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I’m a baby boomer and retiring soon; I’m ready to do whatever I want

The notebook where I keep my recipes it’s a waste. My landline only receives unwanted calls. And I really want to go to Italy, where I’ve never been.

But it takes time to fix all of these things – time to organize my scribbled recipes, time to call the dreaded phone company, and time off from work to go home. visit Florence, Rome, Turin and Tuscany. And time is something I don’t have enough of right now. But I will soon, because I plan to retire.

At first, I thought I would work until December 31st. Then I moved it forward to October. Now I wonder if I’ll make it throughout the summer. The closer my target date gets, the further away it seems and the more impatient I feel.

I want to do all the things I don’t have time for

I can’t wait to take a long time walk with my dog every day, not just on weekends. I can’t wait to fix all the broken things in my apartment. And I can’t wait to travel, not counting vacation days.

I want more time at the beach and less time on my laptop. I want to sit on my Brooklyn stoop and enjoy the morning sun. I want to go out to lunch, mid-week, with friends or enjoy happy hour. I want to stay up late without worrying about my 8 a.m. shift. My own children are grown up, but we have a lot of new babies in the family and I want to spend more time with them before they grow up.

I have had many different jobs

I had a good career path, with 10 jobs in over 40 years of work. My first paycheck — babysitting gigs aside — had just served fast food to busy Penn Station commuters. After college, I was stuffing envelopes for a nonprofit when a boss suggested I consider a career in journalism. I aspired to be a writer with a capital W, but I hadn’t thought about the news industry until then.

I ended up writing for newspapers, then for a news agency and a university. Now I’m working in a newsroom again. I hope to continue practicing independent journalism after I retire, but I also still have literary aspirations. Could I write this detective novel I’ve been thinking about for years about a body in a lake in Maine? Could I get the play I wrote produced during the pandemic? Every time I read the story of a novelist who broke through late in life, it gives me hope. Maybe it’s not too late to become that writer with a capital W.

I know it’s a privilege to be able to retire

A friend said he disliked every year he worked after 55 because his father, a teacher, was done with his job at that age. Of course, in the 20th century, retiring at 55 was not that unusual, especially for civil servants and especially for that generation of heavy smokers. They did not take longevity for granted. Having already outlived my mother, neither did I.

But people also retired early in those days because the cost of living wasn’t that out of line with what regular people earned. Today, many Americans say they can’t afford to retire. I’m under 65 in a few years, so I know I’m lucky to have savings and secure housing that allows me to give up my day job now.

On the other hand, I know people who work at 70 because they want to. It won’t be me. I am jealous of my husband, who is already retired. He can stay up all night watching the Australian Open if he wants or go to Costco at noon when no one is there.

There is one thing, however, that I am reasonably sure of: he will not go to Italy without me.


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