Are You Ready for Retirement?
November 10, 2007
Several friends agree with me that retirement is the very definition
of Nirvana. No longer chained to a desk and a clock, to someone
watching over us, to a routine rut of a schedule, to specified
vacation times, we are limited only by our imagination of the
possibilities awaiting us. Or if we are so inclined, we can simply
feel lazy for the day, snug in our bathrobes until noon.
And the luxury of running errands, doing laundry, attacking home
repairs, cleaning our house, or scheduling doctor appointments
can now be done at a civilized time; namely, during regular business
hours. No longer forced to give up our lunch hour to run to the
dentist, or relegating precious weekend hours for our chores,
we can spread all of these tasks out at a pace that suits our
Then there is the opportunity to discover what we would do if
we had the chance to do it. Gardening, writing, traveling, book
clubs, plays, local political involvement, volunteer work, helping
out more with family and friends, getting on a steady exercise
program, cooking, learning a musical instrument - the choices
available are so many as to appear limitless.
Perhaps that is why many people freeze up at the idea of being
free from routine. At least the routine is familiar and requires
no introspection on whether or not we are interesting enough if
we were set free to pursue anything we want. There are many people
who shudder at the mere idea of eight hours to fill up every day.
Believing they have no interests or hobbies or talent, they imagine
themselves staring at four walls in utter despair as their sense
of identity has been taken away from them. No longer can they
call themselves accountant, teacher, banker or secretary. When
visiting a doctor, what do they put in the box for occupation?
Do they write Retired, Nothing, or simply draw a line through
it? Do all of these options make us appear to be a worthless non-contributor
They may worry that they will interfere with the established
routine of their spouse who may already be retired. Or they may
feel guilty sleeping in when their spouse still awakens early
to go off to work as the sole breadwinner.
All of these misgivings can bring on an excessive amount of unnecessary
stress. Relax. You dont have to have your retirement days
planned out in advance. Thats the whole point of retirement;
you can take your time, tread cautiously if that is your style,
and just awaken each day to see what you will do to fill it up.
Things can suddenly appear that you can take advantage of, simply
because you now have the time to do so. Cleaning out your garage
could find you imagining a new enterprise where you offer organizing
services to others. Cooking your favorite soup could lead to the
idea of hosting a soup-tasting party.
Someone once said that no one on their death bed ever regretted
not having spent more time at the office. And youll do fine
if you keep in mind what my friend said to colleagues who asked
her what she planned on doing in her upcoming retirement.
Answering with a droll, lopsided grin, "Everything I need
to do and anything I want to do."