Saturday, December 27, 2014

Re-tire-ment





The online etymology dictionary tells us this about the word "retirement":
  
retire (v.)
1530s, of armies, "to retreat," from Middle French retirer "to withdraw (something)," from re- "back" + old French tirer "to draw" (see tirade).  

Meaning "to withdraw" to some place, especially for the sake of privacy, is recorded from 1530s; sense of "leave an occupation" first attested 1640s (implied in retirement).  Meaning "to leave company and go to bed" is from the 1660s.  

I suppose retirement is a little of all those things.  Now, with nearly a full year under my belt, I wish I had volumes of wise thoughts and profound suggestions for those of you a year or a decade or several decades from retirement.  Heck, I'd settle for being able to provide a few words of wisdom, but, unfortunately, deeper wisdom isn't something I can claim as a result of retirement.

I have retreated a bit.  But to an introvert, that's not only natural, but it feels welcoming as well.  Withdraw?  I suppose.  Though I would prefer the word "redraw" if there's such a word...as in redrawing priorities.  

What have I missed...being retired and all?  

I would quickly say the "social" side of being employed.  It likely makes some people smile, and others cringe, to realize and be comfortable with the fact that the majority of your life is spent with your co-workers.  Your waking life anyway.  If you do the math, you've got at least eight hours a day "at work," eight hours a day sleeping, and then the rest of the time is divided between non-work friends and social activities, traveling (sometimes for work) and family.  And let me be quick to say that spending the time with these "work people" isn't a bad thing.  I'd argue that much of who you are at the end of your work life is molded by these folks - your work family.  That will be where the majority of your memories lie, like it or not.

What else have I missed?

Well...the paycheck was pretty darn nice.  I realize that many of you work for the sheer pleasure of it.  Me?  I worked for the moolah.  Fortunately, I enjoyed what I did, so getting paid for something you enjoy doing is definitely a blessing.

What else?

A sense of productivity.  Which, I readily admit, can be satisfactorily replaced if I get off my rear end and do some or all of the things I said I was going to do when I retired.  But, let me say this, it's been nice to be lazy.  To have no goals to hit.  To have no objectives to meet or exceed.  To have no responsibility toward anyone but myself and those close to me.  I figure that I owed myself a year of that.

There is one thing I can tell you without hesitation.  And this is something that has been percolating for the entire first year of my retirement.  Something that has risen to the surface in all its glory and splendor.  (the caveat here is that I don't expect any of you to accept this at my face value...you'll probably have to experience it for yourselves.)  It's not deep.  It's not wise.  It's just fact.  

It is a waste of good brain cells to worry about whether you will have "enough money." You likely will, and, if you don't, folks are standing in line to hire the cheapest labor known in modern times:  Baby Boomer retirees.  What you will come to realize is that your continuing prayer will be that you will have enough time.  Enough time to, in a fully unencumbered way, enjoy waking each morning to a fresh day...a brand new number on the calendar...a newly printed lease on life, with the ink still wet and glistening like morning dew.  Enough time to laugh at the silly things that you once thought were so serious and important.  Enough time to radiate in the smiles of friends and family.  Enough time to curl up with a good book; take long, ground-grabbing strides though the woods or along the river; hold tightly to the hand of someone you love; or sit quietly at the ocean or atop a ridge or in a comfortable chair and just luxuriate in the glory of God.

Let me repeat...it ain't about the money.  It's about the time.  

Instead of dollars and cents, make my currency days and months and years.

One more thing.  If you're really up for a challenge, go and ahead and start practicing some of those retirement activities now...you know, the ones that don't require a red cent to enjoy.  And that bring priceless joy to your life.  Go ahead and practice a little unencumberedness.  It'll give you a leg up when your retirement genie knocks on the door.  

Sort of a preview of coming distractions.

Happy New Year - all.