How hard can it be to retire? Isn’t that what people look forward to after decades of toiling? No more creepy supervisors, weird co-workers, or nasty back pain. Instead, vacations forever, exciting hobbies, golf at last, honeymoons long-delayed, fulfilling volunteer work, cruising the seven seas, time with the grandkids.
Okay, I’m talking through my hat (English for speaking nonsense) since I’ve never had any such plans. Being unmarried without children, the stereotypical retirement fantasies don’t apply to me. I enjoyed work as a self-employed educator who set his own hours, published books and completed graduate work, travelled freely, lived on an island, and enjoyed the good life.
Then, about ten years ago, after completing a doctorate I thought would propel me into my next career phase, I stopped working. No big bang, just a sense that I was done. And then what? To this day I’m still waiting for retirement to kick in. My finances are reasonably ensured, I’m in decent health, with good friends, meaningful volunteer work and a spiritual practice — and still I am waiting. Waiting for what, I couldn’t say. The only clue is a persistent voice from within, nagging me about being lazy and unproductive.
Found this in an old medical journal today: [W]e as physicians in caring for our aging population … require to know, not only the diseases which affect the aged, but also, the various requirements of the older group for a happy, zestful, useful later life … .
Happy, zestful, and useful, eh? What is it I’m not seeing? Anyone?
source: Robson, R.B. (1950). Retirement problems. Canad. M. A. J. , 63, 457-461. image: http://www.alsimmons.com