Friday, April 30, 2010

Retirement day one

I’ve been officially retired for one day now. The party yesterday and all the Facebook congratulations have been overwhelming.

I’ve also gotten a lot of teasing about retiring for the second time.

So, I need to set the record straight on that. Returning to Northrop Grumman 7-1/2 years ago as a full-time employee after being retired for 7-1/2 years really helped save my life. I had been working all along – sometimes from home and otherwise traveling great distances by car to do my fundraising job. The work was sporadic and all that driving was hard. Plus it didn’t give me enough social interaction to keep my mind off the suicide death of my oldest son. I needed full immersion and going back to working proposals full time provided that. I had to get up at a certain time everyday, I had to shower and dress in business attire everyday rather than lolligag is PJs, and I had the opportunity to work with lots of people. Also, the job itself left me no time to wallow in my grief. From the minute I came back on board I was consumed with the business of working on teams to produce documents that had to be delivered on time every time. And, putting myself into that pressure cooker was the best thing I could have done to enable me to withstand the sadness in my life. Even returning as a contractor wasn’t enough. I needed to have the assurance that I would have that pressure day in and day out for as long as I needed it.

When I finally decided two months ago that enough is enough – after all I’m going on 70 years old – I still had the feeling that leaving my job could be very risky. If I let myself I could easily go back to the wallowing. Even so, I decided I had to do it. I want some time for myself and with my husband. We are going to travel, and I have books and poems to write. An almost 24/7 job just doesn’t support that. Plus, how many years could I continue at that pace at my age? I’m still willing to go back as a contractor but not on a full time basis.

Now that it’s almost 11 years since my boy’s death, I think I’m strong enough to get along without the full-time job crutch. I think I know how to defend against falling back into the wallowing. And, I’m sure the diversions I’ve assigned myself will help. So, for you teasers out there, please know I certainly didn’t plan it this way. I never thought when I retired in 1995 that I’d ever hire back in. But, life is full of surprises – some good and some not so good. I’ll not get into that now. That would only bring on the wallowing.

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