Why Retire?

work-retireHave you ever thought about retirement? Do you know what retirement is or why so many people look forward to it? Retirement is supposed to be that time in your life when you put aside your working career and try to maintain a lifestyle of leisure and pleasure. It’s a time to relax and do things for the enjoyment of doing them. I worked in my career for 40 years to get to where I am today.

I’m retired.

During those years I was paid for the work I did. I had paid vacations; paid holidays; and even an occasional weekend off. However, when I retired, I found out that retirement was like having a 24×7 job that you don’t get paid for; there’s no paid vacation; holidays are like any other day; and if that’s not enough, there’s little difference between a weekend and a week day! That means you lose your TGIF bliss. So I ask you, Why would anyone want to retire?

Enjoyment vs. Escape
goldfish jumpPeople retire for many reasons, though if you ask them, they will admit it was simply to escape. Escape from their job. Escape from the stress. Escape from their commute. Escape from the alarm clock. How do you feel about your job? Is it something you want to Escape from?

Mark Twain told us that if you find a job you enjoy, you’ll never have to work a day in your life. For those of you who do enjoy your job, I want to apologize if all this talk about retirement is boring you. For the rest of us, I think it’s safe to say that when we chose our career, it was not for the enjoyment.

Most people will put money, security, or prestige ahead of enjoyment. That, my friends is pretty sad. I’m not saying that it’s wrong, but by doing so, you’ve all but guaranteed that you will want to retire some day ­ like me! Fear not, retirement is not that bad. In fact, retirement has some really good times. For instance, when I wake up and realize that I don’t have to go to work ­ that is a fantastic feeling. I enjoy it so much, I do it again and again ­ All before noon time.

Dusting Off Our Passions
old skateboarderNow my retirement did not start out like that. No. When my day came and I got my walking papers, I jumped for joy and said “I’m retired. I’m retired.” Then it hit me. What am I going to do now? What do you do when you retire? What can you do? My answer is to search your soul for that passionate feeling. Look for something that would give you pleasure just by doing it. Then bring it into your daily life.

I remembered that when I was 6 years old and in kindergarten, I loved to finger paint. By second grade, my artwork looked like Picasso’s stuck to the refrigerator door. And by fourth grade I was doing paint by numbers. Now, I design and create artistic puzzles out of wood and I teach an art class to high school students. When I was a teenager, I built model cars. I subscribed to Hot Rod magazine. And I rebuilt the engine in my first car. Now, I have an old car in my garage that I tinker with. I take it to cruise nights and my wife and I take it for rides in the country. When I was in my 20’s, I got hooked on magic. I learned that if I enjoyed it and my audience enjoyed it, it was a win win activity. Now I perform at hospitals, nursing homes, charitable fund raisers, and soup kitchens. What about you? What do you plan to do in retirement? What personal activities come to mind when you think of words like joy, happy, or good times? Do something for the joy of it and it will reward you with satisfaction, good health, a sense of pride, and a happy disposition. You can volunteer for a noble cause and it will pay you back ten­fold.

For those of you who will retire some day, remember, it’s a 24×7 job that you’ll have to fill. Fill it with enjoyable activities. And don’t forget ­ leisure and pleasure. Whether retirement is in your future or not, bring those passionate feelings into your life now and enjoy them now, while you can. And if retirement is so far off that you can’t begin to think of it, search for that enjoyable job. Because if you find it, when your day comes you’ll be saying “Retire?” ­ “Why retire?”

About Richard O'Shea

Ex software engineer from banking and brokerage industry. Now retired and enjoying it.
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