Vacations and Retirement

When I am on vacation, my thoughts turn to retirement. At 43 years old, I still have 22 years to go before arriving at the magical 65. As I have been with the company for 21 years, I have my entire career-to-date stretching out in front of me. We take a long vacation in December and head to Florida where we can visit with family and enjoy the warm weather. The vacation is long enough that I occasionally forget what day of the week it is, a symptom similar to that suffered by retired persons.

Vacation view

Kelly likes to have a plan for each day. Having a plan helps keeps the kids entertained, but it chips away at some of the vacation-like feel of our time off. I like waking up to no particular plans. I’ll eat something for breakfast, maybe take a walk on the palm tree-lined bike paths before the sun gets too high in the sky. I’ll come back to the house and do nothing for a while. When I am ready, I’ll do some writing. I’ll make a sandwich for lunch. Ham and turkey with Swiss cheese, and maybe mayo and honey mustard. At some point, we’ll head over to the pool, but there is no rush. The water is warm, and the skies are clear.

I try to forget about work when I am on vacation. Usually I succeed too well. It is hard to go back into the office. Email doesn’t interest me. Excitement that I’ve had for my projects has faded over the course of sun-filled vacation days. I’d rather stay on vacation.

Today I am tied to the calendar. Everything centers around Google Calendar. We have a family calendar there. We have our own calendars. The kids’ school calendar is there. Cubs Scouts calendar, and sports activities are there. One look at the calendar can be overwhelming. I used to default to a monthly view, but found it to be too overwhelming. Now I default to a weekly view of the calendar, but even that sometimes seems like a lot. I looked at the calendar for this week, and it was much better.

Vacation Calendar

On those vacation morning walks I sometimes imagine what it would be like to be retired. I could write full-time. I don’t mean I’d write 8 hours a day. But I could write for a few hours a day, and still have most of the day to enjoy other things. I wouldn’t be as tied to the calendar as I am today—or so I tell myself. There would be a certain freedom in knowing that I didn’t have to go into the office the next day. Weekends would be no different from weekdays.

I suppose if I was a full-time writer, instead of a software developer, I would never really retire. It makes working toward that goal that much more appealing. I suspect that if I gave it my best effort, it would only require about 22 more years of trying.