You have a lot to offer your employer, and your experience is priceless. Can you craft a part-time position with health benefits? That way every weekend might provide a 3-4 day foray into nature/ astronomy.
Hi John. Note that I did not lose a job. I just didn't get a bigger role that I applied for. Then they "placated" me by making my current job bigger.
Actually I don't want to work in retirement. When I retire I plan on being 100% retired. I don't like work, you see. I just happen to be really good at doing certain things that are presently in high demand in my industry. Not really smarts but rather luck - right place, right time, right skills.
I'm not too worried about health benes, though that might change if I encounter some major health issues. I just need to bridge myself to 65 from retirement (at 58) and I'll have 3-years of COBRA (on my own nickel of course, but really nice insurance) when I quit working. I can actually cover the gap years from when COBRA runs out and guvmint sponsored Medicare coverage becomes available for purchase at 65, though it certainly won't be cheap. Figure 4 years of $2k+ per month insurance, or about $100k in premiums over the gap period. Fortunately my wife is 5 years older than I am and will be Medicare eligible when our COBRA ends.
The promotion to Director brings with it more compensation (salary, bonuses and stock awards), which is being squirreled away towards retirement, so the numbers actually look pretty darned good, provided that we leave the immediate area which we are willing to do. We paid off our house eight years ago, so it's a big block of capital that will be re-purposed towards passive income production (probably more rental properties) when we downsize and relocate. So knock on wood, I won't *have* to work when I call it quits.
The kinds of observing and camping I like to do often involves 2-days on the road each way (to and from) so what I really need is big blocks of ~2 weeks off at a time. Practically speaking if I want to do 3 or 4 such trips a year, all the time needs to be my own. Terri thinks I should set up a "Geezer Trips" business catering to average fitness elder adults with an interest in camping in remote locales, hiking native ruins, digging fossils and gemstones, landscape photography, fine (camp) food and wine, and looking at the night sky. But that sounds a little too much like work to me.