Write Team: Retirement, I would advise doing it

Those who know I am retired, and they are still working, often ask me how I like retirement. My usual answer is that I would advise retirement, or it has been all that I was told it would be.

As a person who was devoted to my profession, and at time a bit of a workaholic if there was something I felt I needed to do; I wasn’t sure that I would enjoy retirement.

It took me only a short time to appreciate the joy of just relaxing and leaving most of the stress behind. Retirement does require a change of mindset for most people from a “get things done” focus to a relax and “enjoy the moment” focus.

I retired at the age of 60, thanks to our retirement system (Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund), which has a history of investing wisely and a locally-funded program. I was still under their older system, where I could have retired at 55 since I had worked so many years under IMRF, but I opted to wait until 60, when I was rewarded for waiting with a higher pension monthly amount. Those who started working under the program in years later than me don’t have the same option.

So, what is so great about retirement besides not having to work, when you don’t get paid as much money? For me, more time with my wife, who retired six years before me is the first answer. The next would have to be afternoon naps. Although I don’t take one every day, the possibility of simply lying down when I hit that afternoon low point, instead of having to fight through it and stay awake is fantastic. I don’t have to feel bad about napping either.

Another definite high point is simply looking in the back yard, watching the birds come to our feeder with their funny antics, or watching the squirrels (often acrobatically) come to a separate feeding station that I set up for them. Yes, for the most part I have trained my little buddies not to go after the bird feeder.

Then in late afternoon, I can sit on our couch and watch the birds accumulate on the fence outside our kitchen window. I’m not sure if we are just watching them, or if they are also watching us. That fence also serves as a walkway for the squirrels to race along on their way to our backyard, if they choose not to use our roof and tree in back near the roof for their path.

Of course, don’t let me lead you to believe that retirement is all peace, quiet, and enjoying nature. Although I retired from the working world, I haven’t retired from the entire world. Helping others on occasion has become my job, but not necessarily 40 hours a week or even on five consecutive days.

The truth is that for the most part, if you have managed to save enough money during your working years, you can decide what you will do, and you can turn down doing some less desirable things.