I have observed that there are just about as many responses to the idea of retirement as there are people. Many count the days to retirement. They see it as complete freedom, and can’t wait!
Others fear that kind of freedom. They are convinced that they need to be contributing at all times, and feel driven to continue for reasons of self-esteem and/or legacy.
I believe this has a lot to do with early brainwashing. If your parents are driven to contribute, than you may also have that driving spirit. If your parents look forward to retirement as reward for a job well done, you may too.
My family is the hard-driving type, and my siblings also feel that they have no purpose if they cannot work.
My new husband at age 50 saw things differently. Because of serious health issues, he wasn’t able to hold down a 40+ hour a week job past age 60.
When I first met Mike ten years ago I was still quite driven. I launched myself into my new writing career with my usual enthusiasm and stubbornness, convinced that I could make it big as a blogger and author.
Over the past ten years my attitudes have changed dramatically. Mike has convinced me that being hard on myself and driven does not lead to contentment or even a happy life. It just leads to frustration with myself and others.
At what point is it OK to give yourself a break and say, “You are fine just the way you are.”
I have given much thought to my feelings about myself when I die. I do not believe that I will feel any better about myself then, if I produce more books or make any more money.
My time now is mine, and I plan to spend it doing whatever I choose, not feeling driven by my fears or my ego.
4 thoughts on “What does retirement mean to you?”
Retirement means different things to different people that is for sure. Money is a big issue. Will there be enough, will there be some for the kids, what if this, what if that, etc. I think everyone before they retire should have their affairs in order. An up to date will, beneficiaries listed, all your health documents of care updated, some one who knows where all these papers are and a paid burial procedure.
Yes Haralee, it’s those “what if this, what if thats” that can trip you up badly. I say decide what matters most to you and then GO FOR IT!
Wonderful thoughts to remember, as I struggle to write a novel–and take time to smell the roses. You are a bright spot in my day.
Yes Beth, I would like to write a memoir of our big move here and the building of our new home, but I’m not pressuring myself. I figure when I’m ready it will just come. I’ve already found a great editor here who wants to work with me. I just need to get to the right place and it will flow.