Saturday, January 5, 2013

The Countdown Has Begun

My last day of regular, full-time employment will be January 31, 2013. The other day someone asked me if I had started counting down the days. Without even thinking, my response was, "I started counting them down five years ago."

That's very true. My original plan was to retire at age 55. The economy had a different path in store for me, so I ended up working seven years longer than I had planned. The result is that it's likely I will now have fewer retirement years, requiring less retirement funds than I would have needed had I left the work force at age 55.

I have no intention of being idle in retirement. Writing has been my passion since I was in grade school, whether it be a journal, freelance articles, blogs or throwaway pieces of fiction. There is something about being a career government employee that zaps the creative energy from a person. For the past 40 years, much of my writing has focused on predictable government reports and lengthy correspondence. Oh, there have been spurts of creativity when I wrote and edited brochures and newsletters, or even pieces for the agency web site. Unfortunately, my free time and life's responsibilities left very little time to focus on writing.

So - after 42 years of being gainfully employed, I will soon have a calendar and schedule with a blank slate. But it is not remaining blank for long. At last, I can devote much of my time to doing what is as essential to my existence as breathing - writing.

I've been a blogger since 2003, so I've been able to do some writing for pleasure in the past decade. Now, I owe it to myself to do something with the thoughts and ideas that have been spinning around in my head during long road trips for the job. As I've grown older, I've come to realize that I have a finite amount of time left on this planet. Now that I have the opportunity, it's my plan to turn my retirement into the writing life I've always dreamed about.

My intent for It's A Retirement Life is to share the journey - where ever it may lead. Somedays I may be whimsical; other days satirical; maybe even cynical enough to give the Maxine cartoon a run for her money (I never did know what that meant!). I don't use a lot of flowery prose; that comes from my early training in journalism. But I do hope that I can convey a story that blog readers might relate to during our shared experience of retirement living.

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copyright 2013 Susan M. Petersen

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