4,.. 3,.. 2,.. 1!

lift off!A few hours ago I walked out of work for the last time. (Actually, it’s likely I’ll visit again, which of course involves both walking in and out, but that will be as retiree come back to visit. (Or possibly a consultant come back to save their ass, but that seems somewhat unlikely on several counts.)) Yet in the poetic sense, it was the last time.

It wasn’t quite as weird as one might think. I’ve been leaving in my head and heart for a while. Today was more like a wheel that’s been slowing down finally coming to a stop. A final turn. Answering one last email, and then out the door.

Today marked the end of an era.


Finally! The off-ramp!

I’ve been earning a paycheck pretty consistently since 1972 (just over forty years of paychecks and work duties).

I’ve written about my first job at the drive-in dairy.  It’s really something to look back over all the years since.

What’s the old saying about how, “Life is what happens while you’re making plans.”

When you’re the sort of person who doesn’t make plans, then life really happens!

I never had much of a vision about what I wanted to grow up to be. Apparently the answer was: a computer programmer. In some ways, if you’ve known me all my life, that wasn’t surprising.

[Back in grade school, riding the school bus, I was using a weight suspended from a string to show a classmate how the acceleration of the bus is revealed by the movement of the weight. She said to me, “You have to be a famous scientist when you grow up so I can say I knew you!” But that science ship sailed without me once I discovered theatre and the arts and found my artistic soul.]

A co-worker who was instrumental to the success (let’s call it that) of this project was commiserating about the let down you feel upon completing a big project.

Nine months on this one; we basically made a baby! And there is almost a sense of “postpartum depression” once you “deliver” the goods.

Two days to go, and my password expires in 10. Oh what to do, what to do!

Two days to go, and my password expires in 10. Oh what to do, what to do!

And we did put this into production with a day to spare (oh, we had oodles of time; I wonder why we were so concerned).

There are still some rough edges to be smoothed down, and there really needs to be a version 2… but none of that is my responsibility anymore.

It’s a little hard letting go!

There has been forty years of responsibilities.

Forty years of projects and tasks and deadlines and time demands and questions… endless questions.

The last thirty-three years at The Company have been even more filled with those projects, deadlines, demands and questions. Thirty-three years of being responsible, of being “the one” that got the job done.

And now, after so long, I answer to no one.

No more deadlines.

No more projects.

No more being responsible for keeping the system running.

no questions

No questions!…

No More Questions!

That last point alone sounds like heaven.

There have been days when I got none of my own work done, because I was fielding questions (emails) from people all day long.

A key reason I kept my hours on “west coast time” from 9:00 (-ish… usually later) to 6:00 (-ish… usually later) was that the time after 4:00 (yes, -ish) was the time I could focus on my shit after dealing with everyone else’s shit all day.

Sometimes working at home was the only way to get a real day’s work done.

A question I’ve heard quite a lot this week is, “So what are you going to do next?”

(Next time I retire, I’m going to print up cards I can hand out. Talk about being sick of questions!)


…’cause I’m trying to sleep!

Well, I’m going to sleep for a week.

And then?

And then I’m going to do whatever the fuck I feel like for the rest of my life!

Not being a planner, I don’t know what that will be.

Ask me afterwards; then I’ll know.

But being someone with a lot of hobbies and interests, I know I won’t be bored!

In fact, the idea of having all that time to myself sounds glorious. No longer will spending a day reading blogs (rather than writing my own) steal precious time from my weekend or vacation days. No longer will I need to juggle or manage my free time.

I’ve waited for this day for a long time. Any worker does.

It’s kind of nice that it’s here while I’m still young enough to enjoy it.

For example, I can drive to Chicago and see the Cubs play any time I want!

For example, I can drive to Chicago and see the Cubs play any time I want!

The co-worker I mentioned pulled together a nice Happy Hour Retirement Celebration for me last Wednesday (she’s a real sweetheart — I’m really going to miss working with her — her help was invaluable, and we had a lot of fun working together).

At that party, my favorite ex-boss mentioned a saying about retirement:

“There’s Go-Go, then Slo-Go and finally No-Go. The object is to retire while you still have some Go-Go.”

Good advice.  I’m taking it!

This marks the end of The Take Three Cycle of blogs (see my Index page if you have no idea what that means).

I haven’t decided what to call the next Cycle, yet. The Retirement Cycle perhaps? (Nah, too boring. Need something better.)

There have been months of half-assed blog posts while I’ve tried to keep my hand in a bit. Now, we shall see what comes next.

A new day begins!

A new day begins!

The New Cycle begins.

I plan to start by picking up some dropped threads from earlier.

And then I have stacks and stacks of notes!

(I get a new idea for a post almost daily, which is where all those stacks of notes come from. In such a complex, rich world, there is so much to write about! And now, my time being all mine, I can!)

Stay tuned, my friends!

About Wyrd Smythe

The canonical fool on the hill watching the sunset and the rotation of the planet and thinking what he imagines are large thoughts. View all posts by Wyrd Smythe

24 responses to “4,.. 3,.. 2,.. 1!

  • Michelle at The Green Study

    Congratulations! Looking forward to seeing what you come up with, now that you’ll have free time. Enjoy!

