Thoughts on Retirement (from a Retiree)


Thoughts on Retirement (from a Retiree)

Dave Pelletier


As an athletic individual, communicating to other athletic individuals, this will hopefully come as a mentor template of sorts.

Retirement by definition is the action of leaving one’s job and ceasing to work.” It sounds so straightforward in theory, but in application it can be rather circuitous. Because what one does with that retirement is highly individualized, the opposite from the work place with job assignments with established procedures and priorities. The definition and societal view is retirement is a time to rest after your employment. Possibly yes, possibly no. Here comes that free will time aspect again.

I was fortunate to retire early at 61. But what led to the early retirement? I was a home health PT. Many, oh so many, of my patients said a big regret of theirs was not retiring earlier. They retired too late, their health was in decline, they could not “enjoy” being retired. To many,  retirement’s biggest issue was what tv show to watch and what volume to have it on. The earlier retirement wish they alluded to stuck with me.

A nurse friend my same age retired early at 60 and loved it. He retired early because his best friend retired and 2 years later died of cancer. Sadly my friend was one day an avid hiker, and the next day was diagnosed with an advanced stage of MS. Came out of nowhere, complete surprise.

Myself, I saw a full patient caseload one day. Later in night shooting pains I attributed to having to transfer a 270 pound stroke patient. But pains got worse and extreme. By morning after doing the typical dumb male “gut it out” mode I decided on an ambulance vs going to the ER. That saved my life. The surgeon told me it had been a gangrenous gallbladder, worst she had seen in 25 years of surgery, and I was at the most one hour away from sepsis death. Not a way to be an overachiever…

Epiphany life change for an athletic individual? A resounding yes. I contacted my financial planner, got the specifics, and retired earlier than planned.

Now one would think it would be  easy to pursue everything I could not when working. True but not so concrete a path. One of the biggest hurdles was having so much time I did not have before. Previous because of the work time constraints I was highly disciplined. Set workout time before work and trained. However the expression time flies, hit like a peregrine falcon. Initially I had numerous time but abused that gift from a self care perspective. Lofty list of training goals left unaccomplished.

Then I used the approach as back in my  university days with classes.  Specific days, times, activities to do. That regimentation brought back my vaunted discipline I let slide. It holds me accountable.

The training activities will differ with each person. However having seen one’s own mortality is like the trite assertion it truly changes you. So my training is more self care oriented and spaced out individualized sessions specific to self care vs trying to lump it all into one workout.

A session on balance, coordination, strength, mobility, individual martial arts components, cardiovascular, etc. Hiking not for fitness, but meditative including middle of the night in the woods,  (a grandly different perspective).

Retirement and self care can go together but you will realize it is not as easy as it first appears. The greatest gift, time, only moves in one direction, forward. And it is how you use that time as you wish. I learned quickly it does not go as planned , time can be Murphy’s Law personified. My workouts switched more from just training to self care health training.

Use your time gift wisely.

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