"Retirement - when you quit working just before your heart does." - Unknown
"When you retire, you switch bosses - from the one who hired you to the one who married you." - Gene Perret
"Retirement kills more people than hard work ever did." - Malcolm Forbes
Oh, I'm sorry. Was I saying something?
Oh, right. Retirement. That word, that phase of our lives that workers all across the world speak of in hushed tones. I mean, there's eternal salvation and all that, but I've yet to see evidence whether the Afterlife is more like sitting around playing harps, partying every night in Valhalla, being "rewarded" with 72 virgins (I have yet to see the reward in that, but hey, whatever works), or being in a Billy Crystal movie. I have, however, seen direct evidence of what retirement is like.
Fishing all day.
Getting up only when--and if!--I want to.
Playing checkers with other retirees in the park.
(Yes, I hear my retired friends giggling now over the silliness of my "direct evidenced" vision. But it's my story and I'm stickin' to it.)
Have you ever thought about what your retirement will look like? There are all sorts of things you can do with it, aren't there? Back when I was a kid, the retired gentlemen of the town of Corinth, MS, really did gather around the courthouse every day to whittle together, a practice that filled the old town with the delightful aroma of freshly-shaven cedar. I always looked forward to joining them some day, but times have changed (the old courthouse just doesn't exude the "come sit around me" feeling any more), and besides, I think after a while it would become a skosh repetitive.
It was a post by a friend, Carol Tomany, on the subject of living on the water, that got me thinking about this, actually. I've always been intrigued by the idea of retiring onto a houseboat and thus being able to putter around to various locales while enjoying an occasional glass of wine. Granted, the real intrigue comes to me when you replace "houseboat" with "megayacht" with the wine brought up to my hands from the chiller by a liveried member of the staff. Different price range, certainly, but still kind of the same idea.
A little research turned up an interesting article on some unusual retirement communities, though I'm still scratching my head over how seniors traveling and living out of their RVs constitutes a community. Not that I haven't thought of that one, too, mind you, at least without the community part. I've done my share of travels in an RV, and the people at the parks across the nation tend to be among the friendliest, open, most sharing folks I've ever met.
A community specifically for retired postal carriers as described in the article sounded interesting. It makes sense, though, that some folks would want to settle down around people who'd built up similar histories and tales through their lives. Granted, other folks wouldn't want that. I think I'm in the latter group--living out the remainder of my days around the same type of people I'd been around for most of my working life just doesn't sound like much fun. But that's just me.
I suppose it all kind of boils down to what you want to do, doesn't it? My all-time favorite sage to quote said this: "When I was 43 and John Hay 41 he said life was a tragedy after 40, and I disputed it. Three years ago he asked me to testify again; I counted my graves, and there was nothing for me to say. I am old; I recognize it but I don't realize it. I wonder if a person ever really ceases to feel young--I mean, for a whole day at a time." (source: Mark Twain Quotations A-Z page)
My bottom line is that I'm not sure what I want to do when I grow up, honestly. I mean, I've found my vocations: I love being an academic leader, and I love being a writer. But will I continue doing those things for the remainder of my life? I don't know. And if I don't--what will I do? Will I (finally) move down to a hut on the beach to enjoy the warmth (and the hurricanes)? Will I follow my cousin south of the border? Will I seek a simple job where I can still connect with people?
I don't know. Yet, anyway. But the fact that I can't see the end point doesn't mean I won't enjoy the ride, right?
Do you have a retirement dream? Wanna share it?