3. Retirement – To commute or not to commute

I have the good fortune of living in the country and on this bitterly cold Canadian winter morning I  look out and see  the most beautiful sight. The snow frosted trees, the pristine snow covered landscape broken only by the footprints of a deer or two, the snow topped roofs of the houses in the distance with the early morning lights twinkling in the windows, the large snowflakes drifting down !!!!!

All I can focus on is my commute to work. The wintery conditions will double my time on the road. Sadly, I’m right. It was a typical winter commute. My drive in was long and arduous but nowhere near as miserable as my drive home in the evening. I focused on taking deep breaths. I tried to consider it a Zen experience teaching me to calm my nerves. The last straw was when my good companion CBC radio got on my nerves and I had to resort to silence.

A definite “pro” for retirement – I won’t miss the daily commute. My drive to work should only take 35 minutes as it does on weekends and off-peak hours. However, rush hour traffic easily doubles or triples that time in good or bad weather. I’m glad I have a definite date for retirement in mind.

But if I retire, can I handle the lack of workplace routine? The feeling of making a difference? The special brand of camaraderie to which I have grown accustomed? Doesn’t all that compensate for the traffic troubles and the early mornings? Workplace validation is a definite “con” against retirement. After all, it isn’t every day that we have horrible weather or crazy traffic.

It’s that quandary again. I’ve grown accustomed to committing wholeheartedly to  my work and enjoy overcoming challenges and creating positive outcomes. It’s been a quantifiable give and take, effort and reward, challenge and victory. I’m trying to visualize life in retirement without this gratifying sensation.

However, I don’t want to replace my current work environment with a similar alternate. I’m told by my retired friends that volunteer work is rewarding and requires commitment and becomes pretty much ‘a job’. I want retirement to be different. I want validation for my existence but without being involved in routine commitments. I can dream, can’t I?

Is my retirement dream possible? I realize I don’t want a repeat or continuation of my past. I want my move forward to be productive but not driven. I want to slow down without stopping altogether. I want to consciously take time to smell the roses. That should be validation enough. It will be an adjustment.

Still confused but seeing some of the fog drift away.


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