No one admits that they want to be labeled or put into a box. It seems so confining. But, actually, most people do like to have some kind of easy identity. It bolsters their self-awareness and self-esteem, and places them into a group where they feel comfortable.
So here are the ten basic retirement lifestyles I’ve
identified – okay, maybe with tongue-in-cheek. But face it, if you’re
retired, you probably fit at least partially into one of these categories. If
you’re not retired, maybe this will give you an idea of what to expect after you
hand in your papers and accept your gold I-watch.
Traveler. You’ve already been to the national
parks and to Europe. You likely read the New York Times Travel section. Now you’re looking to expand your horizons
and hit some of the name brand destinations like the Pyramids, the Great Wall
or Machu Picchu. Next you’ll be trying a different twist – not just going to
Europe, but venturing to Latvia or Romania; not just visiting France or Spain,
but taking a river cruise on the Loire or walking the Camino de Santiago.
Social Butterfly. You don’t belong to a book club; you
belong to three book clubs … or three bridge clubs or three lunch clubs. You
feel like a failure if you find yourself at home more than one or two nights a
week. You like to dance; you like to party; you like to go to meetings. It
doesn’t really matter; you just like to have places to go and people to see.
The Loafer. Definitely the Type B personality.
They watch TV; they are voracious readers; they listen to music. They are at
their happiest when wearing a t-shirt and slippers (or barefoot, even better!)
and padding around the house feeling comfortable and content.
The Dreamer. Physically, you’re at home. But your
mind is somewhere else. Maybe you’re planning a vacation, or researching the
place where you’re going to retire, or trying to decide on a political cause to
get involved in. Your fantasy life is so active that there isn’t much time to actually
carry out your plans. That’s okay. Your mind is occupied; you’re not spending
too much money; and you’re safe from the dangers of the world.
Artist. They carry a camera everyplace they
go, and their walls are covered with photographs – big and small, color and
black-and-white, pretty sunsets, stately architecture, sharp-angled abstracts.
Or they’re into knitting or crocheting or painting or woodwork. They can be
found prowling around the arts festivals; or maybe their work is featured on
Athlete. Maybe you play in the over-50
softball league; or you go hunting with your buddies; or play tennis at the
club. Whatever the sport, it is what you live for. Then there’s the golfer who is the same as everyone else,
but just takes everything a little further. Finally, there’s the fan. He’s got
the hat, the jersey, the license plate and season tickets. He’s not the same as
everyone else; he’s in a league of his own.
The Worker. Some people never retire. They love
their work. Their colleagues are their friends; and . . . well, maybe they’re
just afraid to go home. If forced to retire, they find another job. They’re
consulting, or offering their services to a non-profit, or perhaps they’re at
home, down in the basement, working on a craft or home-improvement project.
Stock Market Guru. They read Barron’s and the Wall Street
Journal. They watch Bloomberg and CNBC. They know about alpha and beta, and
price-to-earnings ratios as well as all the trendy new products. Every evening
they log onto a financial website and check the balance in their IRA or 401K . Win
or lose, they know they are on top of things.
The Volunteer. You usually
focus on one particular cause. Maybe it’s your church, where you volunteer on
the auction committee and help out at the church rummage sale, and sing in the
choir and spend Sundays as a deacon. Or, maybe you’re a volunteer fireman, or a
member of the Lion’s Club or Kiwanis Club. You’re directing traffic at the July
4th celebration, grilling hamburgers at the club picnic, serving
dinners at the annual fundraiser. You enjoy helping out your community, and you
know everyone in town.
babysits the grandchildren two or three times a week. He has installed swings
and playsets and ballfields in his backyard. They live down the street from
their children. I, myself, do not have grandchildren. But I can see, there is
no greater joy in life than being a professional grandparent.
So where do you think you fit in?
I can tell you, B is a cross between The Loafer and the Social Butterfly. It sounds incongruous, but she's always going out to meet friends for lunch, or else at church or at one of her book clubs. But when she's not doing that, she's at home in her robe either reading (usually) or else watching TV (sometimes).
Me? Well, B and I certainly have The Loafer in common. Otherwise, I'm an Athlete (golf and table tennis, but not a "fan") and The Volunteer (at our community college).