Today is the first day of the rest of my life. No, that is not a trite simile. I am now retired. Yesterday was tough – all the final goodbyes, the packing up of my laptop and phone, and finally, looking at my now-bare desk. Bittersweet. This six month journey was filled with experiences – some wonderful, and some challenging. I have some final comments on my work transition before this blog really becomes about retirement.

People mean well. They just don’t always convey that sentiment properly. Now that I’m telling people about my plans to retire at the end of August, I’ve been getting a lot of comments – mostly because I’m retiring early and I’m pretty visible in my industry. The comments have ranged from the typical, to the pretty personal, to the extremely skeptical. I hear this is typical for someone who is just about to retire, but I must say some of them surprised me. I thought I’d share a few of them with you. Who knows? You may get them too, when it’s your time.

I always wondered why cartoons of artists have them squinting at their thumbs held out before an object. Now I know. I had a hard time not laughing the first time I did it, and I am happy to report I didn’t say anything snarky. I thought it, but didn’t say it. Most unlike me, and probably the result of First Day Jitters.

Nothing sucks the soul right out of you like a business trip. With all the stresses jet lag, airline nightmares, weather difficulties and hotel beds pile on, I found even the smallest thing would set me off. Last year, during a particularly long NorthEast business trip, I had trouble getting the Starbucks across the street from our SoHo office to get my name even close to right. Even the right gender seemed to be impossible for them.

I’ve always wondered what that meant. Not being the superstitious type in general, (unless the SF Giants are in the playoffs) I had never really followed astrological phenomena. Thanks to my college roommate Selene for clueing me in, now I know. Major appliances and pretty much anything else that you need will spontaneously decide to break, and break badly. Hey – I’m pretty much retired, so don’t I get a break?

I knew it was time to retire when I realized I had lost not only my sense of humor, but any vestige of creativity I once had. It was like there was a blockage in my brain that got worse as stress increased. My best girlfriend and therapist recommended art therapy, and my life coach and dear friend seconded that notion. With two such recommendations like that, it became number one on my Decompression List.