This is it - FIVE MORE WORKING DAYS TO R DAY!
It's coming true - early retirement, and I still can't believe it, but I don't want to pinch myself because if this is just a dream, I sure don't want to wake up.
I gave my "official" notice to Human Resources on January 5th and then spoke with the head of the Practice Group I am in, in early afternoon, giving him the news and the whys/wherefores. From there, news spread like wildfire. Until I gave "official notice" I had kept it very close to my vest, telling only one friend at the office whom I knew would keep her lips zipped. She did. And of course, my best buddy Ann, whom I've known since 1991. So it was a BIG surprise, this news of my impending retirement, and something of a bomb to everyone at the firm.
Suffice to say that my bomb turned into a NEUTRON BOMB. Wow - I never imagined so much drama, but there's been drama a-plenty, mostly surrounding who would be my successor. It's been - interesting, since we learned, although it's never been officially announced, that evidently the firm's new "policy" is NO NEW HIRES. Nope - those left behind will have to suck it up and take over the gargantuan work-load (and incumbent stress) I shouldered. Well, good luck with that.
My last work day is January 30th. I cannot tell you how many people have come up to me -- people I didn't even know knew who the heck I was -- wishing me well and congratulating me on my "early escape." There have been lots of lunches with co-workers, a supper with special friends last Tuesday night (it was SO much fun!), and my last week will be very busy with social events and work.
Monday afternoon there will be a "goodbye"get-together with my co-workers over cake in one of our conference rooms. Thursday lunch with two of the attorneys I've worked with for years at the firm. Friday night, FREEDOM DAY, dinner and drinks with two special friends at Kegel's, one of my favorite places to eat, drink and make merry. I will turn in my card-keys and commuter-pass and cell phone I never learned how to use, and collect a check for my accumulated PTO and start paying a ridiculously expensive amount every month to COBRA my health and dental insurance. I won't qualify for Medicare for 18 months. But my investment advisor and I have both crunched the numbers (me, several times), and I have enough for a comfortable (not lavish) retirement. Investment advisor advised me to travel, play chess, and laugh a lot. I like his advice :)
We had a meeting a week ago Saturday and went over the numbers once again and I received lots of good news. Mind you, I'm not sure I believe his projections 100%, but he does this day in and day out for his living, working with people of moderate means like moi, and he's an upright guy, so I take what he says more seriously than anything I might hear from the kinds of "advisors" and brokers I interact with on a daily basis. JH is, first and foremost, NOT a salesman. He truly cares about his clients.
I've saved a lot over the years, diligently working at it. It was a concept I absorbed and adopted as a credo way back in the early 1970's, when I started working full-time. Dad had always told us that if we wanted something, we would have to do it for ourselves, that nobody was going to magically appear and hand anything to us on a platter. We would have to work HARD for what we wanted. My parents did not preach, they worked their butts off (Mom worked full-time outside the home as well as Dad to support our family of eight) and showed us how to go by example. Mom took me to the local bank when I was 15 to open my very first savings and checking account. I received a "free" Miriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary for opening a savings account of $150. (I still have that precious dictionary more than 45 years later). After that, I was solely in charge of the funds I earned at a part-time job after school and on weekends during school year, and worked full-time in an office (at $1.65 an hour) during the summer from the time I was 14. (Mom and Dad got tired of running my checks through their checking account!) Of course, before that, there was baby-sitting and chore money saved up, a quarter at a time, turned over to the parents or put into a piggy bank. Every penny counted then - and now! I still pick up found coins off the street - what can I say? You know the old saying, A PENNY SAVED IS A PENNY EARNED.
Please do not under-estimate teaching your children and young loved ones the ins-and-outs of saving money from an early age on. Hopefully it will stand them in good stead in future years.
Earlier this year, as things shook out, I ended up downsizing to a smaller and less expensive house (I called it my Retirement Home), when early retirement wasn't even on my event horizon! Downsizing had always been my plan, it just happened earlier than I thought it would. As it turned out, it was a fortuitous event. The disciplined saving habits of this child of Depression-Era parents has and will continue to pay off. Thank you, Mom and Dad! I am very fortunate, and very grateful to be in this position.
Best of all, the anxiety/stress induced angina I've been suffering through for months is rapidly fading into nothingness. I fully expect to be angina-free as of 5:00 p.m. on January 30, 2015. WHOOP WHOOP!
What's the saying - one picture is worth a thousand words? What is a music video worth, then? I love DONE (Band Perry, above), because in a work context it expresses fully what I've experienced my past twelve plus years of working at the firm. Time to say GOOD BYE-EYE, OOO OOOH MY-EYE, OOMPH.
I also came across this wonderful music video from the early days. Does anyone remember the band YES? I did not remember their name, but I remembered a phrase from the song that cropped up into my memory the past few days. I went hunting for it on You Tube last night. Found it! Outside of the wonderful movie "Joe Versus the Volcano" which contains galvanic scenes of worker bees drudging toward the monolithic concrete monster building in which they slave away day in and day out, the words of this song, but most of all, the imagery, fully speaks to what I am experiencing in these, my final days of WORKING ON SOMEONE ELSE'S TIME CLOCK. I hope you enjoy it's message and meaning as much as I do:
April 6, 2019:
The income taxes are finished and were taken to the Post Office yesterday to send out via certified mail, which now costs nearly $16 for two 8 1/2 11 envelopes with return receipt. Yikes! But worth it because I have proof positive once I get the little green cards back that the returns were delivered and received. And just in case, there are tracking numbers that I can also tap the U.S. Post Office for to verify that delivery was made. In these times, it's better to be safe than sorry
I have been working in little bits and pieces outdoors whenever a window in our crappy weather has presented itself. Today, however, was the first day where I was able to spend an extended period of time outside. First, I cleaned up areas on the sidewalk and driveway along the edges where pine cones and branches tiny branches blown off during the seemingly wind storms we endured over fall and winter 2018-2019. After resting for a bit, and removing the winter hat, gloves and jacket, I moved to the back yard because I'm sick of feeling sick to my stomach every time I look at it through the patio doors in the dining room and window above the kitchen sink. This winter left it a true disaster zone. I worked steadily raking small areas and filled two trash can size black trash bags full of debris blown down from my arborvitaes and neighboring trees over the winter, in addition to about half a ton of nut shells. The nut shells are my fault because I feed all the neighborhood squirrels. They are so entertaining, and very smart! I also made a small dent in starting clean-up of the flower beds, where the "mild" (ahem) weather and thawed earth has encourages perennials to start popping through, whether I'm ready for them or not!
All in all, a somewhat decent start to making a larger dent in clean-up operations. I worked outdoors about 4 hours off and on. I didn't want to overdo it, and truth be told, I'm pooped! It's humbling to not be able to work as long or as hard as I used to. I can get it done, but I have to take lots of rest breaks so it takes quite a bit longer now. Good thing I'm retired