Retirement is better than childhood. You don’t work as a child, but they make you go to school — which can be as bad and sometimes, worse. Moreover, childhood is prepping for the work of your future. Other people set your schedule and tell you what to eat, drink, and wear. Now, retirement? No school, unless you feel like doing it. No one sets your schedule or tells you what to wear.
In your working years, you grow increasingly tired until one day, you look in a mirror. “Self,” you say. “I can’t do this anymore.”
“I could retire,” you point out to you. “I could pack it in, take the money” and as you think this, a little bell ding-a-lings deep in your mental recesses … a bell labeled “What money?” Have you sat with HR to find out what kind of money there is in your retirement fund? Do you have a retirement fund? 401 K?
“And anyway,” you continue, “There is Social Security, right? I’ve worked hard my entire life. Surely there’s enough in there to sustain life?”
So begins the intricate dance by which you detach yourself from the working world and figure out from whence all paychecks will come in the future. Ultimately, you slide into a place where long-deferred pleasures await you. Hobbies are now your primary activity. You have free time that is truly free. Pity about the lack of a paycheck, but most of us feel that the insane freedom of retirement is a pretty good trade-off.
You get up when you like. Go to bed when you feel like it. Sleep late as often as possible. Read all night till the sun come up. Watch old movies until sleep pulls you into darkness. You can blog, read, and write your memoirs. Travel if money and your physical conditions allows. Most of us, after some initial confusion, settle down and discover that retirement is very good. With its restrictions, issues, and whatever … it’s very good. The best.
Barring ill-health — and don’t we wish we could bar ill-health — is far better than working no matter what your income because you don’t have a boss telling you what to do. Better than the years of raising children because you are no long a slave to the whims of your spoiled darlings who hopefully, have flown the coop and now nest elsewhere. With luck, they won’t fly back, bringing a birdie spouse and all the fledglings.
Would I work anyway if I had the option? Return to an office? Deadlines? Doing what I’m told or face the consequences? Schedules, on the job and off? Endless commutes? Taking ten minutes to get a sandwich, then wolfing it down while seated at the computer to the accompaniment of acid reflux?
No. I think not.