Maybe I’m a little dazed, not really sure what I’m feeling right now. A bit frightened and excited all at once. It might take a while to totally sink in. We just got home from CalPERS where we filed the final paperwork to officially become retired persons. I woke around 4:30 this morning and had a rough time getting back to sleep. The sketchy neighbor was sitting out in front of the house in his truck with the light on just hanging out, tweaking I suppose. I returned to bed and nodded off a time or two and soon the alarm was buzzing on the side table. I took a shower to rinse the tiredness off of my soul and made a cup of tea. PJ called to let me know she was going to be late. She soon arrived and we were out the door.
The freeway was actually smooth going all the way down to Friars Rd. and into the Hazard Center where the CalPERS office is located. In fact, we were a few minutes early and lounged in the car out front. Pamela is bit punky, like an ADD kid because she didn’t really sleep much either. We rode up in the elevator expecting a long wait or some inconvenience for coming without an appointment, but were pleasantly surprised to be the only clients there when they opened the doors at 8:00.
We were ushered straight to a window where a gentleman named Marc sat us down and immediately began helping us process the application. I had most of the forms filled out, but there were a few sections where I had some questions or needed some help getting the proper information in the right places. Marc was professional and kind and everything was easy and pain free. He even came around to take a picture of us signing on the dotted line.
Drove back north, rolling with the traffic. Traffic is one thing I won’t be missing when we head out on the road.
Having grown up here, I remember the days when the roads were clear and the driving was easy. We’ve slowly become Orange County south and it takes an effort to get anywhere at almost any time of day.
Dropped PJ at the house and sat and meditated for a few minutes before heading to work. I’m fighting the
urge to tell people I’m heading out, but it will wait until next week when I formally let them know that I’m pulling the plug. There’s been a few awkward conversations lately about what the department plans to do in the near future and what do I think about this change or that adjustment. There are lots of scheduling changes due to the college’s attempt to squeeze more classes into an already full day. I give perfunctory answers as if I have a vested interest, but I have already mentally checked out from the job. I get the needed work done, but my thoughts are on preparations and budgeting and all the things that go into packing your life into a small motorhome and kicking up a cloud of dust as we head off into the future.
Later in the day, I finalize my official retirement letter for the board of directors, print it out on school letterhead, sign it and place in the intercampus mail to HR.
The woman in charge of benefits and retirement is on vacation until Monday, so I’ll wait until then to let the Dept. Chair know that my last day will be Jan. 31st. It still all seems surreal. This is what we’ve dreaming of and working towards for a few years now, yet cutting the final cord brings out some fears of financial insecurity and wondering if we are being rational.
The question comes down to what choices do we make; living the life of quiet desperation filling a seat at a job that no longer offers stimulation and challenges or taking the leap of faith to step out into the unknown and follow a dream to a future that is totally unknown. Our lives here are good and the problems we have are quality problems, it just that the idea of going to the grave knowing nothing but the same daily routine that works well, is safe and offers financial security leaves a feeling that something is being missed. What? I don’t know. Maybe an opportunity for personal growth and the discovery of a unique way of being that isn’t readily apparent to the unaided eye? A chance to explore creative directions we have been scratching the surface of but never have the occasion or time to fully commit to. These are the ideas and prospects we are hoping to have a chance to take for a test drive on the upcoming road of life.
It still hasn’t registered as being real. I’ll sleep on it and see what tomorrow has to reveal.