Dreaming of retirement? Apparently you can make all those dreams come true if you read articles about retirement.
But most of them address only the financial aspect of this stage of life, it seems to me.
My mind’s been roaming and roving around on a tangent about this milestone in life because I have a friend who recently retired. What sounds like bliss to the rest of us, who still must endure the daily grind, isn’t exactly idyllic to her, and she is struggling with the day-to-day aspect of retirement. I know she will eventually discover her way on this path because she is one smart cookie. But for now, retirement is a considerable adjustment for her.
I remember when my father retired. My mother, who was a stay-at-home mother and homemaker extraordinaire, confessed to me that Dad was driving her nuts! He was accustomed to a job that kept him “on the go” all day; Mom was used to her daily routine at home which did not involve jumping in the car at the drop of a hat to “go somewhere.” It took some time, but soon they adjusted to this new phase of their lives.
I’m the “baby” of my family, the youngest of three sisters. My oldest sister and brother-in-law just retired. They closed the doors of their business with finality and for now are traveling around the country in their RV and enjoying time with their children and grandchildren. They are deliberating about spending winters in Arizona and perhaps heading back here to the homeland for summer time.
My other sister and brother-in-law are also living the “easy life.” After years of hard work, they are taking pleasure in this time of relaxation and respite. They keep busy with hobbies, interests, and friends and seem content doing so. They have a first grandchild due to make an entry into the family near the end of this year, so they will be morphing into grandparent-hood shortly.
My hubby and I are not approaching retirement age quite yet. Matter of fact, the economic prognosis in our country right now makes retirement for us seem like an almost unobtainable goal, remotely existing in the distant future. I just researched a government website for information on when you can retire and take full social security retirement benefits. For most of us baby boomers, the magic age is 66. For my hubby, who is only one year younger than me, it is 66 plus two months. Of course, you can retire earlier if you want, you just don’t receive full benefits. Hubby and I pessimistically think by the time we are ready to retire, social security will be insolvent, and we’ll probably get nothing. Sounds dismal, doesn’t it?
I suppose that’s why a good portion of retirement advice dwells on finances. But it also occurs to me that many of these article writers assume everyone wants to live “lifestyles of the rich and famous.” Do they all suppose we want to sell our current homes and retire to some exotic island where we can purchase a villa — smaller of course than what they think we own now, but way more expensive? They must believe we desire to travel “around the world in 80 days” and then do it again every year after that.
Of course, I believe if you have the money, the inclinations, and good health in your retirement years, why not live it up? You deserve to enjoy that period of your life.
But if you are anything like me, you might just want to live a simple life instead. Sure, throw in a couple of fun trips to wherever you’ve always dreamed of visiting. But for the most part, enjoy the freedom to indulge in your hobbies and interests. Enjoy spending time with your family. Enjoy friends. Give back by volunteering at some place that really needs your help and expertise. Learn something new. Share your godly wisdom you learned on this journey in life with those who can benefit from it. Teach your grandchildren things they won’t otherwise learn.
There’s a wacky study, performed by some psychologists from one of those places in academia, that says retirees do not find their happiness spending time with their children and grandchildren. I say, “Bunk!”
Naturally, I don’t adhere to the belief that your progeny should provide your only source of happiness, but I do think we gain much, much joy from our family ties. So I don’t think retirement should be time for complete self-absorption.
To me, retirement is your time to spread your wings and fly if you can. But also ground yourself from time to time with those you love the most on this earth. This Mama is hopeful that once retirement comes for us, the empty nest will still be open, waiting to be filled up from time to time with young birds’ visits and maybe someday, grandbaby birdies too.