Navigating The Finite, Sept. 26, 2010, Have Enough
I used a unique approach to retirement, I call it the flying condom method of retirement planning. The what? you ask. Yes the flying condom method of retirement planning. It is based on the old and not too good joke, "Hey did you hear about the flying condom?" "No." "It got pissed off."
How the FCRP method works, is that you pretend that retirement doesn't really exist. You make absolutely no plans, consider nothing, ignore the fact that the clock is ticking away and sooner or later you are going to have to make a decision. Always put that off to some fuzzy date in the future. Well why would you do that? Well let's see...first you go to elementary school, then middle school, then high school, then college, and then you get a job, then you get married, then have kids, then maybe another job...and then you retire. And then you what? Think real hard...what happens at the end of retirement? Well you get this really neat party, a beautiful box, and a ride in fancy Cadillac station wagon out to a small piece of real estate that you bought when you were 33. Yes that's right! It is the end of the road. Good bye Mr. Chips and everything else. So you see I sort of viewed retirement as the ribbon cutting ceremony on the final chapters of a story guaranteed to not end well. I would not be heading off to tour Europe or buy a vineyard. I was pretty much going to go into a state of semi-poverty and race my resources to the grave. So I had a tendency to handle this like I handle that appointment for a colonoscopy...I am going to jump on that first thing next year or may be in 5 years. Some time. And then I got pissed off. Read the post at the link above. You will see the condom being launched. "Houston, we have lift off!" Yep, that's me...zoooooommmmmm...off I go into retirement with as much thought and direction as a pissed off flying condom.
I checked the numbers...they were better than I thought. I went to a financial planner. She rigged me up with a good plan, and yes, you can do this. You have the resources. My financial planner was a God send! So then I moped around from last September until May being pissed off at work, being pissed off at being old, being pissed off at mortality, and truth be known being frightened of change. What if I don't like retirement? Will I have enough money. Am I going to be 90 and eating dog food? Other people look forward to retiring and are in a great mood in their last few months. Me? I moped around for 7 months in a pissed off, frightened, depressed swoon. Why be happy, when you can mope around and make an ass of yourself?
So April 29th came and I retired. Walked out the damn door and didn't look back. Prince William and Kate tied the knot and off we went in our own little trajectories. I wrote a post on May first:
Navigating The Finite, May 1, 2011. First Day of Retirement
In that post I describe being in mid-trajectory in my pissed off flight into retirement. Where would I impact the Earth? In the land of retirement bliss or retirement terror?
Several weeks ago my wife said something to me and it reminded me of a guy at work of whom I haven't thought of for a while. Immediately my mind thinks "Damn I need to get with him about those special gauges." A moment later this huge sigh or relief floods over me and I thought "No, I don't!" and I started to laugh. And that was the precise moment when it occurred to me what retirement is like. Imagine having an open drum of shit, and you have to carry it around 24 / 7. If you wake up in the middle of the night to take a leak, you pick up this open drum of shit and carry it into the bathroom. If you make love to your wife, that open drum of shit is next to the bed and you can still smell it. You go on vacation, you carry that open drum of shit along the beach. Yep, you are on vacation, but in the background is this constant litany of worries and things to do..."don't forget to make reservations down at Augusta, you have to order that polymer adhesive, don't forget to send the water samples off to the lab, you need fittings, you have to order a 3 1/4 inch socket, place the PO request for the test on the thingmajig, finish the rev of the test spec, oh shit you forgot that quote, hand it in on Monday late, remember to get with Ed for the test plan...do this, remember that, don't forget it is rug cutting time on the whosi-whats-it, order the PLC, call the contractors....on and on in a never ending list of demands, needs, ship dates, and quality improvements. On April 29, 2011 I set that open drum of shit down and walked away from it, and never looked back. I miss some of the people, but I don't miss that drum.
So I think I have touched down back on Earth, and I think it is in the land of retirement bliss. Do I have enough? Not sure yet. Gasoline went up about $1.00 a gallon since my post last year. I notice more money going to super market. We are not rich by any means, but we are not destitute either. I think financially we will be OK. I sleep better, I feel better, and I am not pissed off. I love retirement.
One thing I forgot to mention above, and would like to do here, is thank several people for giving me some kind words of encouragement both here on my blog and in private emails. VW Busman and the Old Baguette, you guys were a God send...you told me not to fear, that I would love retirement...and you were right.
You can read all of my retirement related posts at: