Thursday, January 7, 2021

what's the plan

Now that I've been retired one whole week, I'm noticing some common life themes. I can schedule appointments at pretty much any time. People still want me to give them references for jobs. I can go to the gym or hike any day. And, the main question I get from people is: "What's your plan now?"

My former job required a lot of plans. Some of these were written, as required by policy. For example, if we were going to burn a unit from the air, we had to have a safety plan that detailed specific procedures and risk management protocols. Some of them were developed on the fly, dictated by conditions; for example, I would tell the people in the back of the helicopter to cut down certain trees to make the helispot safer when they got out; meanwhile we would fly around looking for a water source. In firefighting, hope is not a plan nor is it a strategy. You also have to plan out your life: who could you call to watch the cats if you got called to a fire, what would you do for your one day off, would you have enough money saved when you got the boot from the job due to age.

So I understand the question. A lot of us fire retirees do have plans. B. knew she would sell her house and move. N. was going to start building a wood shop immediately. D. was retiring early because, he said, it wasn't worth it and he wanted to spend time with family (he is back in fire now though, part-time). H. took a job with the state so he would have two retirements.

I don't have a plan, not really.  It might have been to finally complete the Greenland trip I had to cancel due to covid last year, but apparently since I am not elderly or in prison, and I have a low BMI, I'm going to be in the last phase for the vaccine, so international travel might be on hold. I attempt to reserve fire lookouts for next summer, but hesitate: what if I want to do something else? Six months is a long time away.

I do have some ideas. L. wants me to backpack in Idaho with her and her daughter. There are a couple of long hikes here I want to do. My garden needs some work, and a deck and fence need to be painted. I have vague dreams of going to Sedona and the North Cascades, and of a greenhouse, but who knows. I think I'll wait and see.

For now, it feels good to not have a plan.


  1. Love horizons. Not to plan is definitely a plan. You will figure out what bubbles to the top of the list as you go along. Sad that the international travel is out for now...Enjoy what's possible.

  2. Yep, I totally agree - it feels great not to have a plan! I've taken this first week of freedom to do whatever I want. I went skiing, I went on two photography outings with my neighbor, and one day took a hike. Don't let go of your travel dreams - I think we'll be able to travel again.

  3. I hope you are enjoying retirement! It sounds like you are. I would probably live in my garden if I was retired.

    1. I am! And I do plan to do more yard work in the summer.


I try to answer all comments, so comment away!