The best thing about retirement is not working. It may sound obvious, but not as much as you think. Not these days when many people either start a new career when they “retire,” or need to take some kind of crappy job to supplement social security which isn’t enough to live on.

There are plenty of other life changes that come with retirement. Not working is only one of them, but it’s my favorite. Pity it means giving up a steady paycheck, but if you can do it … not working is wonderful. It’s particularly wonderful for those of us who have hobbies and never had the time to pursue them while we worked.

After you stop working, you never know what you will be doing in the future, but you know what you won’t be doing.

You won’t be slaving long hours for an unappreciative boss.Getting up at the crack of dawn to scrape ice from the windshield. Driving 60 miles through bumper-to-bumper traffic to be restless and bored for 10 hours. Then getting back in the car and driving another sixty miles in the other direction in the dark when you’re already beat. You may well be perpetually short of money, but you won’t be fighting traffic or grinding your teeth wondering if you’re going to get dumped for a younger, cheaper worker. Discover your job’s been eliminated to improve someone’s bottom line.

You never have to call in sick again, not because you are really sick or if you need a day to take care of a child, business, or just a day off.

Ever learn you’ve lost your job by reading the headlines in the newspaper? I did. Twice. It takes the savor out of that morning brew.


Retirement is the good part of being older. It’s the payoff. You get to own your life. For most of us, it’s the first time we’ve been free.

When you’re a child, everyone owns you. Parents, teachers, strangers. You have to be clever, sneaky and lucky to get to do what you want. Then you go to college and work — often both at the same time — and your boss and professors own you. Deadlines, time clocks and ambition drive you  onward to goals you believe will make you happy. Maybe they will — for a while. Then again, maybe not as much as you thought or hoped.

You marry. Have children. And find yourself treading water in an ocean of obligations and responsibility. Children are a lifelong committment. Long after your legal responsibility ends, your emotional responsibility continues. You want to be there for your kids, then your grandkids. That’s the way it should be.

If you don’t have to work while you do it? It’s better. Much better. Did you know half the kids in the U.S. are being raised by grandparents? Parents are busy with work or whatever — unable, unwilling or unfit — to raise their own.  There are lots worse things that can happen to a kid than being raised by gramps and gran, but many of us find ourselves reliving the parenting years just when we though we’d finished with all that. Being retired makes parenting much less stressful.  You get to stay home. You aren’t imprisoned by commuting and The Schedule. You can finally take a trip to the zoo, help with homework. Play a game, talk about life. There’s time for fun, not just work.


If you aren’t taking care of grandchildren? You have the gift of time and it’s no small thing. Be a blogger. Be a photographer. Sleep late. Stay up till the wee hours watching movies, reading, writing the novel you always wanted to write but never had time. Rediscover music. Join a choir. Retired people are busy people. I’ve been retired for quite a while and I have yet to be bored.

Do I miss work?

I miss the salary. Every once in a while, I miss the camaraderie of a good office environment. But most offices weren’t all that great. Many were thoroughly unpleasant.

I served my time. Whatever I have left, long or short, belongs to me and mine.

YeahRight Link

Categories: Humor, Life, Money, reflection

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

30 replies

  1. Enjoy it! I loved the photos. I want to be sitting on that porch in one of those gorgeous chairs, rocking away with my cup of coffee.


  2. Enjoyed your post, perhaps even moreso after reading some of the comments. Take care of yourself and continue to find the beauty!


  3. Someday I hope to own my own life. My biggest fear is that I never will.


  4. I kinda think maybe you just bullied me. You don’t work, I do. You don’t have to, I do. I bet you’re thin, too.


    • Huh? I stopped working because I was too sick to go on. I was thin. Very thin. Nearly died of starvation. Now I’m not what anyone could call thin. But that was because of the drugs for cancer. They do a real number on your metabolism. Now, aside from pneumonia, I’ve got a bad heart valve and cardiomyopaty. Oh, did I mention I can’t afford my heart surgery? As I said, I really enjoy not working. But it’s not like I could even if I wanted to. I didn’t get to choose my future. Most of us don’t get to choose. I make the best of what I have. I look for the good parts, try to find things to be happy about. Or, I could sit around complaining about the unfairness of it all, how my husband and I worked for a combined 75 years and ended up poor. Not temporarily short of money. Poor as in not enough money for medication or food. Wondering if we’ll have a roof over our heads a few months from now. Everybody else’s life looks great if you don’t have to walk in their shoes.


