Hey, this semi-retirement gig is feeling good so far. Not that I didn't expect it to, of course. Several interesting things have happened. Again, not unexpected, but still interesting.
First, the sense of freedom I have felt. Not that I felt "unfree" working. No, not at all. But there is always a sense of being on someone else's clock. Which is natural. But the sense of making choices based on what one wants to do or needs to do at any given moment is a nice change. Even in the old days when, as a pastor, my schedule was quite flexible most of the time. But there was always the knowledge that certain things like sermons, confirmation class, visits to the sick, board meetings had to get done on time. There was a pattern that I set, sort of, but that was answerable to others. Not a bad thing, but the sense of a schedule built on more freedom with no one really to answer to for the time is different. As a retired friend wrote me: Now it's your own 18-hour work day.
Second, getting into flow. I am looking on like a "job" and not vacation, although that is only intellectual so far. It does feel kind of more like vacation, but I have been trying to maintain a daily flow that includes getting up before the alarm, working out daily, having a list or schedule. Overall allowing it to happen on a more natural flow.
Third, I feel less hurried. I am not working toward the end of the day knowing that I have to get to bed so I get up at an early hour, or whatever. The sense of time is more flow, as I said, than clock-based.
And fourth, there is that odd sense of loss and mortality. Retirement does mean the end of career. It also means the simple fact of getting older. But so far, at least, I don't feel useless and put out to pasture.
Sidenote: Looked up the etymology of "retire" on the Online Etymology Dictionary. It looks like it comes from
Middle French retirer "to withdraw (something)," from re- "back" (see re-) + Old French tirer "to draw" (see tirade). Related: Retired; retiring.
Meaning "to withdraw" to some place, especially for the sake of privacy, is recorded from 1530s; sense of "leave an occupation" first attested 1640s (implied in retirement). Meaning "to leave company and go to bed" is from 1660s. Transitive sense is from 1540s, originally "withdraw, lead back" (troops, etc.); meaning "to remove from active service" is from 1680s. Baseball sense of "to put out" is recorded from 1874.