    • Wyrd Smythe

      Thanks!! It’s quite a thing to contemplate… how long has it been since I owned all my time? Between work and school before that, it surely must be back in infant-hood. [It’s so bizarre how I keep realizing that this isn’t a Friday beginning of the weekend. This is Friday beginning of forever! I keep bursting out laughing. Wow!]

      Let’s see… The last four months of 1979 I was unemployed (by choice) and out of school. I took the job at The Company in January of 1980.

      So that four-month stretch end of ’79 and then pre-Kindergarten. (Well, I guess if the four months counts, then so do all the school summer vacations. Still, owning all my own time for the foreseeable future… what a concept!)

  • Lady from Manila

    It’s nice to know you’ll be getting some needed sleep. You almost gave me the idea you don’t do that much anymore :-). Being picky with your activities now – the ones that you think are worth your time and will give you pleasure – is essential. In case you miss the working life again, someone as smart as you (surely) won’t have any trouble snagging another good job.
    Congratulations, WS.

    • Wyrd Smythe

      Thank you!! It still feels like the weekend after having put a week’s work. Hasn’t quite sunk in that this “weekend” … lasts forever! It’s a hell of a thing to contemplate. (And that is the hope… that if need be I’ll be able to find other work. (Although the real hope is that I’ll never need to!))

  • AES-Garcia

    Congrats! You did it! You survived and now u are freeeeee! Lucky duck!

  • dianasschwenk

    Congratulations Smitty! Deep breath in and exhale slowly… enjoy doing whatever the fuck you want!

    • Wyrd Smythe

      Thanks, Lady Di! Many deep breaths (and many enjoyments)!! It’s still hard to wrap my mind around the whole “whatever the fuck I want” thing… it’s kinda awesome. (On the flip side, for many months I’ve been putting things off ‘until I retire and have all that time.’ So now there’s a large TODO list, which seems a little counterproductive to the whole point behind retirement… :lol:)

      • dianasschwenk

        I think you need a couple of weeks to just be…to do list be damned!

        Take a walk around the neighbourhood
        Check in with a friend or relative
        Write a letter
        Treat yourself to your favourite food and wine/beer
        plan a 3-4 day trip (get away)

        Have a wonderful weekend!

      • Wyrd Smythe

        Oh, mos’ def! That’s the whole “sleep for a week” thing. The walking thing is definitely on the list; I need to get back in better shape and get outside more. Not super close to my friends, and I don’t like my relatives, so that one’s out. Letter writing?!?! What is this, 1870? 😆

        I always treat myself to my favorite food and beer (a joy of being single), although I do have a special bottle I’ve been saving. That’ll get opened tonight.

        And I’m definitely thinking of a few road trips to baseball parks in driving distance (Wrigley Field!!). In fact,… shouldn’t those mountain passes be open by now? 🙂

      • dianasschwenk

        Ahh sounds great – enjoy!

      • Wyrd Smythe

        You can bet yer bippy I will!!

      • Wyrd Smythe

        Come to think of it, on the way home Friday, I did pick up some foods that are not just among my favorite, but are usually “off the list” for being just a bit too good, if you know what I mean. (Or in some cases, because they don’t love me as much as I love them… Häagen-Daz and lactose intolerance isn’t an ideal combination. (Well,… eating it is great…))

        But toasted bagels with hard salami and onion/chive cream cheese is an indulgence I can’t afford (to eat) regularly. And I love cake and donuts way too much to ever allow them to be a regular shopping item. But on the way home Friday, picked up both of these. I clearly have invisible mice. Those donut holes disappeared way too fast for me to have eaten all of them….

      • dianasschwenk

        Haha as long as you enjoyed it!

      • Wyrd Smythe

        Picked up some pastrami and good rye bread the other day for some Retirement Pastrami Sandwiches (I love pastrami, but it’s another indulgence I rarely allow myself). Mmmmmm… pastrami with good brown mustard and melted Swiss on toasted rye!!

  • heysugarsugar

    Aww my friend I thought of you last night and smiled, knowing the day you have longed for had arrived. Now go sleep for a week and then go and do all the wonderful fabulous things you want to do. Much love, Ceri. Xx

  • bronxboy55

    Let’s see. Still relatively young, extremely intelligent, a head filled with facts and ideas, a love of theater and the arts, excellent writer. I don’t know. Seems like a dead-end to me.

  • Snoring Dog Studio

    Congrats! What a feeling. Now leave it behind and move forward. There is much to do!

    • Wyrd Smythe

      Oh, thanks, you reminded me that I wanted to log into my email one last time! 🙂

      Over 60 messages! I deleted them all!!

      I’ve been letting go (hard as that can be) for a while, so I’m finding it fairly easy to put behind me. I actually watched the main buildings in my rear view mirror as I drove away. No regrets. Not one.

  • Christine Sotnak Smith

    Congratulations on your new life of leisure! I know you will be happy and free! ❤

    • Wyrd Smythe

      I’m still trying to wrap my head around it. The July 4th thing has made this week easy to think of as a vacation of sorts. Next week things should start seeming real, maybe.

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