These days it is seems more important to not be something than to be something.…
In the immortal words of Violet Crawley, “What is a weekend?”. With Old Harold’s retirement, it seems the two days I looked forward to in the week now have little meaning. There is also no rise and fall from hump day (aka Wednesday).
Alarm clocks aren’t set and bedtime is when you muster the will to get off the couch to avoid late night high-volume TV sales pitches. My calendar is set by monthly pension cheques, and the periodic need for groceries. If you google how to navigate retirement, it looks like there are a few phases. Successful retirees can be found presenting TED talks, and writing guides on how to find peace, longevity and quality of live in your last trimester.
Forest Gump said, “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get”. I guess the same extends to retirement. When you hit neutral after driving hard to to reach your golden years, some find a new gear to extend their bliss, while others coast to the side of the road with no 1-800 number to call for assistance. At the beginning of retirement, things don’t get easier or clearer, you just get more ambivalent. Must dos are now only if you have tos, and procrastination ensures you have something to think about doing tomorrow.
Retirement is a time to discover new hobbies, as you either had no extracurriculars prior to retirement, or you sucked at or can’t do old activities. Your degenerative slide may also be hastened by erosion of critical body parts. Sporting activities are coupled with perpetual physiotherapy to get you back on your broken horse. But there’s always walking isn’t there….unless you’re afflicted by plantar fasciitis, metatarsalgia or ankle, knee and/or hip arthritis. Oh well, I guess there’s sitting and stretching with the early morning wrinkled crowd on PBS.
Many retire to fulfill lifelong travel dreams and/or devote more time to worthy causes. Others are deeply satisfied by regaining simple pleasures like going to the bathroom regularly without pain, and 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep.
But what’s the alternative? I think W.S. had the same thoughts when he penned “the undiscover’d country, from whose bourn no traveler returns, puzzles the will, and makes us rather bear those ills we have than fly to others that we know not of?”. To do or not to do, that is the question. Should you suffer the wrath of ills brought upon by stagnation, or mark the time with milestones and be remembered beyond the stench of your carcass.