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.
“…we all know how this ends, so rushing through life is senseless. As our inner life grows ever more luminous, the chatter of the speed-and-greed world slowly fades, leaving us with greater peace, tranquility, quiet and contentment.” — Arthur Rosenfeld
It’s a first! We walked into a restaurant yesterday with adult and senior prices, and the server immediately said, “That’s two senior meals?” In this case they defined ‘senior’ as 60+
Yes, I have been asked occasionally if I would like the senior discount, but in this case it was assumed!
Then I realized there are a few different ways to look at this. The negative viewpoint is accepting that we look 60, which Mike is. He has mostly gray hair, and a weathered face from working hard and outside quite a bit, so this was not really a stretch.
Another way to look at this is that they were trying to reward us for living so long. We have become the respected elders of our tribe.
This is not about ego and vanity for me, it just surprises me when others see me as their elder. I simply haven’t yet gotten used to being seen as a senior.
I recall a great scene from the film “It’s Complicated”, where Meryl Streep catches a glimpse of herself in the mirror and says, “Is that REALLY what I look like?” I laughed out loud! I saw myself so clearly in that same mirror.