Retirement?

A few days ago I mentioned two words that I was looking forward to – retirement eligible. Lately, I have been thinking about retirement in general. At one point in my life, when I was much younger and more naive, I looked at that stage in life very differently than I do now. I thought that one got to the magic retirement day, was awarded the proverbial gold watch, and slipped off into a life of relaxation and perhaps travel, and that may be the case for some.

My grandma (the only grandparent who lived long enough for me to get to know) never retired. She was widowed and left alone with three young children, destined to live a life of hardship as she struggled to raise her children in the Great Depression years. She lived in the same tiny house for the remainder of her years and there was never a formal retirement time.

My father never really retired because he was forced to stop working due to illness and the few years he had left after that point were filled with hardship. He had planned all of his life for retirement, carefully saving and planning, but in the end what should have been his “golden years” were not to be.

My mom, a housewife for most of her life, never retired. During the years that she should have been enjoying life with Dad, she was taking care of him and visiting him in hospital.

My own dreams of retirement are most definitely not of a life filled with leisure. In the same way that young people attend post-secondary school for a number of years to prepare them for the life ahead, that’s how I’m partly considering my experiences right now. I see writing as something I’ll spend a lot of time on in my retirement years, so now I’m taking the time to practice and learn and prepare myself for the day when I can call myself a full-time writer. (Sounds good, doesn’t it?!)

Gerry and I also are spending a lot of time talking about what we what those years to look like. We envision a simpler, more self-sustaining lifestyle in a rural location where our children and grandchildren can spend time with us. I’ve just started reading Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle and I’m vowing that my grandchildren will understand that their vegetables come from farms and gardens not from perfectly manicured displays in a supermarket. I want them to have the opportunity to eat organically grown meat that isn’t pumped full of hormones.

The point is that when I say I am looking forward to being retirement-eligible in four years, it’s not so I can ride away into the sunset and live a life of leisure. Lord willing, it’s so I can begin the next chapter.

Tell me, what does retirement mean to you?

Thanks so much for stopping by. I'm here early most mornings with one of my photos and a few words about life and those thin places where faith intersects.
9 comments
  1. Retirement should come to me in 3 years and 5 months Linda and I am truly looking forward to it. I only hope that I can keep my health reasonable so I am able to enjoy having more free time. Sometimes it scares me because I have been used to earning my own living and retirement will mean a drop in income at a time when I might want to be spending on the grandchildren (I haven't got yet!) I would like to think that I can remain useful for as long as possible.
    I think you have the right ideas in place.
    Blessings, Star

  2. I am looking to start a blog which has the tone of this article in yours. I am a retired physician (1 1/2 years). I love retirement but as you have described– I have not ridden off into the sunset. I have developed the many interests I had my whole life but never had a chance to follow. I have given presentations on my husband's and my travels all over the world, have joined two stamp clubs and given presentations there, attend mind body spirit group, have traveled to 50+ countries, am returning to my piano practice, my gardening, genalogy, etc. As you can see, I don't have time for all my interests, but I am going to start a blog in addition. Signed RenRaeRetired. I think that is going to be its title. Your idea is right on.

  3. You know you are really living, as long as you continue to look forward to the next stage of your life. May the next stage be the best one yet!

  4. Retirement certainly never ended up being anything I had dreamed or planned for.

    My life went from joy and shared retirement plans with my husband. Then I had to retire early due to chronic illness. And then my late husband died quickly and unexpectedly the year he was going to retire.

    But God has blessed me with so much more than I ever imagined. I'm loved by an incredible new husband, living well and fullfilling one dream I never imagined would happen…I'm writing and being published and winning writing contests!

    Keep on dreaming and planning and be open to the unexpected and wonderful blessings along the paths that come your way!

  5. Star – I wish you many blessings and good wishes as you plan for the next phase as well.

    Anonymous – I hope that you will share your blog with us when you get it going. It sounds like you have a lot of interesting things to share!

    Becky – and I wish the same for you, my friend!

    Donna – Despite your trials, how blessed you are in that you can look past them and see the blessings that God has brought!

  6. retirement means a new adventure….

  7. Linda dear,

    I know that I will never retire as long as I am able to continue writing and illustrating. I love my "job," which I consider to be a blessing. It helps me connect with wonderful people everywhere.

    Please visit my new posting. It is all about writing!

    Shron Lovejoy Writes from Sunflower House and a Little Green Island

  8. I haven't gotten far enough in life to give it much thought, not really, but I think you've got the right idea. And I know you'll make it happen.

  9. Retirement seems so far away for us, even though you and I are close to the same age. My husband and I had our kids a bit late and spread out in age. With one still in middle school, I think of retirement with longing, and whatever I'm doing, I picture more time for just the two of us, God willing!

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