My mom has been living “independently” in Preston Pointe, a small senior community in North Carolina, for eight months …and (to her own surprise) she is loving it. She came here reluctantly with great fear and trepidation, agreeing to stay only three months as an escape from the harsh New York winter. This was quite brave of her, approaching 90, unsteady on her feet, and very hard-of-hearing, having never lived anywhere else and leaving all her friends and some family to do it. I did my research but had no experience with these type of facilities so I had my own set of doubts filled with nursing home nightmares.
Turns out, it was a good choice and worth the effort. We are both very happy with the arrangements and I encourage others to consider this option for their parents.
This was the first time I stepped onto the IBM campus since I retired, a place where I had spent more than 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, 48 weeks a year, for 20+ years. I was invited to attend a retirement party for a colleague and friend, which was held on-site in one of the larger conference rooms. In fact, it was the exact conference room where I held my own retirement party last July. My friend is retiring voluntarily and is very happy about it. I was forced to retire as part of a resource action (or down-sizing, or lay-off, depending on the phrase of the day) and I was making the best of it. Not surprisingly, I had mixed feelings leaving IBM and now I had mixed feelings going back. Wasn’t sure if it would be sour grapes, regret, longing, relief.
I am approaching one year of retirement (or unemployment, however you look at it) and am surprised about some of my reactions and feelings. The positive ones were happily anticipated and mostly predictable. I enjoy longer, more relaxed trips when I travel. Gone are the tedious teleconference calls, meaningless meetings, and aggressive (impossible) deadlines. I am free from corporate politics and the compromises I had to make to play the game. Relief from this kind of stress is wonderful, a deliverance, like getting out of jail. No surprises here. Other things have been a mixed bag.