Having taken early retirement at the age of 55 in July of last year, I have a new lease of life and find the time to enjoy life and have a new found curiosity for many things – learning or trying something new every day – be it a new beauty or household product to a new website or YouTube page.
After years of working crippling shifts including nights and day shifts in the same week, I now feel rested, have less aches and pains and more energy. It is the best thing I could ever have done – and I know I am in a privileged position to be able to do this. Thanks to the NHS Pension scheme. I would never have saved and provided for my future myself.
My head is a jumble of random, excited new thoughts and experiences. I will endeavour to organise my thoughts and write about my experiences in retirement.
The above words were for my very first post on this blog, it was short and sweet. I’ve now decided to revisit it and expand on how I feel a year further on in retirement.
Time has flown and there are never enough hours in the day. I know I can hear the groans of you are still working full time and juggling childcare. But it’s true! I remember hearing many newly retired person say the same thing and I was cynical. But here I am confirming that statement.My husband has frequently asks ‘How did you find time to go to work?’
I fill my time in many ways, reading other blogs, thinking about this one, but yes I know, not enough posting! Indulging in my hobby of entering competitions, I meet friends for lunch and coffee, now attend other retirement do’s as more and more of my friends and colleagues also hop off the hamster wheel, and sadly to say attending funerals of colleagues and colleagues partners.
However, my favourite ways to pass the time is just by being at home, pottering about doing ordinary household tasks and spending quality time with family. In my career as a nurse I have mostly worked unsocial hours and the aforesaid crippling shifts. Most of my time was spent working when everyone else was out socialising or in bed. My husband got used to continually having to apologise for my absence at gatherings and parties held by friends and family. These are things that I think many people take for granted. Here are just are a few of my thoughts on these ordinary subjects.
I was permanently exhausted after a week of ever-changing shifts. In my last role I would regularly work day and night shifts in the same week. I used to feel like I was permanently suffering from jet lag. Unless anyone has worked night shifts I don’t think they appreciate the damage it does to your body. By the time you get to bed at the end of your first night shift you will have been up over 24 hours. Most of us would plan to lie in bed the day of the first shift but my body would say otherwise and I would wake as normal. I again would try to sleep again in the afternoon but my body would not sleep. Shifts were long often 13 hours without a break, and driving home was a challenge, the last thing I’d want to do was vacuum, or dust before sleep. I was lucky that my husband could see how I was struggling to get to the finish line – my 55th birthday and took on nearly all the household jobs until that day came.
This used to be a chore that I did not relish – just something to be done in as quick as time as possible. I used to wish I had that show home that others seem to have. Now I can’t say I have a show home but it is closer to that vision than it was when I worked.
I take joy now in all my jobs, I even wipe down my skirting boards and clean the microwave regularly! I can honestly say that I love my home and enjoy being a housewife and homemaker. I had a successful career, studied hard even managed to gain a Masters degree by the skin of my teeth and climbed to a senior level in a high paid role. However, once I got there I decided it was ‘tough at the top’ and not what I hoped it to be and yearned for a more simple life. I’ve got the simple life now and I love it!
Quality time with family
Due to shifts and unsocial working patterns I missed a lot of time with my own family. When I was getting close to retirement and re-evaluating my life I looked round and realised that all my senior relatives had passed on. I had spent so little time with people who had such an impact in my childhood years, that made me sad.
John and I are happily childless. However I have nephews and nieces who I spent as much time as possible with when they were growing up. I like to think I’m a friend as well as an auntie to them. They now have their own children. My brother and Sister in law look after their grandchildren a couple of times a week. I help with their care too now I have the free time. I treasure this time with my family it’s so precious.
My husband has 6 nephews and nieces, again with their own children now. Sadly my husband’s older brother, Jim, passed a way this year after a long battle with cancer. We all spent a lot of time together during his illness and subsequently. Johns sister held a girls night to raise money for Macmillan in his memory. Many of the girls there, nieces or nephews partners were intrigued about me after they met me. I was asked where had I been all this time. They hadn’t really realised I existed as I was never around due to work! Anyway by the power of early retirement I have now reconnected with all my family and loving it.
How do you feel about housework – a chore or a joy?
If you work shifts what do you feel you miss out on the most?
I’d love to hear from you – please comment or email me
Thanks for popping by