Why? Well, that’s a good question. I’m fortunate to have employment in my field, complete with a regular paycheck, benefits, a cozy office, and some interesting and engaging co-workers. But employment, for me, also comes with a tedious commute, increasing pressure and stress, sleepless nights, and (I’m told) a progressive downturn in my normally cheerful and sprightly disposition.
There are dozens of things I want time for, including outings & travel with my beloved, reading the stack of magazines and e-books I’m accumulating, and finding a smaller house. I would really like the freedom to spend more time with my mother and sister, and with my children and grandchildren. I am woefully behind on archiving family genealogy, photos, and videos (a favorite pastime). I have a hundred things to do around the house – and I really don’t think I’m overestimating that. Most of all, I need to hit the reset button on my health.
There’s really not much question that I want, and maybe even need, to retire. My family is onboard, encouraging, and even sometimes insistent that I should. But looming over me are the fears that I may regret the decision and be inadequately prepared financially, and that this puts an unfair burden on my husband. It’s a big deal: In the long run, can we afford my retirement now?
We have developed our own quirky process for resolving questions like this over forty-plus interesting years. It involves some science, some imagination, ample compassion, and no small amount of prayer. It’s very simple, really. It just turns out that we best enjoy (or endure) the outcome of any big decision when we truly make it together.
Unless circumstances dictate a more immediate choice, we work through the possible pros and cons at our leisure, usually over a period of days, weeks, or months, until we reach that moment where we realize we’re very much on the same page. Our kids have been known to grow impatient, waiting for us to make a decision or take what they see as an obvious action. We may leave and return to the conversation many times, but it basically comes down to this for us: comfortable consensus. When we’re there, we just know.
And so it’s been for the past year, as we’ve gone back and forth, trying to anticipate the unpredictable economy and assess the unknowable future. Recently we came up with some new thoughts and arrived, almost suddenly, at that mutual sense of knowing peace.