When I retired last fall at 52, I thought I knew exactly what retirement would be like. Many of the expectations I had did come true, but there were several surprises as well.
Today I’ll share my revelations in hopes those of you considering early retirement might be better prepared for it.
1. Mondays became the best day of the week
Monday was my archenemy for decades.
I worked as a marketing executive for 28 years, many of them in high-pressure jobs. The sinking feeling would start about 4 p.m. on Sunday – dreading the work week to come.
Then Monday would hit and it’d be the low point of my week. Each day got better than the previous one until we hit Friday. It was all great from there. Until Sunday at 4 p.m. again.
Now, Monday is my favorite day of the week. It signals the beginning of five days of peace and quiet. The gym is less busy, the stores are less busy, restaurants are less busy, everything is less busy – because people are at work. It’s quiet, and I like it.
2. My colleagues can’t accept I’m retired
There’s a whole host of reactions you get when you retire early. Most of them are quite comical because people are literally stunned. This is especially the case when you’re a C-level executive (or higher), and you retire during your most lucrative decade of earning power.
I expected people to be a bit shocked, but I didn’t foresee them constantly pushing new jobs at me like I needed to work or my life was over. Colleagues after colleagues send me new job openings all the time now. I have more recruiters than ever even connecting on LinkedIn and forwarding me job listings (some are pretty good actually!).
Even people I just meet aren’t satisfied with my retirement.
I had coffee the other day with a friend of a friend because the original friend said we should meet. The new guy spent the whole time brainstorming how he could help me find a job. Ugh. I feel like an unmarried, 30-year-old woman whose Jewish mother keeps pushing bachelors her way so she’ll get married even though she doesn’t want to be married.