Saturday, May 13, 2017

8 Things to Love About Retirement

There is no doubt we have some issues to face when we retire. We may have money problems or health problems. Our relationships with friends and family are likely to change, we may experience episodes of boredom or loneliness.

Some people wonder what they will do with all their extra time. They fear they’ll become irrelevant, or that they’ll feel aimless or out of sorts. And that’s why retirees should make some decisions about what is important to them so they can plan out the future and appreciate retirement for the exceptional opportunity that it really is.

So think of the opportunities that present themselves in retirement. It’s no coincidence that studies have shown people tend to be happiest when they are in their 60s and 70s – when work responsibilities have been shed, when the kids have grown up and are on their own, when everyday stress levels seem to melt away like the spring snows.

Of course, different people appreciate different aspects of retirement. Do you have some special reasons of your own? Here are a few mine.


1. We're free of the drug of ambition. I spent a lot of my working life competing with my colleagues, pushing for a raise, angling for a promotion – all in the pursuit of getting ahead, because that’s what American are supposed to do. But now I no longer care if I get promoted, no longer have to jockey for a better title or an office with a window. A big weight is lifted from your shoulders when you quit the rat race. It’s the freedom that many retirees appreciate so much – freedom from the pressure to get ahead at work, to get your kid into college, to keep up with the neighbors.

          2. We have time to appreciate culture. You might have been too busy with career and kids to follow some of the great  movie directors like Alfred Hitchcock, Woody Allen, Robert Altman. Now you can go on Netflix or Amazon – or borrow DVDs from the library -- and enjoy some of the great stories of our time. There’s also time to keep up with current programming, or just to read a book. B has belonged to a book club for years. Now I finally have the time to read a biography or a novel, and sit around to talk about it. The latest book on my reading list is News of the World, getting ready for my next meeting over at our senior center.

3. You can still work part time. Just because you’re retired doesn’t mean you can’t pick up a job here and there. I still get an occasional assignment from my old company. B, who retired from the library last September, is now back working there one day a week. A friend of mine took a part-time job as a checker at our local grocery store; another works three days a week at the public golf course. There are many possibilities, but no obligations.

4. We babysit our grandchildren. We just had our first grandchild, and so like many retirees we look forward to the opportunity to get to know our grandchildren, spend time with them, and hopefully create deep and lasting memories with them – memories that will last long after we are gone.

5. There’s time to give back. To be honest, I didn’t do much volunteering when I was working. I didn’t coach Little League or belong to the Lions. But now I have found my niche as a volunteer tutor at our community college, and I find it enormously rewarding to share my knowledge and skills with young, sometimes-disadvantaged kids who so obviously appreciate my efforts.

6. We can go whenever we want.  B flies midweek to see her son and saves a lot of money. We drive during non-rush hours. We feel free to go out to dinner at 5 p.m. Or, we can stay out late because we don’t have to go to work the next morning.  Personally, I’m not a big traveler. But plenty of retirees are, and they make bucket lists that include trips to the Grand Canyon or the Empire State Building, to the Pyramids or the Great Wall of China.

7. We have the time to do nothing. Finally … there’s time to enjoy the pleasure of sitting on the front porch or the back deck and soak up the atmosphere, reflecting on your life and enjoying the cool breezes wafting across your face.

8. We can do what we want, instead of what other people want us to do. In retirement there are no more expectations. You no longer have to please your parents, or support your kids. You can move to the city, or the country. You can write a book, trace your ancestry, take up a new hobby. No matter how well-financed you may or may not be, you can live the lifestyle of the truly wealthy – you can do what you want and answer to nobody.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Only if your health holds out, I got really ill Monday and in the e/r and the doctor was nice and all only ordered about 60 tests, which I refused I felt better and got out of dodge as quickly as I could..Then to see my regular doctor and got lots of tests which were ordered, my blood pressure is soaring for whatever reason it seems to be unkown to all including me..Resting and taking it easy, we have hmo insurance but I bet the e/r visit will be a doozie so I did not get any tests, but felt better knowing I would not die in our home..If one's health goes south you can not do lots of great things, if not you just die in this country no insurance no health whatsoever and many will not be able to get insurance due to the present potus..I meant to day your health is your wealth without any health insurance a person will suffer a lot and could pass from this earth..I have been active and helpful my whole life, never put much stock into making the promotions and making money have a tiny pension and social security, we live simply always have done that..but the abysmal state of our nation certainly depressed the living hell out of me, I can no longer watch tv and only listen to public radio stations, don't want my blood pressure to rise any further....getting old is not for sissies whatsoever~!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Jono said...

