RETIREMENT IS SO AWESOME
Retirement is such a wonderful thing that words cannot even begin to describe it. If you are not yet retired, let me tell you that it is way more awesome than you could possibly ever imagine!
It is hard to imagine going from 100% stress to ZERO% stress overnight, but that is what retirement did for us. I retired from being a railroad road engineer for BNSF and my wife retired from being an obstetrics RN in a hospital that had as their motto, “More with less, girls; do more with less.”
Both of our jobs were very stressful. We looked forward to retiring so much for so long, but we could have never imagined we would enjoy it this much! Retirement rocks with big rocks!
Retirement wasn’t exactly instant relief, however. We had lived in a big two story farmhouse with full basement, garage, barn, and tool shed for 30 years and they were all full of 30 years worth of stuff! I was a pack rat and kept so many things!
We had to sort, burn, give away, and sell so much to be able to escape Hellinois and be able to move to Arizona. Plus we needed to do some deferred maintenance that we had never had time to do before we retired. We also had to do some upgrades to get our old house ready to sell before we had any hope of moving (escaping) from Hellinois to Arizona.
It took us nearly a year and three (one way) 1800 mile road trips in 3 Penske trucks to move here. That first year after we retired was not much of a relief from our stressful jobs. I joked that my new boss (my wife) was a tougher boss than the old one at the railroad!
But, let me tell you, now that we are here in Arizona and all moved in, pared down, & organized in our new home, with so little maintenance (compared to a hundred year old farmhouse) life is so, so good!
Arizona truly is paradise and we almost have to pinch ourselves to make sure we are not going to wake up back in Hellinois. I have had so many recurring nightmares of being back at work on the railroad since we have been here and each time I wake up and realize it was just a nightmare, I thank God it is finally over!
We enjoy the sun and get in our pool nearly every day, April through October, and sometimes we just smile at each other and say, “This is the life!”
I ran across an article I wrote back in May 18, 2000, way before I retired, and we were still raising kids. It was called
“Stress is a Relative Thing”
“Adults think that our lives are complicated, and they are, but the computer age has complicated the lives of our youth also. Several years ago I found a note one of my kids had written down to remind himself of things he wanted to accomplish in the near future.
It read something like this:
- Build factories to increase resource output.
- Build more ships with new technology to hold off a possible Kilduthi invasion
- Expand to more worlds
- Build more fortifications to the northwest to strengthen position against the Borg
After reading that note I realized that my list of goals at least only involved my own planet. My son was concerned with invasions into and from other galaxies!
Now, granted all of this industry and warfare was in cyberspace in a game world, but nonetheless kids today have concerns that my generation didn’t have to give a single thought to.”
Kids today get bored. I was too busy to be bored for so long that I couldn’t even imagine what that would be like—back only a year ago when I was still working. I felt like a rat in one of those cages with a wheel. He runs and runs so fast that even when he stops he still spins around and around.
Life was such a rat race as an adult still busy raising children. We’d go somewhere almost every night, it seemed. Life got better once our oldest was able to drive. He could take himself and his brother and sister to and from school and that saved us many hours a month. He also enjoyed running errands, to a certain extent, and was a big help in that way as well.
Other parents talk about how scary it is to have a teen driver in the family. I counted my lucky stars when we finally had a boy old enough and responsible enough to drive. He saved us countless trips to town and back and he was a very good driver.
I couldn’t wait for him to get his license. We took him to Peoria, Illinois, (60 miles) 4 nights a week for a month for private driver’s education when he turned 15, so he could get a learner’s permit and would have a full year of practice behind the wheel with us before we turned him loose on the world. We did the same with our other two when they turned 15.
Back to being bored. It was hard for me to comprehend how kids today could be bored when they have computers, internet, video games, movies, their own phones and on and on.
My dad sure didn’t get bored when he was a kid. Grandpa had him up with the sun working on a cornsheller rig. I didn’t work full time when I was a kid, like my dad, but I had my chores to do. I can remember walking to Delong (2 miles) with a gas can so I could mow our big yard by hand.
Our kids mowed, but they had a riding mower to use. They did help around the house quite a bit, but they still got bored. I would have loved to be bored when I was still working. I’d see people sitting out on their front porches and used to think that sure must be nice.
I used to fear that we had been running so hard and so fast for so long that, like the hamster in the wheel, we would just keep on spinning even after we had stopped. Thank goodness that never happened!
We used to enjoy watching “Little House on the Prairie,”when it was on at lunchtime. Wow, what a different world Laura Ingalls Wilder lived in, not all that many years ago.
Life used to be so simple before so many modern inventions came along. Most evenings Pa and Ma and all the little ones sat around the fireplace and stayed home. I couldn’t even imagine what that would be like before we retired. I could only close my eyes and dream of a simpler time. That dream has now come true!
Since everyone got cars I guess the theory must be that we should use them to go somewhere almost every night. Now, don’t get me wrong. I love cars and computers and all the modern conveniences, but retirement has allowed us to change the mindset that says we are not doing our part if we choose to spend a quiet night at home once in a while. There used to be just too many people, groups, and causes that demanded our attention for this to occur, but if boredom is something to avoid then we should certainly be grateful for the way our society is.
Boredom is not even a remote possibility for folks who haven’t been able to retire yet. I still haven’t been bored since we retired, but if I ever am I will count it as a huge blessing!
I am thankful, however, that all of my concerns are limited to this one planet. I cannot even imagine the pressures of industry and war in other worlds like kids today have to deal with.