I'm retiring - what next?

Author: Eddie Drozdziak

I'm retiring - what next?

Eddie Drozdziak on making the transition to retirement after 40 years of work.

I still recall clearly the feeling of elation that day three years ago when I walked out of the office on the last day of my paid working life.

I loved my job but 40 years was enough: times had changed, attitudes had changed - everything was “more for less” – and it wasn’t as much fun any more.

It was time to concentrate on me and my family.

That first weekend, the words of my pre-retirement course were buzzing in my head: “Retirement is a time of change, challenge, freedom and choice; a time to regain control of your life.”

I’m now in charge of my own life rather than being dominated by work and all that entails. No more rules and routines to follow.

The success of my retirement – for the next 20, 30 maybe 40 years - is in my control. Phew!

What was I going to do with it? It was a bit scary, but exciting.

New values

The first thing I aimed to do was to relax.

There were no more work pressures, so I had to establish a different set of values and set my own pace.

My wife and I also had to talk through what my retirement would mean for her.

She was still working but would have to make changes to her routines on her non-working days. How did she feel about that (she has since retired and subsequently faced all the same questions as me)?

The second thing to do was to carry out some planning, juggling the following: what I needed to do (all the DIY jobs that had piled up): what I wanted to do (lie in, learn the harmonica and piano); and what we wanted to do (motorhome, travel far and wide, visit family and friends more often [thanks to the bus pass and senior railcard], cinema, theatre, keep fit, have time for each other).

And would my pension be enough to do these things? It was time to get out the calculator and try to understand tax, benefits, concessions and SAGA.

However, above all these things, the question was “What does God want me, us, to do?”  

We are both healthy, committed to the Lord and to Charismatic Renewal and want to spend our time doing what He wants, in his strength and power, and have fun doing it. Praying more, evangelising more, getting more involved. His way.  

Three years in

So how is it all going after my first three years of being retired?

Some things are clear: my wife and I sometimes get on each others’ nerves; I’m still no good at DIY; I can play the harmonica a bit (but not the bluesy way I want); I haven’t learnt to play the piano; we have a motorhome but don’t have the time to use it as much as we want.

This last point seems to be a general rule – we don’t have as much time to do what we want as we thought we would.

Why that is, I’m not sure.

Our diaries are quite full, we seem to be busier than ever even though we think we are quite good at saying “no”.

Maybe we don’t say “no” enough but I can’t think of many things I want to say no to (other than pain and taxes).

Life is good, and we pray every day that it is the Lord himself who is directing our lives. Sometimes it feels like it is, other times it doesn’t.

All we know is that God is good all the time, whatever it feels like to us. Whatever is going on, He knows what He’s doing.

Retirement – best job I’ve ever had! 

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