I've also been told I have little tact, so if this offends you simply ride on.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Retirement - waiting for the fun to begin

Even though it will not be happening soon, I usually tell people that when I do retire I want to move to the south of France where I can drink wine and ride my bicycle.  My brother keeps asking me if I'm serious and I always reply 'yes.'  Of course, being a realist I understand those plans may never come to fruition.  I may end up spending my senior years in Central Pennsylvania, which is a world away from the south of France.  No matter where I am, I do plan on having an enjoyable time.  Quite often I tell people there are only two times in your life when you can be, for the most part, carefree.  The first happens when you're a child.  The second occurs when you leave the work force, which is why rarely does a day pass when I don't think about not having job responsibilities; when I don't think about all the things I can do that are not work related.

A number of years ago, the dental assistant who cleaned my teeth retired.  When I asked what her plans were she told me "I'm going to sit on my porch swing and read."  I felt really sad for her because there was so much more she could be doing.  For a lot of people, however, that is how they define retirement.  They feel they've put in their time.  This is true, but don't turn yourself into a fossil.  Why would you want to become a relic?  My Dad did that and died 6 years after he retired.  If your idea of bliss is sitting in a chair watching television you've kind of missed the point.  Retirement shouldn't be defined by the cessation of all activity, rather it should be considered a new direction in which to channel your energy.  Do something physical.  Use your muscles.  And don't complain.  Holy Shit, I am so tired of hearing seniors list their ailments as though they're merit badges they've earned by being old.  Working in a retail position where people need to wait to have paint mixed, I hear them daily.  You have no idea how many times I want to ask if they want cheese with that whine because I know every person they've talked to has heard about their problems.

Nice little area in the south of France

You can call me unsympathetic if your want, I don't care.  You see I believe the real problem for these people who just want to shut down, and those who change careers from one of working to one of complaining, is that none of them actually sit down and think about what retirement means.  All sorts of possibilities open up once you are no longer a permanent associate relying on a weekly paycheck.  Time becomes something you can spend on all those things you couldn't do for the past forty some years.  Get on a bicycle and ride it, even if your pedal is slow.  Write a novel, climb a mountain, learn to play the drums and have fun.  When I look at my future retirement I see all the chances in the world opening up and I may sell my house and move to the south of France where I can drink wine and ride my bicycle. 

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