Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Routine in Retirement

While it is true that I am doing some dabbling in consulting, effectively I am not working right now. Rather than say that I am unemployed, I explained to the kids that this is my first retirement.  Why retirement?  It's not like I was laid off or fired.  I chose to leave my job and my home to move somewhere where I can provide support to Dan as he has a chance to help change the world.

It's actually not too different from the situation in Redondo Beach except for the fact that I don't have a job to attend each day.  Since September, I had been working about 30-34 hours per week.  Prior to that, I was booking 24-30 hours per week.  I dropped the kids off at school and picked them up every day.  I could easily take time off if they were sick and stay home.  Dan and I split the household chores of shopping, cooking, cleaning, and child maintenance based on what we were good at.

Retirement is a choice to stop working.  So here I am in my First Retirement.  I've been reading some material on how to make this kind of transition.  The first book that I picked up was Tess Vigeland's "Leap."

For me, it was interesting to read about defining your identity, but not basing it on what you do for a living.  The first question anyone asks when you meet them is, "What do you do?"  While you can't prevent other people from asking that, you can ask people you meet different questions.  Tess suggests "What's your favorite thing to do in this city?" "What kind of travel do you enjoy?  When's the last time you did that and where did you go?" "What's your favorite part of the weekend?"  I tried this at a data analysis conference that I attended.  Since I knew that pretty much everyone there was an auditor anyway, finding out what someone does wasn't too hard or original.  So I asked one of the attendees who was from Sacramento what she liked to do for fun there.  This led to us commiserating about how our husbands spend lots of time cycling and acquiring cycling gear.

Tess' book brought a blog by a guy named Carl Seidman into my consciousness.  He may have coined the phrase "The First Retirement."   His blog is based on the idea that you don't need to work excessively, accumulate massive amounts of savings, then retire at 65 to do whatever you have planned for your entire life.  Perhaps there is a way to take a few small retirements over the course of your lifetime.  You don't have to kill yourself working, you don't have to stress out about how to spend those 2 weeks per year that you vacation.  Make the whole of your life enriching instead of looking forward to someday when you can stop working and relax.  

So where does that leave me?  Still in a state of not working.  But still wanting to accomplish something in the next two years.  As I start out, I have found myself during the last two weeks simply running around trying to set up our apartment and make it livable.  But, as things settle down, I'm working to establish a routine.  I work best with one, much like my 9-year-old son, Will.  Unlike Will, my productivity is fueled by coffee.

American Coffee clearly labeled as such
and then there's the Toast (French Toast?)

Here is the best I can come up with for now:


8:30 - Take the kids to school and drive back home
  • Study French
  • Write, Blog, Email - Computer time along with breakfast
  • Consulting work check-in, Plan for the week on Monday, progress on tasks the rest of the week
  • Household organization and cleaning
11:30 - Lunch
  • Read Something (blog, educational, book)
  • Address To Do List
  • Shopping - Household or Groceries
4:30 - Pick the kids up from school and return them to home
  • Consulting work check-in with people in the US who are now awake
  • Kids' Homework (French, English Spelling, Programming, Writing/Blogging)
  • Household organization and cleaning (kids' chore time too)

6:00 - All of the evening activities (dinner, kids' baths, bedtime, dishes, laundry)


As part of my efforts to stay organized and not forget anything, I have acquired one whiteboard.  My vision is to acquire multiple whiteboards and create a mosaic on the wall of our office/bike/sports/laundry drying room.  

We may not have furniture, but I have a whiteboard

The working schedule above should help me to get to the next phase.  What is the next phase?  Long term goals.  There is just so much set-up to do still.  I anticipate more trips to IKEA, the kids really need warmer coats, and the house will not be functional until we have an easy to use charging station to keep track of all of the miscellaneous electronics that are everywhere!  And a couch, a couch would be nice too.


1 comment:

Carl said...

Angela, I'm pleased to have come across your blog. It very much seems like it's part of American culture to define ourselves by our jobs. It can be very challenging to redefine identity outside of work but it's far from impossible. If you haven't already listened, I explained my thoughts about how to redefine identity and success in one of my interviews with Tess ( I wish you the best on your journey.