Continuing with a look back at my activities and life during the last half of 2019…
…the start of July found Spouse and me in Toronto, Canada, enjoying a real vacation. We loved the warm and friendly Canadian hospitality and the many things to do in the fourth largest city in North America.
Back home, I got some Harley riding in, solo, during a very hot month here in Maryland.
August was eventful. Four things happened:
- I was elected to serve as President for a large not-for-profit community organization. This position was vacated when leadership retired and moved away, and the organization needed someone with tact and diplomacy to take over and help during a very stressful time for them.
- I witnessed a horrible motorcycle crash where a rider to whom I rendered immediate first aid lost his foot. All due to reckless impatience of youth. This still haunts me today.
- Took many signals that the job was becoming “unfun”. I had always said that I would keep working as long as I enjoyed what I was doing. But the life-force of joy was sucked out of the job in August. In consultation with The Spouse, I began examining what it would take to leave, and when.
- Went to Salt Lake City for a work-trip to manage a big meeting that I had organized. It wasn’t confirmed yet, but I couldn’t tell them that this would be my last meeting and their “cat-herder-in-chief” was not going to do this any more.
During September, I endured an awful group motorcycle ride that was too fast for me. Got me to thinking hard about if I would join any more group rides again.
Also, at the end of the month, I completed a point-to-point-to-point trip for work:
- Day 1: Maryland to San Francisco via Phoenix; overnight in San Francisco. Dinner with Larry of Hotboots fame.
- Day 2: San Francisco to Eureka; enjoyed a day with a brother-from-another mother; overnight there.
- Day 3: most of the day in Eureka, then flew back to San Francisco; overnight again there (arrived too late to do anything but go to bed.)
- Day 4: San Francisco to Seattle. Rented a car and drove to the outer coast. Met with interesting people. Wrote a report. Overnight in Seattle.
- Day 5: Meeting in Seattle, then took a red-eye back home.
- Day 6: home! Arrived in the morning, and went to bed, dead tired.
Reminded myself that while “back-in-the-day” when working for another employer that these point-to-point trips were commonplace, how taxing they are, and be grateful that I probably will not have to do this type of travel ever again.
October found me deep in the throes of retirement planning and getting my financial affairs in order. Moving some investments, submitting paperwork for one of two pensions for which I qualify, and so forth. Things at work were difficult with people reacting to my decision to leave in odd ways.
In mid-October, I also completed another work trip to Alaska to conduct a final professional activity that I am certified to do (and the guy replacing me is not.) I enjoyed this visit, although it was very brief. I had a chance to say goodbye to good friends and colleagues with whom I worked closely (almost every day.)
November found me wrapped up in a dizzying array of “lasts.” Last briefings for colleagues at work; last reports; last launch of a major program for next year; last organization of a major meeting to be held in late January in which I will not be involved, even though I set it up. Last-this; last-that. My psyche was deeply troubled. I am grateful that The Spouse was right there to hold me, guide me, and most of all, just to listen. He is the best listener in the world.
I had my last day in the office on the day before U.S. Thanksgiving. Then I went on leave. The new guy who is unqualified for my job and who was foisted on my boss by scheming upper management who wanted to “pass the trash” and who got my position started the day after Thanksgiving, and I did not want to be there.
We did have our annual Thanksgiving Feastival at our house. We celebrated with 102 guests throughout the day. I was honored to be inducted as a “senior pal” now that I am retiring.
December found me mostly on leave. However, as a gift from the boss, I took one last work trip to the Caribbean. Another point-to-point-to-point trip: Day 1 to St. Thomas, USVI; Day 3 to San Juan, PR; drive to the Western side of the island that is more authentic Puerto Rican and I love so much; Day 4: surprise honor; Day 4 (afternoon), drive back to San Juan, have dinner with a close friend, and overnight in a hotel near the airport; Day 5, return home at a decent hour.
I was truly humbled and honored to receive a surprise recognition by being presented a Mayoral as well as a Governor’s Proclamation in recognition of over 30 years of professional support to la isla del encanto while I was in Western Puerto Rico. I just love this island and its resilient people.
End-of-December, on the Friday before Christmas, my twin brother and his wife surprised us with a visit. We loved having him with us to celebrate the holiday and enjoy a small retirement party that he organized for me at my best friend’s house on New Year’s Eve. He and his wife flew back home to Rome, Italy, on January 2.
Christmas was rather quiet, as we prefer. My brother, his wife, and I visited the little ones in the family and hung out.
Now… it is “next year!” Let’s see what this year entails!
Life is short: no man is a failure who has friends. Thank you, readers, for your support and friendship!
Been a while, but congratulations on your retirement. I also retired early and the plans you have published are exciting, but from one who experienced the first year of retirement 12 years ago, I would like to suggest you consider two things:
1. Purchase a new vehicle – not the Harley but a pick up which has four doors but lower wheel based to save on the stress to knees and also to prevent unexpected expenses that can amount to a considerable dollar output for repairs;
2. But a freezer – you are going to be free to do a lot more cooking like marinara sauces in late summer from scratch and of course all those terrific foods made with them and others you might want to package where you just have to grab and go to make something.
Aside from that take those trips, maybe keep the house it might be large but it can be a source of additional income if something should happen in the future where you feel cornered.
Just my thoughts, happy retirement and do the mall walk for 2 or 3 miles 4 to 5 times a week.
Thanks for your note. A few comments–
a. Since Spouse cannot ride on a motorcycle (even as a passenger), we already own a 4-door SUV that meets our needs. I can’t fit a pickup in my garage.
b. We already have a supplemental freezer and I’ve used it for years just as you recommended.
c. We are not planning to sell our primary residence any time soon. Eventually when we do choose to move, we will sell it. But that’s in the
d. We do “mall walking” regularly, thanks for confirming this choice for
regular “get out and get going” exercise.