On Retirement

Two weeks ago today, on July 3, 2007, I entered semiretirement. I say "semi" because, while I no longer work as a software engineer for an electronic hardware manufacturer, and while I am part of the retirees' insurance plan pool, I am not yet taking my pension.

I am 56, retired with twenty years of experience (officially; I had worked for the place off and on since 1985). Why did I leave before my full retirement age? Schedule pressure that increased along with my salary; personnel cutbacks, outsourcing, and a general hardening of corporate personnel policy; and, most of all, a growing feeling that I had done this kind of work for long enough. I was still healthy, despite some aches and pains; I still had most of my mental faculties; now was the time to establish a sustainable way of retirement life.

What has happened so far? Since I haven't had a vacation longer than two weeks since 1980, I am now taking time off. True, working on ten years of backed-up household chores is hardly a trip to Cancun, but there are compensations, like being able to sleep late. I'm starting to think more seriously about things I never had the time to do, like going to midweek seminars at the local universities. Come fall, I will be moving on from software to freelance technical writing, work I am eminently qualified for and interested in.

I haven't thought much about the job I left, other than to remind myself to stay in touch with the people there I care about.

To tell the truth, I left a long time ago.