Home   Google ARCHIVE SEARCH: Date:

Are You Ready for Retirement?

By Jill Chapin

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 whims.

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 to society?

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 don’t have to have your retirement days planned out in advance. That’s 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 you’ll 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."





The Hunger Site

Cooking Classes
in Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires B&B

Calitri in southern Italy

L' Aquila in Abruzzo

Health Insurance Quotes


Bruce Brugmann's


Civic Center

Dan Noyes

Greg Dewar

Griper Blade


Malik Looper






MetroWize Urban Guide

Michael Moore

N Judah Chronicles


Robert Solis

SF Bay Guardian





SFWillie's Blog



Sweet Melissa