Me: …knee jerk: “Thank you!”
As you might imagine, I’ve heard my fair share of “Congratulations!” since I shared my retirement decision on June 30th.
Now, three weeks later, the more resigned, comfortable, and grateful I continue to be, the more genuinely appreciative I am receiving the “C” word.
Congratulations really do seem in order for the privilege of entering into retirement.
…Not always so.
In the minutes, hours, and first number of days after the ‘big reveal,” I responded, as graciously as I could muster, “Thank you.”
Although my brain, as well as my heart, knew I needed to retire, both still had some ambivalence about whether retirement was going to be a good thing or not.
Within the context of that mind-and-heart-set, I met their “congratulations” with my cynical and ungracious response, “for what?” (thankfully without my well-wishers hearing what I was saying to myself).
What have I done that deserves congratulations?
For what are they congratulating me, I wondered…
…For being old enough; for living long enough to retire?
..For being incapable of keeping up any longer with the rigors of work?
…For committing myself to an unknown economic future on a fixed income?
Now, as I’m “settling in,” to the reality of being retired, I’m grateful for every word of “Congratulations” I have received.
I am especially grateful to a retired colleague who followed her all-caps “CONGRATULATIONS!” message with the words that made me rethink, humbly and gratefully, about the real justification for the “C” word:
“Retirement is a blessing.”
Congratulations! seems like an entirely appropriate word to acknowledge a blessing!
No matter what happens, each day I try to recognize and immerse myself in that blessing.
In what way did the word “congratulations” connect with your retirement announcement?