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Thoughts about retirement!
What is this thing called retirement? I was in my mid-forties before I even began to think of retirement and even then my thoughts of retirement were not really about retirement, per se. My thoughts about retirement were more in the line of what I would have preferred to be doing instead of the work I was doing. Webster's Encyclopedia of Dictionaries defines the word "retire" as: “to compel one to retire from office; to give up formally one's work or office.”

Having worked since I was a teenager - my first job was as a paper-boy – I have had an assortment of “professions” if you will. Occupations such as baker, stock boy, upholsterer, plastics manufacturing, yarn dying, insurance underwriter, insurance agent, real estate agent, teacher, and student, come to mind. I find the state of "retirement" an interesting one. Most people would expect that retirement means sitting back and enjoying the time that lies ahead by doing whatever one wants given the financial resources available to them upon reaching retirement age. This enjoyment could be in the form of traveling, fishing, climbing Mt. Everest, writing the Great American Novel, or just sitting back in a rocking chair on a porch watching the grass grow. After all, isn’t that the reward one comes to expect out of life for working most of his or her adult life? Aren’t they now entitled to relax? Retirement should mean that a person doesn't have to follow the usual nine-to-five routine they have been doing for the past thirty or forty years of their life.

For those of us that had a "career", our career kept us motivated. While we no longer need to be motivated in retirement, we should continue to have goals. This can be done without having a “schedule” or “routine” to follow. There will always be one more job that needs attending or one more project that must be accomplished because there never seems to be enough time to get them done whether we are working or retired. But, when one is retired, there is a certain satisfaction achieved upon completion of such projects (mending that fence or painting the house). Why? Because you got to do it in your own time, not a time schedule set down for you by someone else.

But what does one do after the odd jobs have been taken care of? After these type jobs have been taken care of, then a person can do whatever they want to or to put it into the words someone once said to me “enjoy your retirement - take it easy - do whatever you want -whenever you want, after all, you have the rest of your life to get it done.”

I guess what needs to be realized here is that even though we "retire", "retirement" in and of itself is a job of our choosing without the nine to five commitment. Retirement should mean more leisure activities and less obligations. Daily chores are a part of life itself, and become an everyday fact of life. Other than our daily chores, all we need to do during retirement is whatever “retirement” activities one has chosen. The nice part about retirement is that there is no timetable to follow. Just as we looked upon getting an education, pursuing a career, and raising a family, as necessary goals during our working years, we should also have goals in our retirement years. Sitting back and “watching the grass grow” once we are retired seems like such a waste of precious time.

We are all blessed with 8,760 hours a year. The difference is in how we make use of them. I am of the opinion that whether one is “working” or “retired”, we should all strive to make those hours count for something. Retirement should "free" us up to pursue new goals be it a hobby, volunteer activity, or whatever so that at the end of the day each of us has a feeling of accomplishment or achievement. Without this, one might wonder - "what am I doing and where am I headed?" Just because we retire from the job doesn't mean we have retired from life and all it has to offer.
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