Inspiration or Contagion?

The other evening as I was shutting down from work I got a text from a close friend and neighbor.  “What are you doing tonight?”.  A phone call followed shortly after with “We’re coming over.  And bringing something to share.  Tell Vlad.”. (click)  To say I was intrigued is an understatement.

A few minutes later, Terry and Cecille arrived, brandishing an absolutely fabulous bottle of Burrell School’s 2006 Valedictorian wine.  This is some seriously good stuff, and they only bring this out for special occasions.  It turns out Cecille retired today.

I will NOT be alone on this journey!

Cecille and I have been friends for years. We are the same age. Our sons played soccer together as kids, went to the same prep school, and are still friends in their mid-twenties.  We both had grueling travel schedules and long hours working.  We would water each other’s plants when the other was out of town.  Most of my other girlfriends do not currently work, so she was the one who would always understand all the work-related problems I was encountering, because the chances were she was going through it as well.  Cecille’s husband Terry retired 15 years ago, so it was good for her to have someone with whom she could commiserate.  We had different jobs, in different industries, but the shared experience was there.

Cecille knew of the struggles we were going through the past few months with family commitments, and she was a great sounding board for me in my decision to ease into retirement – and gave me great encouragement.  What I didn’t know was my decision to retire inspired her to consider her own situation.   And come to a decision of her own.

Now she Did It.

She told me I inspired her to do this.  Wow.  That was really nice to hear.  Terry joked that I infected her with the desire to quit work.  I was just about to pull back the plate of freshly baked chocolate-pecan cookies we were enjoying with the wine, when he also said he was glad I did. And took another cookie.

I was most moved by Cecille’s comment that she knew it was time to leave when she realized she wasn’t enjoying things even at home like she used to. Gardening became a chore, not a pleasure, and she has one of the most beautiful gardens in our neighborhood.  She wasn’t sleeping well anymore, being tormented with what I call ‘racy brain’.  She was tired, and she was done. So she Did It. I am so proud of her for taking this step.

Now, we get to be retired together.  Our transitions will be different, because I’ll still be working part time for a while, and she’s taking it cold turkey, but it’s nice to know someone who will be experiencing similar emotions and issues.  We’ll be there for each other – again.

And that Valedictorian?  It was absolutely delicious.  Cheers, Cecille!