First 4 weeks of “retirement”

My last day of work was Monday, April 2nd.  Today, Friday April 27th, marks nearly 4 weeks of joblessness.  So how does it feel?  Mostly the same, and also a little different.

Vacation or Retirement?

Monday I went to work.  Tuesday we packed.  Wednesday (April 4th) Sarah, the kids and I hopped on a plane to visit friends and family on the east coast.  We were there for 3 weeks, hopping from guest-room to guest-room.  Three days ago we arrived back at home in Portland.

The truth is, I haven’t had enough down-time to really get a feel for how post-job life feels.  While we were on the east coast, it just felt like I was on vacation.  It was hard to believe that I wouldn’t be going back to work when I got home.

Reality Setting in

Normally when planning vacations around work and using paid-time-off I wouldn’t want to waste PTO days so I would schedule to be back at work the day after returning from vacation.  I’m not sure there’s a worse feeling than getting home exhausted from a vacation, setting your packed luggage aside, and falling asleep knowing that you need to be at work bright and early and probably won’t have time to unpack until next weekend.

The minute I arrived home from this vacation my brain started understanding that I really didn’t need to go back to work.  Although it was midnight based on the timezone that my body was still operating in, it was only dusk in Portland and the 80 degree heat felt amazing after coming from the side of the country that still had snow.  I went for a walk and just felt great.

Watching the commuters

We woke up before 5am the next morning, due to the inability for little people to adjust to timezone changes.  I was outside in the driveway early working on the camper when I started to notice the bike commuters cruising by.  I suddenly realized that I hadn’t even known it was a weekday.  Watching the morning commute as an observer, rather than a participant, really drove the message home– this was real.

Keeping busy

For the time being I have a long list of projects to keep me busy– working on the van and the camping trailer to prepare for our next trip.  Since we’re taking off on that trip in a week or so, I’m on a schedule.  Working on projects with deadlines is pretty much a job (although an unpaid one!)  I’m curious to find out if, having more free time, I’ll allow myself to relax more and slow down on projects.  I know that productivity is a necessary element for me to be happy, but, as part of this experiment, I’d like to determine my optimal balance of productivity, relaxation, and socialization.

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