What is retirement?

Some view this as a magical time of elderly enchantment! A period of time that is often spoken about in private hush-hush circles. An assumed reward for years of hard work and exasperation resulting from the mounting pressures of day-to-day living both personally and professionally.  I prefer to see it as a magical island where old people go to feel young and appreciated.  Where drinks flow freely and dinner is served promptly a 5pm.  I can wear my finest to dinner and a sport jacket to breakfast! Where daily adventures keep me busy and I can relax in flip-flops and beachwear! Oh wait.. That’s a cruise?

Seriously though, what is retirement? It feels as though retirement is a sunset on the horizon.  It’s there, you know it’s there, you can see it with your eyes, but know matter how hard you try, run as fast as you can, you just cant seem to catch it!

But yet we are told constantly we need to prepare for “retirement”. Like Domesday preppers waiting for the great apocalypse we “elders” need to be prepared for every aspect of being retired (kicked out of the workforce)! What am I supposed to do? I am not some crazy whack a doo with an AK-47 and a five-year supply of yams in my basement!  There are no buried cans in my backyard filled with money and penicillin! I am not hoarding gold, and I don’t carry a money belt with specific details to my estate!

Yet, the sad thing is we are bombarded with commercials letting us know that it is right around the corner! And guess what buddy? You are not prepared sir! With the climbing deficit and poverty/unemployment at an all time high you have not adequately prepared yourself for the twilight of your life.  All of this got me to thinking maybe they are right!

Lifetime healthcare!I don’t have it!  Savings? Kids have it all while they are finishing up college! 401K ? Hey now that’s a dirty word in this household! We have PERS (Public Employee Retirement System)!  Ha ha ha ha ha! I laughed really hard typing that one! Thats ok I have social security to fall back on right?  AH NO!  As a public employee I dont recieve Social Security!  Well thank goodness I have an inheritance to keep me safe and secure right? No mummy and daddy left me nothing of monetary value.  Although I value what they gave me in life lessons learned.

What am I to do? WHAT THE HELL AM I TO DO!!! I am slowly starting to panick! Late night TV is not helping either! It has me watching Robert Wagner divulge the secret to reverse mortgages! Oh God! Wilfred Brimley has me worried about whether or not I am going to have diabetes! Oh Geez! Susan Lucci wants my skin to glow and Dan Marino wants me to eat using Nutri-system! Then there is Chuck Norris, him and Christie Brinkley just want me to stay in shape so I will live longer! Live longer? I apparently can’t afford my elderly pathetic lifestyle the way things sit now! Why would I want to live longer? But its Chuck Norris? I can’t possibly go against anything Chuck Norris says! I am doomed…..

So I am back to the root of my original question.  What is retirement? Lets put all the financial worries aside and focus on the question.  Really think hard now, what is retirement? I know there are many theories about what retirement means, and in todays ever-changing climate it takes on a different connotation depending on the individual.  But after many nights of lying in bed worrying about whether or not I am prepared for the day I “pull the pin” on my career I have come up with this explanation.

Retirement to me is the day I have decided to fulfil my own personal wishes!  The day I say thank you to the wonderful people I have spent the better portion of my life working alongside and walk off into a world where I am the boss.  A place where I report only to me.  (ok my wife too)! After working my entire life for someone else, after keeping my job and excelling at certain aspects of my career over a 25 year period.  I am going to walk away and find out who I really am.  I know it sounds corny, but having never gone to college, having never traveled the world in my early twenties, having always put everyone else first because it was the right thing to do! I don’t believe I know who I really am.  Writing this blog has helped me a lot in that department and I believe going to Haiti is also going to enlighten my thirst for self discovery. But I still feel the need to explore my brain a little deeper and find answers to many of my life’s little mysteries. I am going to work when I want to work and play when I want to play.  I am going to finish building a personal dynasty that says;I am Betty! One that my children and grandchildren can look back upon and say wow! Dad/Grandpa was freaking cool! He did it all and he did it his way!

Maybe it shouldnt be called retirement after all! Retirement is defined as: The act of retiring.  

  1. The state of being retired
  2. Withdrawl from ones occupation, work or office
  3. Withdrawl into privacy or seclusion
  4. The act of going away or retreating

I wish to do absolutely NONE of that! Ok Number 2 is a definite, but the rest of them, NO WAY!

Maybe it should be called: Retrospective rejuvenation?

Yeah! I can see the party now! The chief standing at our distinguished podium, recounting my many years of service, and closing his lengthy humbling speech with; we wish Betty God Speed heading off into the sunset and starting a new life of retrospective rejuvenation! Yeah it has a nice important sounding ring to it!


Retrospective: As I look back and recount all I have learned while carrying that knowledge forward into my future.

Rejuvenation: I am born again! It’s a whole new life. One that I will live and love until my untimely passing of exhausted happiness!

So I will no longer stress about retirement! I promise to put my crazy little A.D.D brain to rest knowing that its my life and with a little for sight I can ride of into retrospective rejuvenation land with my head held high, the wind at my back, and my brain shifted into full gear!  The world is my oyster!!!!!

Shoot, I didn’t budget for oysters in my retirement financial planner…..