It's been just a little over one month since I lost my job (on July 22nd) and had early retirement unexpectedly thrust upon me at age 53.
Time has flown. As a couple of my now-retired coworkers told me, you think you're going to get all this stuff done, and...!
When I went to bed that first night after getting my walking papers, I can remember thinking, "At least I can sleep in now!! No more 4:45 alarm clock!" Naturally, my eyes flew open at 3 a.m., and I tossed & turned for the next few hours before finally getting up at 6:30 (!). Maddeningly, on most days over the next few weeks, I would wake up just before or just after my alarm clock would have gone off at 4:45 a.m... and then toss & turn, trying to go back to sleep again for a few more hours. I might still wake up early to answer nature's call ;) but thankfully, I'm getting better at falling back asleep again ;) and then waking up at a much more sane hour of 7:30 or 8 a.m.
Once or twice a week, though, I've been getting up at around 6-6:30 and heading into the city. I have use of a "transition consultant" for the next while and, although I have no desire or plans to re-enter the working world immediately (if ever -- perhaps something part time or a few freelancing jobs, eventually...?), I've decided I might as well take full advantage of their services. It's been a long, LONG time since I dusted off my resume, applied for a job or been on a job interview. And it's a completely different world out there since the last time I did any of those things. (LinkedIn? What's that?)
Getting an updated resume together was one thing; interview prep (which is what I'm doing right now) is quite another. I'm finding it nerve wracking and stressful, even if it is just practice. I think dh thinks I'm nuts for putting myself through this when I don't really have to. But I know it's for my own good. Maybe it's my inner bag lady talking, but I feel better knowing that, if or when I ever need or want to return to work, I will be better prepared than I was before I lost my job.
I ran into one of my former colleagues there this week. He and some of the others who also lost their jobs that day have been taking some time off before starting their job searches. Even though he is close to me in age, he has a young daughter to support; he needs to keep working.
I wondered if maybe I should have taken a break too. But I only have use of the consultant's services for a finite amount of time, and it's only one or two mornings a week. I don't have to do any more than I really want to -- they are working for me, not the other way around. And once I polish up my interviewing & networking skills, and set up my LinkedIn profile, I think I will feel better about slacking off more and taking things easier.
For the past 28 years -- 28 years!! -- my life each fall through Christmas has revolved around -- and been restricted by -- year-end reporting and related activities. I thought I'd get a reprieve in 1998 because my long-awaited baby was due in November; she was stillborn in August, and I had to return to work in October -- and I bitterly resented it. I found I was usually too busy during the week and too exhausted on weekends to do so many of the things I wanted to do -- take a trip to enjoy the fall colours, mourn my little girl properly on her November due date (if that's how I was feeling), have a leisurely pre-holiday lunch with friends, attend a Christmas craft show, check out the European-style Christmas market in the downtown Distillery District. I fully intend to do all those things and more this year.
On the mornings that I'm not heading into the city, dh & I linger over our tea/coffee and morning papers, then (if the weather permits) head out for a walk. Getting into better shape and staying healthy as we age is definitely one of my post-work goals. (I have not lost any weight -- yet!! lol -- but I feel SO much less stressed. The maddening twitch in my eye has disappeared; my heartburn is much less frequent, and I haven't checked but I am thinking my blood pressure has probably improved.) Dh goes to see his dad one afternoon a week and, depending on the weather, might return another day to mow his lawn. Another day is spent cleaning the house and doing laundry, and I've started tackling some of the piles of clutter that seemed to have become permanent fixtures in the spare bedrooms. Tuesdays, we trek over to the local farmers' market & come home with fresh produce to enjoy, especially berries. :) Other days, we might head over to the local mall to shop or just to get out of the house. A former coworker who lives in the area treated me to afternoon tea, with little sandwiches and scones and other treats. Dh & I are already planning some day trips to enjoy the fall colours, once they arrive, and maybe a slightly longer getaway, further afield.
This is what we've been working and saving for all these years. This is the goal we set for ourselves, once it became evident that we were not going to be parents. It came a little earlier than we both expected, and not quite the way either of us had imagined -- but now that it's here, we intend to enjoy it.
Life is good. :)