When he said he would like to be retired too, I told him I wasn't sure whether he would like it yet. I think he loves the fast-paced deal-making of his work and would miss it.
He wasn't sure about that, but he did say that he feared that he would engage in self-destructive behavior if he were retired. The fact that he has to be at work the next day prevents him from drinking four martinis the night before. If he didn't have to be functioning the next day, would he be?
Doug had lunch a few years ago with another co-worker from the past. Mark asked Doug what it was that he did all day. Doug recited a list of his usual activities, including his new hobby, biking. Mark is another that really enjoys the fast pace of his work life. He said that he didn't think he could just ride his bike all day.
So is it true that if you are retired you have to drink four martinis each night and bike all day? Or play golf and watch TV? Or get lazy, boring, or whatever else it is that you fear?
There seems to be an idea that once you retire, this alternative personality comes out, snatches your body and takes it hostage. All of a sudden, you will be living in a parallel universe where your thoughts and actions are controlled by this alien being who will make you do all sorts of things that you don't really want to be doing. The you you thought you were will be gone forever, and now you have to wear black knee socks with sandals and move to Miami.
Here's a little secret: You get to do anything you want to do when you are retired. It's true. Anything.
Now, it takes each person a different amount of time to figure out just exactly what that anything is, and while you are figuring it out, you might feel lazy, boring, and unproductive. But after you start to figure out who you really are without work defining you, you will overpower that body snatcher and send it back to the pod it came from.