By Mary Nicotera
In March of 2018, I was breezing through my last days of work after a banking career that spanned my entire adult life. Through thoughtful and disciplined financial planning, I was fortunate to retire at the wee young age of 62.
As I reflect on the last two years, I have no regrets. Zero. Some of my friends and colleagues have since joined me in retirement, and they, too, have no second thoughts. We are all enjoying this new phase of our lives.
There are a lot of little things that change once you retire. For instance, since I’m home much more often, I need to buy more paper goods. Paper towels. Kleenex. Computer paper. And, yes, toilet tissue.
My grocery bills are much higher because I’m eating more meals at home. I also make little trips to the grocers throughout the week now, something I rarely did while working. Rest assured, these grocer trips are not to add excitement to my life.
I generate more garbage. More paper and more groceries equal more trash and recyclables. I swear I’m taking out garbage every day.
Daily postal mail and package deliveries do shake things up on my quieter days. That’s not to say I’m bored. I still cherish my do-nothing days and need that time to rest my brain and recharge. And perhaps grab a little catnap.
That’s because I’m busy, busy. What “they” say is very true. The calendar fills up quickly with lunch and dinner dates, activities, doctor and other appointments. I literally have to schedule in my housework, gym and precious me time.
I often have to stop and think about what day of the week it is. Monday through Friday no longer matters much and I don’t have to squeeze everything into a two-day weekend anymore. I’m also more open to attend events on weekday evenings, formerly avoided like the plague.
That said, I still have friends and other loved ones who work, and that means I have to schedule thoughtfully and with consideration. I therefore look forward to the day when they join me in retirement and make my life easier. Wink, wink.
On snowy days, I hunker in my jammies and shrug as I passively watch the working world navigate the storm. Oddly enough, my morning coffee tastes especially delicious on those days.
My favorite retailers have noticed that my clothes and accessory purchases have decreased. They keep sending me texts and offers, wondering where I’ve been and trying to entice me to come back from the abyss.
Trust me, I’m still fashion-conscious and refresh my wardrobe with several new items every season. But I need much less than I did when I was working. When Macy’s unceremoniously demoted me from Platinum to Gold status, I first took offense but eventually surmised it’s just another consequence of being on a fixed income.
Speaking of income, I’ve had to adjust to the realization that I’m no longer in a saving mode. It’s all about spending now. Social security and pension deposit days generate spurts of jubilance. Where ever should I go for dinner? I wonder what’s on sale at Chico’s?
I’m looking forward to my next big milestone, which is to qualify for Medicare in November. This should cut my outrageously expensive medical insurance in half and thus make me deliriously happy.
These piddly things aside, I’ve also learned something very important. The possibilities are endless and life-changing if you allow yourself to open up your heart and mind to new and quite unexpected delights. Even in retirement. #noregrets.
Mary Nicotera lives in Williamsville and does regret not stockpiling paper goods before retiring.