Those are the finer points I am looking forward to. Thanks for the reminder.

Jane said...

I tell people it's like being a teenager, with money and freedom. I enjoyed the post.

Janette said...

You hit all of the things I appreciate the most about our retirement.

Red said...

When people retire they should have some general plans. If you don't have plans many organizations will come calling for you services. Volunteering is satisfying but don't get taken advantage of.

DJan said...

I tell people that I used to work, and now I work out. I get to the gym several times a week, take two yoga classes every week, and hike with the Senior Trailblazers from the local senior center every Thursday. I love my life, and I also volunteer. And I agree with Anonymous: it all changes if you lose your health, so I try my best to eat healthy and keep my weight under control. :-)

joared said...

I value having more freedom to do as much, or as little as I prefer in my daily life. Certainly, many pressures are relieved that were encountered when I worked. Those were lessened when I chose how much I worked and choice of working environment those years, until recently, when I worked only part time. A down side for me can be that without some of those same pressures, having deliberately slowed my pace, I sometimes think I should be accomplishing more, but it's so easy to just do little or nothing as I please.

I'm reminded occasionally how fragile health and life can be, that I'm not getting any younger, and I really should make better use of my time while I'm able. I've not done nearly all the things I thought I might, as some of them lost importance to me when I finally had the time needed to indulge them.

I think the view of retirement is governed to some extent by health considerations -- or to a great deal for some people. Certainly the perspective alters if one or the other of the partners has health issues or a different outlook, and definitely when one is left alone. Meanwhile, live as though we're going to be around forever, even though we know life is finite. Make plans! Do things!

Sally Wessely said...

You summed up the reasons to love retirement quite well. Now that I'm retired, I sure am glad that I don't have to go back and live life again as a 40 year old striving to get retirement. Nice post.

retirementreflections said...

Congratulations on your first grandchild, Tom. I totally agree with your eight points. Great post!

Tabor said...

While I always tried to be true to myself, I have found retirement really frees me to not care about anything that anyone thinks anymore!

gigihawaii said...

Good points. David always says that by quitting his job, he added 20 years to his life.

Anonymous said...

Well, I guess I am one who would have to disagree somewhat. I have "officially" been retired for four years. I did finish my PhD and now have a good job at the local community college. I have never lost the addiction for competition and I sorely miss it. I really do miss the workplace environment, my work friends who are still in the throws of angling for that next job. And I admit I like the trappings of power that I miss with retirement. I've had it with book clubs and dumb crafts. Don't like to volunteer. I like the competition of the work place. In retirement you are not playing the game but viewing it as a spectator. I never liked watching games, only playing them.

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Denise said...

Yes, I agree with almost all of those (esp. the grandkids) but I don't feel I can volunteer as long as my mother is living. She's an hour away and I never know when there's a crisis, and I drive over once a week just because. BUT, I love being able to read and watch the movies on Netflix when I can.....or just whatever I want to do. The pool is opening this week and we all gather around it so I'll have plenty of interaction. Retirement is 90% awesome, and the rest, well, we all have something!

Wisewebwoman said...

Health is wealth as granny said. It's everything and not taken for granted. I like this time to just Be and not Do. Doing nothing is a skill worth perfecting.
I love my time being mayor of my town, wring, workshops, Airbnb hosting and knitting. All stuff I love.

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