March 07, 2023

Retirement? Again?

 Retirement - what does that even mean?  I'm in my 50s, and that means my parents are over 70 years old.  My mother still works part-time jobs.  Not because she needs the money, but because, in her words, "after 6 months at home watching TV, I got up and opened the refrigerator, thought 'what am I even doing?' and decided to go back to work". She's been 'retired' for 20 years and still tells me about her 3 or 4 different jobs.

I worked for the same company from mid 1992 to early 2016. That was 23 and a half years with a company that changed hands twice while I worked there. I am now taking an early retirement from my Federal position, which I started in 2016. I have been in the position for 7 years, and along with my military service, this provides me a small pension.  There's a number of different reasons for me to leave this position - and one of them is that I've driven myself quite hard in those years.  I have so much vacation that my cash-out will end up providing me 6 weeks of salary. Honestly, I just don't know how to 'not work'.  I've already lined up teaching jobs to supplement my pension and avoid collapsing my 401k before Social Security kicks in [if it kicks in! - allow me some small hyperbole]. 

After 40 years in tech - I want to relax. I want to be able to let go and do a job without stressing about everything that can (and usually does) go wrong. I want to make a difference, and at the same time, also sit on the couch and finish my The Muppet Show DVD collection. I want to play golf, work out at the gym, have long lunches and dinners with my wife, but also learn linear algebra all over and write the next great video game. I want a boat, a beautiful piano, piano lessons and about 20 different hobbies. I can't have all of those things unless I continue to push myself.  

We all want work-life balance - but none of us know where that balance lies.  I could wile away a week without 'working' or I could spend a week solving some insane esoteric problem at the office - and enjoy either one. Now that I've retired again - I can do anything. But apart from a month's vacation I spent doing nothing...I'm not sure what it'll be.  Here's to retirement - and to never retiring.

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