When I was asked if I would like to write an article on retirement for the Chapter newsletter, I thought – “why not?” I am pretty happy in my “life after legal”.
The purpose of this article is not to share financial advice on retirement planning. It goes without saying that meeting your retirement financial goals through diligent advance planning is key to a successful retirement. I would like to share with you other ideas that ensure satisfaction and joy in retirement.
Two years before I retired I started volunteering for Sanctuary for Families, a nonprofit that assists victims of domestic violence and human trafficking. While working full time, I could only devote a few hours a month to this program, but after retirement I put in more hours for the Economic Empowerment Program for clients at Sanctuary. This has been truly rewarding, providing a feeling of giving back while using some of my talents and skills in recruiting and human resources to help the clients secure permanent employment.
Also, I had worked on a local political campaign in my district neighborhood. Upon retirement, I offered my time there to a project for senior citizens (a term I prefer to replace with “seasoned citizen”). This project provides fresh vegetables and fruit from the Tri-State growers which are then sold by my team at a significant discount to seniors in the 12 senior centers in my district. It is seasonal and basically does not interfere with my project at Sanctuary.
I also volunteer with a former employer and participate in ALA programs. It has been comforting to be able to stay involved as an associate member of ALA at a discounted membership rate and to keep in touch with all my former colleagues and friends. In addition to finding your niche, whether in volunteer work, hobbies, or part time work, I highly recommend keeping your ALA membership. The same networking opportunities that were so important during your work life remain important resources after full-time work has ended.
I have always loved traveling and spent every vacation during my work life traveling somewhere domestic or international, as well as family visits during holidays. I so enjoy the opportunity to travel more often to visit with them. But the freedom to travel extensively after retirement is the best gift I could give myself. And now there is time to travel to places in the world that truly require more than the one or two weeks afforded during the work year. We recently returned from a trip to Iceland where we circled the country, enjoying all the different geologic formations and the great beauty that country offers. Next winter we plan to travel to California for a month, taking an apartment to feel like we are more like neighbors in the community than tourists.
Again, coincidentally, the family of two of our three grandsons were relocated back to New York from New Hampshire, and luckily moved only a few blocks away. We see our daughter (and grand-dog) every day and visit with the boys (now 13 and 11) as often as possible; their schedules with sports, homework, and friends permitting. Being available to babysit has been wonderful and a great benefit of retirement. We are also able to travel to most of their games and truly value the closeness of being together for many events, not possible when they lived far away. Retirement also provides many more opportunities to visit with our third grandson whose family lives in Connecticut. He is 7 years old and now spends at least two to three weeks with us during school breaks or summers. It gives such pleasure to be able to spend so much time with all of them.
SLEEPING LATE, RELAXATION, ENTERTAINMENT
I knew I would relish sleeping late, once I was retired, but I was not prepared for how quickly that got old. I started rising earlier and earlier, just to savor the day or prepare for projects. The relaxation and restful approach to the day seems to have a rejuvenating effect.
Additionally, visiting museums, plays, and other cultural events, day or night, (especially with senior discounts!) is such a great benefit in retirement. Enjoying all the free events the city has to offer is an added benefit. I recently took the ferry to Governors Island for the first time and hiked around to the newly-opened section called The Hills. The concerts, playgrounds and events there look enticing, but more-so just spending the day there. The ferry to and from is free and fun and would never have occurred to me while working. Play dates with friends is now so relaxing and easy to plan, with more time available. I especially value this time with recently retired friends.
If I sound like there are no down sides to retirement, I guess you’d be right. This is the best time of my life and I highly recommend it. When the time is right, I wish this on all of you!
Constance Cosner can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.