Friday, October 16, 2009

Pondering Retirement

Dan and I have been having some long discussions about retirement, lately. Dan is more optimistic about the financial issues than I am (that’s always been typical of our relationship – a good balance, I think), but we’re both eager for the day to come. Don’t get too excited for us; this isn’t something that’s just around the corner, but we are peering a couple years or so into the future.

The word retirement can evoke greatly divergent emotional responses in different people. For instance, I’ve heard some say, “I don’t ever want to retire. I’d die if I didn’t have my job to get up and go to every morning.”

I also remember the shop owner I worked for in high school. His name was John, and he had been dreaming of retiring, leaving the cold of Alaska and the stress of his business, and returning to his roots in Arkansas. He told me, “For the first year, I’m just going to sit in the rocking chair on my front porch. In the second year I might start rocking.” Sadly, John never got rocking, as he died before his second year of retirement.

Here are some quotations I found as I researched the subject on-line:

“Preparation for old age should begin not later than one’s teens. A life which is empty of purpose until 65 will not suddenly become filled on retirement.” Dwight Moody (American evangelist 1839-1899)

“Don’t simply retire from something; have something to retire to.” Harry Emerson Fosdick (American clergyman 1878-1969)

And, to quote Ernest Hemmingway (reminiscent, I thought, of Ebenezer Scrooge), “Retirement is the ugliest word in the language.”

I guess the eternal optimist in me wants to think of retirement not as the end of a journey, but as the beginning of a new adventure. This advice, from blogger, annamanila (Ode2Old) sounded spot-on to me:

“What I am trying to say is one still has to fill one’s days with a balanced fare -- enjoyable and dutiful ; fluffy and solid; physical and cerebral. What I call the three Ps: Poetry, Purpose and Play. And, not to forget -- Passion!”
Will I be able to live those three (or is it four) Ps? I think so, but that’s probably something easy to say pre-retirement and difficult to live in retirement. So, I’m sitting down with pen and paper (those of you who know me will realize that I really mean keyboard and monitor) and coming up with ideas for fulfilling the Ps in my life, in retirement. In the next few days I hope to share my thoughts. And, I'd love to hear yours!

1 comment:

Betty said...

What a great post Linda! Me and hubby never talk about retiring and sometime I think we should. But we still have so many debts and obligations to fulfill, we feel it´s too far away....