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.


  1. I"m joining no "club", just an already-retired spouse.

  2. I guess if you have a plan for retirement it's okay to think about it. I think I would want to keep working for as long as I can.

  3. Alana, just yesterday, I read a post on Carol Cassara's blog telling of how several people she knows are finding it so hard to cope with retirement! I'm sure you will know when the time comes to do what's right for you.

  4. I read that for most people, working till later is actually better for their health. Of course, it would depend on their jobs. But sometimes I think I couldn't retire completely because I'd feel a bit aimless...maybe cut down to working two days a week and then spending the rest of the days with stuff I'm passionate about.

    As you said though, for some people, life has other plans. I reckon therefore, it's best we make the most of now.

  5. It will be some time before I retire, but that doesn't stop me from thinking what will happen when I do. My husband makes enough for me NOT to work, but I am not the type of person to clean the house all day long for something to do.

    Until he can travel with me, I'll continue to work too. I love serving others, so this is a perfect place for me to be, too.

    - Bonnie

  6. I wonder if you could just go down a few hours or cutback one day a week and slowly begin the 'retiring process' - that's what I would like to do! Then you still have money, a routine, satisfaction of working but also enough time to do the things you want to do :)

  7. I retired a week after my 62nd birthday. I've never regretted it for a minute. I think everyone knows when it is time to go. There were so many things I wanted to do in retirement that I couldn't do when I was working. Life is sometimes too short to put off enjoying it. My father died suddenly at 57 always talking about what he would do 'in retirement'.

  8. Don't do it! I retires at 63 because retirement was thrust upon me, via osteoporosis. My life has never been as good because I lost physical contact with people. You may be different because you have plenty of friends. I hope so, Alana. If I could, I would have worked for as long as I was able. Well--I did, but I mean while my mind could cope.

  9. Way back when I thought I would of retire by the time I was 30. Well I'm still working. My husband took his retirement at 62 and he is so glad, his attitude is a lot better.
    With the new age increase in social security. I'll have to wait until I'm 65 but I might not work until I'm 65 or cut back on hours....Coffee is on

  10. Retirement is just a frame of mind. You'll never truly retire until you pass ... something will always inspire you and demand your attention, it just may not be a formal job.

  11. Alana, I've never thought about there being a peer pressure among retired folks! I agree with Francene: resist the temptation! My dad retired at 65, thinking that he wouldn't probably live much longer (some health problems). Now nearly 20 years later (!!) he is still active and he says that he wishes he wouldn't have been so hasty to retire. FWIW!

  12. Interesting. Retirement peer pressure. What do you think you're missing out on? Definitely look into it, but you have to decide what's going to make you happy.


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