Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Decision #3 - Retirement

Decision #1 was whether to continue taking these estrogen killing drugs that are lowing my chances of cancer recurrence but eating away my bones at a frightening rate and making my joints feel like I’m 70.  In a compromise, I have decided to keep taking them until my next bone density scan in the summer.   If there is another dramatic bone loss, I will stop them.

Decision #2 was whether to have breast reconstruction.  After a few months of info gathering and weighing the pros and cons, I decided to do it and am starting that surgery tomorrow.   As most of my long time readers know, I have had some major problems with anesthesia, so I am a little anxious now.  But by this time tomorrow I hope to be through the worst of it and on my way to feeling physically whole again.

Decision #3 is a much more fun decision.  I am of retirement age (which astounds no one as much as me) and although I have worked in a couple of places, I have always been covered by the same government pension plan, so my benefits are really good.  In fact, I think when it comes down to it, I think I will make only slightly less retired than I do going to work.  And my health benefits are paid for life.  So this is not a financial decision.   

My issue is more that I am such an introvert and I’m worried about becoming socially isolated.  I have worked with the same group of people for 25 years, we have grown up together, watched each other’s children grow up, and they have become my family.  I love going to work every day to see them.  And I have a very public position.  I have to interact with the public all day long - people coming to ask me questions, working with community leaders, running meetings, etc.  That has not always been easy for me, but I do it, and I am grateful for it.  I have met some great people and feel that I am part of something bigger than myself, working to build a better community.

And so the big part of my decision is more about walking away from the thing that keeps me most active and involved with people.   I thought that I would have a plan for my next chapter by now.  But I don't.   I just keep thinking that for as much as I love my job, there are other things I could love as well, if I had the time to pursue them.   Dealing with cancer set me back a couple of years but it also made fully living each day a priority.   I don't think I am reaching my full potential anymore where I am. If I am truthful, I don’t have the same for passion for my work I once did.  

So that is where my head is these days.  I have one foot still invested with my job and one foot wanting to pursue something else, yet unknown.   I don’t have a plan.  Martha does not want to retire yet so our long term plan of getting a winter place in the south will have to wait, as will most travel.   I already do a lot of volunteer work so I am thinking it needs to be something more than that . . .

Right now I am somewhere in between wanting to retire and fear that I’ll become a hermit woman living with 37 cats.   

As soon as I posted the first two decisions, answers came.  Maybe this post will work that same magic.  So feel free to give advice or opinions.  I am open to anything.


  1. I love that you phrase this as knowing there are other things you can love as much as you have loved your profession. I think that someone as active as you, and as committed as you are, will have no difficulty finding productive ways to spend your time. Once the time is available, people, places and things will come to fill it.

    I will be praying for an successful surgery and easy recovery for you tomorrow. Please do let us know how it goes.

  2. Is there something wrong with living with 37 cats?

    If I had the opportunity, I would retire in a heartbeat and travel. But it's not in the cards for me yet. First world problems, huh?

    Best of luck tomorrow!

  3. Well, as someone who is fast heading toward the hermit part, if nothing else ...

    Okay, I think I would try and go part time, if there was a way to do that financially. At least for a few months. That way, I could see what I thought.

    Otherwise, if I were going to be social, I'd look in to things I was interested in on MeetUp. To get over my 1/2 introvert, 1/2 extrovert personality after a bad break up (a long time ago, but still), I started joining things and I had the best time of my life. Once I'm settled somewhere and I can talk myself in to it, I will do that again.

    Finally, I think I would sit down and take some time to really think about how I'd want to spend time. Since you'll be off (I'm assuming) for a little bit after tomorrow, the timing seems good, yeah?

    I will spend a good portion of my time tomorrow doing my equivalent of prayer/sending good vibes/meditating for your health and a nice easy surgery tomorrow and an easy recovery.

  4. I have no advice on your retirement planning but feel that when it is right, you will know.

    Mostly I wanted to wish you luck and a speedy recovery on your surgery. I will be sending positive vibes that you get through the drugs without all the issues. Fingers crossed.

  5. Retire! Go! Do fun stuff! Do serious stuff! Lay around and read! Take long walks with the dog! Make new friends and keep the old! Retire!!!!

    Sending you all the safe and healing energy that I can. I know you will come through this just fine. Counting on it.


  6. Update on 8thday"s surgery - her recovery period was very hard but the surgery itself went well. She is now home, in moderate pain, but has fallen asleep and is resting comfortably. I'm sure she will update everyone here when she is able.

    As one of her closest real life friends, I can't thank you enough for all the support you have been to her. It means the world to her and she appreciates it more than you will ever know.

  7. I'm pleased to read the surgery went well and that you are resting comfortably. (Thank you ren for the update).

    As for to retire / not to retire -- I like the ebbing idea. Decrease hours and responsibilities as is sensible to do. Use the time not working sinking your fingers into the things you are already doing, volunteer wise.

    And yes, 37 cats is too many. 36 however perfectly fine. :-)

  8. Glad the surgery went well. Blessings to you as you heal and rejoin your life. As to retirement….If I could, I would retire now, but I am one of those who will never retire (can’t financially). Finding things to do is not a problem if you enjoy volunteering. I always have 2 or 3 different gigs going on even as I work full time. Your heart will give you the answers you seek. Much love.

  9. ren - Thank you for the update! I've been antsy not knowing.

  10. Wow--You've been up to a lot while I have been traveling. And am amazed what you are considering. The outcome of the surgery looks good--you are so open it surprises and amazes me. Really you have educated any of us who didn't know and I am due for a mammogram again in March...may we all be as brave.