopping at the local "Frosty" for an ice cream cone or a quick snack and then on to visit the next job. We never get tired of each other's company. It is almost like dating again.

Instead of being trapped in an office, looking at the four walls, I get to see THIS:

And at the end of the day we can sit on our deck, cocktails in hand, satisfied with our life and view THIS.

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