Giving your final notice at work is an amazing thing.
And it’s not for the reason you might automatically assume. Truth is, I didn’t take all that much pleasure in the act of quitting itself — it wasn’t an angry quit. It was an ‘I’m Just Done With This Now, Okay?’-type thing.
Instead, I’m much more surprised at the change in my vision and awareness.
The thing is, when you’re working somewhere, you suppress a whole lot. It’s important to do this — to push your thoughts down somewhere, submerging them somewhere safe, somewhere the accumulation of petty irritations won’t resurface to bother you, at least until the weekend when you’re half in the bag and it’s okay vent a little. Suppression is a wonderful self-defense mechanism — it allows you to hide undesirable aspects of your job somewhere else so you can focus on the positive and be productive as you hack away at your career.
But when you are done forever, you stop suppressing and start looking around you in a different way. You see things you’d seen a million times before but it’s all suddenly brand new.
Lots of people on early retirement message boards talk about a feeling of unreality during the final weeks at work. It was surreal, they say. I felt like it wasn’t even happening.
This is my take on why this description is offered: Everything you’ve been holding down your entire working career bobs to the top, and you walk through the hallways with a sense of hyper-alertness, coupled with disconnection from your employer and an increased awareness of yourself, your own internal voice.
And you notice everything.
You become Superman with x-ray sight. Batman with high-tech telescoping goggles. Hawkeye with 20/2 vision.
Quitting for the final time in your career instantly upgrades your Office Vision from black and white 320×180 to full streaming 10 billion color high contrast HD 4x in glorious 3D^7.
It’s no wonder that your brain feels a little overwhelmed by the change.
** I know I recently promised to stop complaining about work. Thing is, a) this isn’t complaining. It’s observing. Totally different. And b) I’ve also pledged to honestly talk about the transition between working and retirement. This is, for better or worse, the stuff that’s going on in my life. And there you have it.
NOTE: This is a multi-page post – there are links to additional pages below.