  5. Sigh……
    You captured how it feels not to punch the clock anymore (I’m retired too). The time I got let go I was two months pregnant with my second child. Not optimal. It’s nice not having outside stuff hanging over my head. Family stuff does but that’s what my life’s for now. Love the pics!


    • There’s the good parts — time and not working — and the hard part, like poverty for a lot of us. Family stuff is good even when it’s bad. Because it means you’re still alive and involved. Even when it hurts.


  6. My husband and I can’t WAIT to retire! The gift of time is something we’ve never really had, and we are very much looking forward to it.


  7. I don’t count on retirement for myself. Too many factors working against it in my case. However, you describe the misery of work just the way I experienced it – which is why when I got laid off (again), I decided to go freelance. Life is much more palatable this way. 🙂
    But it sounds heavenly. 🙂 So glad you get to enjoy it!


    • Freelance is definitely the next best thing to retirement. If you are a little bit lucky, it can take you a long way and still let you have a life. Kind of the best of both worlds.


  8. I love your pictures, first of all. You are a very talented photographer! I too am “retired” by way of disability, and although I didn’t put in nearly as much time into the workforce as you have, I can’t say I miss it. Yes, money is tight, but that is about the only negative to it. I need to find some more hobbies to keep me busy, but it sounds like you have it figured out!


    • Warning flash flash — We NEVER have it all figured. There’s always a bomb ticking and waiting to go off. Don’t be deluded. I’m constantly fighting to keep food on the table and a roof over our head, I keep myself busy, but I’m sick an awtul lot. I’m terribly glad not to work, but life is difficult. I try to keep positive. But sometimes, it isn’t easy.


  9. Jealous. Just jealous. I’m certain it’s a well earned retirement, though.


  10. I retired 3 years ago when we moved to NJ. I thought I’d just not work for 6 months. But here I am, still retired. Of course, I’m still crazy busy with kids and stuff. But I don’t miss much about the day job.


  11. Amen. “Paid my dues,” “served my time.” We can’t afford to be retired, and DH has zero plan of doing so anyhow — he loves working. Perhaps it’s simply different for men and women, but for sure, women are stretched to the max long before retirement age. Again i say, “Paid my dues, served my time! Amen!” We’ll at least emotionally be moms and grandmas ’til we die, yes, but as you say, that’s okay!


  12. I left a full time job fourteen years ago; I worried about the money but the job was making me so stressed that I couldn’t bear to be there any more. I could only find part time work, then we moved to Tasmania and the only job I could find was casual and even fewer hours a week. Then I hurt my back and couldn’t do that type of work any more. The funny thing is that every time I’ve moved down the income ladder I’ve been less frightened about it. We are surviving, we live in a beautiful place and I value my freedom to do other things like hobbies and volunteer work. I am happy.


  13. I’m an oddball in that I working a 9 to 5. I have no idea where I picked up that trait– the rest of my family are free birds, 🙂 If they aren’t self-employed, then they work schedules of their own making.

    It is interesting to think how much of our lives are dedicated to others, without our consent necessarily! I loved the truth and perspective of this, Marilyn. Great post! 🙂


    • Thank you! I worked 9-5 or more for over 35 years. I didn’t think much about it. That was the was it was. But after I stopped? Whoa. A different world opened up. Surprise!


  14. Love your post & pics. The 2nd photo looks like my worst nightmare, the 3rd pic is stunning.! Yes there are many benefits in being free to pursue the hobbies you enjoy,
    My dad’s just about to retire, & I know he’s worried about it. I think ill send him the link to your post for a bit of encouragement. 🙂 x


  15. Happy rockers! You are too funny. I agree. I am never bored either. The boat photo is wonderful.


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