At a mention of the word “retirement”, my mind immediately pictures a 70 year old man playing golf or an elderly woman enjoying a nice game of bridge. Retirement is the reward you get once you’ve raised a family, saved up enough money, and made your mark on the world. Generally slower paced and focused on savoring life’s precious moments, retirement has a stark difference between life as a twenty-something.
Currently, I'm in what I like to call 'Practice Retirement'. I've done absolutely nothing to qualify for the luxury of retirement, I simply have five months between graduating college and starting my job. I'm lucky enough to live rent-free at home, without needing to get a job to support myself while living back at home (thanks mom & dad!).
I’m not going to lie, on the 12 hour drive home from Nashville in May I thought to myself “oh my, what have I gotten myself into? How am I going to spend so much time at home without going crazy?!” Surprisingly, three months into my retirement I can announce that I am doing better than I anticipated. I think there are a few reasons why I’ve been able to live at home without running for the hills, but before I delve into those let me set the scene a bit more: my friends from high school have left the area, my parents work from home, and I live in the far out suburbs of a town where there isn’t a bustling young life or fun activities. Now that you understand my dread for being at home, here’s why I think I’ve been able to manage living at home:
- Mindset: Before I came home for the summer, I decided that I was going to enjoy this time at home and make the best of it. While being in a small town away from my friends isn’t exactly the dream life, I looked at this experience through the lens of gratitude. I am fortunate to spend this time with my parents while I can, focus on personal development, embrace a slower pace of life (which I struggled with but have drastically improved), and enjoy my favorite hobbies.
- Planning: I had two major trips this summer, one to Eastern Europe in July on my own and one to Iceland in August with my grandmother. The trips happened to be spaced out with a few weeks in between, which gave me enough time to recover + prepare without getting stir crazy at home. I’ve also researched fun things to do around Buffalo that I want to experience since I won’t be coming back here anytime soon once I move. I’m also planning some small trips to see friends + family. These mini trips + fun things to do at home give me something to look forward to which makes my time at home easy to handle. I also made a list of general things to do when I came home for the summer that I hadn’t gotten around to, like doctors appointments, teaching myself certain adult skills, etc.
- Hobbies: I mentioned this a bit in #1, but I’ve taken the time this summer to continue hobbies I love but haven’t had time for during college. These include yoga, painting, reading, and baking. These are all things I’m passionate about and love to do, but definitely require free time + energy. I’ve been working on furthering my hobbies and cultivating new ones to keep up once I make my big move this fall.
I think by the time October rolls around I’ll be eager to start work and a new chapter of my life, but for now I’m embracing the present moment and making the most of my time at home. If anyone else has moved home after college, I’d love to hear your thoughts on it in the comments.