What is it about the word "retiring" that makes people think I said "dying?" Merriam-Webster defines retired as "withdrawn from one's position or occupation : having concluded one's working or professional career." It defines dead as "deprived of life : no longer alive." Not even close!
In reading about Lee Kuan Yew's recent proclamation "Retirement Means Death" one observer writes:
But even [if] I were to have all the comforts and security of pension fund, I doubt if I would ever retire. My agitated mind would unlikely to let my body do nothing. Despite various convincing comments by readers, I would still agree with LKY that ‘ Retirement for me is indeed a Death’.
In an article in FastCompany.com (thanks But What Now) we are advised against retiring at all:
We often dream about all the things we'll do once we retire. What we don't think about is how much we'll hate it.
In the article, "Dave's" company was acquired and he was able to retire at the young age of 48. After 6 months Dave was miserable!
One day, a deliveryman came over to drop off a package. Dave's house was his last stop for the day, so Dave asked him in. Over a cup of coffee, the two engaged in what became a fascinating discussion. The courier surprised Dave with his keen insight into current global problems and his grasp of complex economic issues.
"What a neat conversation," Dave later thought. "In fact, that conversation was so much fun, it was the highlight of my week!"
It was a revelation. When my friend looked in the mirror that afternoon, he saw the face of a guy who had been watching reruns of Everybody Loves Raymond on TV. For fun, he was playing mediocre golf and listening to old men at the country club repeat the same old war stories about what they used to do. He asked himself, "Did I just say the highlight of my week was bullshitting with the delivery guy about the world's problems?"
Within two weeks, Dave had a new job. He realized that retirement, or even thinking and planning for retirement, isn't all that it may seem to be.
I have run across many other bloggers for whom retirement seems distasteful: "who wants to play golf all the time?", "who wants to watch TV all day?", " who wants to sit around doing nothing?" Well certainly not me!
Could Dave really not think of ANYTHING else to do with his time besides watch Everybody Loves Raymond or go back to work? Can the first Prime Minister of the Republic of Singapore not think of any alternative to work other than dying? And why would your "agitated mind" need to let your body do NOTHING?
Now I would generally agree with Minerva at the Retirement Merry Go Round that it's not my place to try and tell others how to live out their retirement years. But I'm going to go out on a limb here: Don't watch TV all day, don't sit around doing nothing, and by all means don't, under any circumstance, even think about playing golf (well, that's just me). Go live your life; I'm sure you can find one if you try!
I couldn't agree with you more! I think the whole concept of retirement is changing, especially as we live longer. I sure am looking forward to my own!!
Posted by: Cheryl | January 17, 2008 at 03:51 PM
Maybe retirement should just mean stop doing what you don't like doing anymore and start doing something you like. The problem is we can even get tired of doing things we love to do for a whole lot of different reasons--bigger than the topic at hand.
Posted by: Kim | January 18, 2008 at 11:54 AM
I do agree that the perception of retirement is slowly going to change as the young and healthy boomers start to retire and don't buy into the whole sedentary perception of what retirement has traditionally meant.
I think there is a bit of a challenge for people (even not retired), to keep evolving and finding new interests, you're exactly right, you'll get bored of anything after you've done it long enough. (Well mostly anything hee hee!) Especially when you're filling 8-10 more hours a day that were formerly spent at your job.
Posted by: Retired Syd | January 18, 2008 at 04:30 PM
The Spanish word for retirement is a lot more celebratory than "retirement" - it's "jubilado", from the same root word as jubuilant or jubilee. It's linked in the bible to turning 50 years old. My fiftieth is next April - I'll celebrate my "jubilado" a couple weeks earlier :-)
Posted by: MrFireStation | November 04, 2015 at 09:11 AM