Written by Jeff Shugart, retired senior executive.
After 40 years of working, I was retired.
I had always worked long hours in addition to traveling for work. While I was away, my wife handled all of the household chores, family activities and social connections. She made it look effortless, and I was happy to leave our family affairs in her capable hands.
Weekends and downtime were usually filled with errands, household projects and going out, all according to her well-managed scheduled. Though I enjoyed it all, by the time I went back to work each Monday, the weekend had just flown by. I was constantly busy—no time for fun and games.
Then, unexpectedly, my wife passed away. At the same time, my role at work was changing; it was the right time for an amicable exit. I had little time to consider what my new life would be like but, once I left, I discovered that taking a breath of fresh air felt better than good. It felt great! No more emails, conference calls, work texts or traveling for business. I suddenly had all the time in the world.
For the first few weeks of retirement, the world seemed brighter and lighter. Everything felt new and fresh. Stress was a thing of the past. I finally had time to read the paper, finish the crossword puzzle, tackle a Sudoku or two. I even had time to pursue my own hobbies and interests.