Retirement Does Not Mean Slowing Down
My dictionary says ‘retirement’ is ‘ceasing to work upon reaching retirement age’ although as a writer that is something that I am never going to do because I love my job. ‘Retire’ also means withdrawing … as in ‘she withdrew from the conversation to smell the roses in the garden’, and even ‘the army retired in confusion and was routed from the battlefield’. Is retirement the end of productive life then? Do we slink away and become mere shadows of ourselves? I say no.
When You Die, How Will You Be Missed?
The grumpy Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw called a spade a shovel and probably a few other things when he tripped over one. He believed that, ‘we have no more right to consume happiness without producing it, than to consume wealth without producing it.’ I really like that! Continuing to contribute is the secret to happiness after we cease working formally, but it is contributing in different ways.
Why Should I Work after Retirement? I Have Earned My Rest
That depends on how long you hope to sit in a rocking chair in the sun letting your remaining years slip through your fingers. We baby boomers are a dedicated lot, and for many of us working became our life purpose. If we have nothing to look forward to, then life after retirement can seem over and not worth living. You may have earned your right to stop working in the formal sector. To cash in the benefits and get a return on your investment, you need something to keep you moving forward. That something is producing more than you consume, and I wrote this article to encourage you to do so.
Of course, there may be other reasons why we need to continue being productive. Some of us burned our fingers on the stock markets, and most of us do not have an extended family to rely on as did our grandparents. Some of us were a bit too happy-and-go-lucky and never put enough away. As we live longer and the Big 90 looms on the horizon, most of us are going to find our pensions grow inadequate as inflation nibbles away at them. The question is, what is best to do?
The Chinese teacher and philosopher Confucius concluded, ‘Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life’. There is no one jobs fits all and I do not have a panacea tucked away under my keyboard. My only observation is, think laterally. I was once an industrial engineer where everything was three-dimensionally factual. We can reinvent ourselves. Life herded many of us down wrong career paths. We must reinvent ourselves and take living to the next level.
What, Then is Your Life’s Task Now?
The depth of talent in Ottawa retirement centres never ceases to amaze me as I continue my search for the perfect place to live. Every place I visit is brimming over with seniors with such a wealth of life experience that it astounds me. We baby boomers are the lucky ones. I believe we were the first Canadian generation that grew up with a comprehensive education system, and wholesome food in our tummies. It saddens me that despite this there are still deprived children in poor neighbourhoods, and oldies who do not have a decent place to lay their heads down to sleep.
If you have spare time on your hands – and this is just a suggestion – consider doing something for those that are less privileged? The money is there but there are few labourers in the field. Perhaps something is calling you to continue your career. Maybe there is an opportunity out there that is totally different and waiting just for you?
Ought We to Be Paid for Helping Others in Retirement?
My response is a resounding yes. The labourer is worthy of their hire. Furthermore, experience taught me that people who give their time for nothing get less appreciation and their time and talents are sometimes wasted. Charge for your time at a rate the organization can manage. If you can afford to pass the money on to another deserving cause then you can do that.
Retirement does not mean slowing down. We have no right to happiness unless we give out more than we take in. Retirement is not sitting in a rocking chair in the sun. Retirement is returning the joy life gave us when we were young. Retirement is finally shaking off the layers society added to us, and walking towards a new dawn rich with possibilities.