29 Jul 2012
I like to think of myself as a rebel.
The image of a rebel is a very positive one for me. It represents courage, spontaneity, idealism, creativity and freedom. Those are all qualities I would like to incorporate into my life. Yet, as I mature in my middle age, I realize all good things are better in moderation.
I know, that doesn’t sound very rebellious! Let me try to explain where I am coming from.
For several years I was suffering from work related anxiety. I was finding my job boring and stressful at the same time. All things work related were becoming a source of anxiety for me.
Here is a list of some of the work related things that caused me anxiety:
- Deadlines. I often felt deadlines were arbitrarily set before assessing how much work was involved. Deadlines started to represent failure. This was a constant source of anxiety for me.
- Blackberry devices. Poor RIM, they have enough troubles without me piling more on. For me however, the Blackberry represented a very unwelcome intrusion on my personal life. 24 hour accessibility was an implied expectation of the job.
- Schedules of all kinds. I found that my schedule was continuously being filled with status meetings to discuss why we were not on schedule. My suggestion of “maybe there are too many meetings” was always dismissed as an inappropriate answer.
- Administrative routine. I found myself overwhelmed with the amount of administrative reporting I was required to complete. It was dull, repetitive and it kept me from the more satisfying aspects of my job.
So, about 2 years ago I took the courageous step of taking early retirement.
It is a decision I do not regret.
I have been living a life where there are no deadlines. My Blackberry device is turned off most of the time. I have been able to live without a daily schedule. I have pretty much avoided anything that seems like routine to me.
It sounds like heaven doesn’t it? Well, almost. There are one or two things I miss.
As much as my job became an almost continuous source of anxiety for me, on occasion it did provide me with a sense of accomplishment.
I knew early on in my retirement I would need to find things to do to give me a sense of accomplishment. I have taken up a few projects with friends that have helped fill that gap without most of the frustrations and anxiety that was inherent in my job. So far, that has worked well for me.
What is new, which I find a bit surprising, I am longing for some structure.
Right now, I get up when I want, go to bed when I want and if I don’t feel like doing anything, I don’t.
I am starting to find that isn’t as rewarding as it used to be.
Out of habit, I still have my alarm go off at 7:30 in the morning. Every morning I turn off the alarm and go back to sleep. It used to be a great indulgence to the rebel within me to realize, “Ha! I don’t have to get up this early, I’m going to roll over and go back to sleep.”
It has lost some of its oomph.