Retirement

Something to look forward to, and yet as the day arrives, it is dreaded. This is the job/career that helped me to define myself. It gave me skills and opportunities to improve my writing, editing and people skills. I learned how to plan, change plans on the fly, meet the needs to 29 people in the same room at the same time. I can stand in front of an audience and not even flinch. But say,  “Retirement” and I’m flinching.  I feel round in a square hole. It is time to let go of myself, my self-definition, my expectations. A friend described retirement like a train ride. You’ve been riding this train for 30 years and it is now in the station, you are directed to get off. The train pulls away and you’re left in a foreign place, not knowing the expectations or the rules. My aunt said retirement was permission to do what she’d been waiting a lifetime to do. What am I going to give myself permission to do? 

Now that I’m retired, people tell me to act my age. Inside, I’m 21 years old! I think rock climbing and ziplining are magnificent activities! And now I have time! But people are afraid of the fragile looking body that somehow has become me. It isn’t fair! I worked hard while I was young so I could finally have time to do the things I want to, and now the body is tired.

What have I been waiting a lifetime to do? That is the question that haunts me. What will I really do with my time now that I’ve retired, now that I don’t have a daily commitment to making a living? I have all these skills I’ve honed through the years, what can I do with them? And the other question that haunts me concerns income. Will there be enough to do anything close to what I want to do? Will I be able to afford to continue to live in my own home or will I end up a dependent of my children?

I have definite political opinions that have been sneaking out of my mouth lately. Is this because of age? Death of the executive functioning of my brain?  Or is it because I feel I don’t have anything to lose! I’m retired! I don’t have to be politically correct any more in order to keep my job. The more I hear about the “American Health Care Act” and what Congress wants to do with Social Security, I feel like I’ve been robbed! If Social Security were the retirement fund for any company, the company would have been taken to court and severely fined for mismanagement and stealing of employee funds. Am I getting paranoid in my “old age”?

I realize that I am one of hundreds of thousands who are faced with these same questions, doubts, worries, fears every day. And that millions of people before me have managed this new station in life and lived quite well and happily. Retirement is not a dirty word. It is just a word that people whisper because they don’t want it to catch up to them. It caught up with me; I’m not whispering anymore.      

So here I am, redefining myself once again (being someone’s child, a girlfriend, single, getting married, having kids, being a parent, having an empty nest … to name of few of the redefinitions). You’d think that with all the practice I’ve had, this transition would be easy. We’ll see.

One thing I know for sure, I will stand up for my rights. I’m not dead yet; people “my age” control a lot of money and most of us went through the 60s, Vietnam and Nixon. My advice to the world now that I’m “retired” is –

I’m Grandma – Don’t steal from Grandma. It’s bad karma.

Drop me a line! Let me know how you are managing retirement or just the thought of retirement! What is your story? Let’s tell the world we are experienced, not dead.

 

 

Pictures: retrieved from Google Images  

Miller, L. (n.d.) Life after retirement. LinkedIn. Retrieved from Goggle Images.

“1000+ ideas about retirement on Pinterest”. (n.d.) Retirement savings. Pinterest. Retrieved from Google Images

Washington State Department of Financial Institutions. (n.d). Retirement [calendar]. Retrieved from Google Images