Tuesday, September 1, 2015
Is It Time to Retire?
Yesterday, I was informed, via Facebook, that someone I went to high school with is retiring later this month. Mind you, she was not in my graduating class.
She was in the class behind me.
In July, I found out (via Facebook) that someone I had worked with for years, at a job we both left years ago, was retiring at the beginning of October. At least she is older than me. But still.
Sometimes, it seems that everyone I know is retired, or has announced the date of future retirement. This has been going on for some five years (or more) now.
But, I hadn't felt envy for my retiring friends, because I plan to work for a few more years (I'm 62). That was true until yesterday, when envy pinched me in the behind.
I know I'm not ready to retire yet, although I may change my mind about readiness next February when I have to leave that warm, warm, house for that cold, cold outside, and there is a -30F windchill and a fresh coating of ice and snow on the ground. I normally keep my blogging and my professional lives separated, but today I can't resist thinking about the R word.
There is a kind of retirement peer pressure in my age group. In a way, this feeling brings back memories from long ago - the memories of your friends getting that precious engagement ring while your ring finger was bare. It doesn't take much, sometimes, to bring you back to when you were 19 years old. I did grow up in the 50's and 60's, when there were "certain expectations". Getting married was one. Working for over 40 years outside the home wasn't. I managed to do both.
So, for a moment, let me return to when I was 19 years old, when the world seemed wide open, when possibilities seemed endless, and when...no, it was also a time when I felt so insecure, when I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, and I had no confidence in myself whatsoever.
Suddenly, it is 43 years later.
In some ways, retirement is the last opportunity for a do-over in life.
Retirement is time to take your hard earned skills and experience and give back to the world, while you travel, or garden, or crochet, or learn photography, or do those things you never had time for when establishing your career, or raising children, or caregiving for others, or whatever life has pushed your way.
The funny thing is, for all the people I know who have retired, I've seen a few retirement fails. I've seen people regret retiring before their last paycheck arrived in their bank accounts - among them a former manager, who is now working again in the industry he retired from.
I've seen people have to go back to work, and end up in jobs that put food on the tabe, but didn't add to their enjoyment of life.
I've seen more than one person suffer health problems right after retirement, and not be able to do what they had planned to do. I know people with cancer. I know people with diabetes. Those ailments certainly weren't in their plans.
So why is envy pinching at me?
Because I'm afraid of missing out on something? Is there a secret club everyone (it seems) I knew from years ago is joining? Except me? Or is it because people I know are losing parents, and even brothers or sisters? Is it because I feel my mortality breathing down my neck?
No, I'm not going to retire tomorrow. At least, not this September. But perhaps it is start to look at the retirement catalogs and challenge myself just a little.
Join me this month in the September Blogging Challenge hosted by Everyday Gyaan.