A friend recently asked me how long it takes to get past the guilt after you retire. He meant that guilt of no longer being a productive member of society. Not the guilt of not posting to my blog for such a long time.
While I do feel guilty about not posting to my blog for such a long time, I never really have suffered from the guilt of no longer being a productive member of society.
For one thing, what I used to produce were pieces of paper with numbers on them. Producing these pieces of paper didn't really make me feel all that much like a productive member of society. In fact, when it comes to feeling guilt, I felt more guilt back then, when my employer was actually paying me money to produce pieces of paper with numbers on them, then I do now that I don't get paid for producing pieces of paper with numbers on them.
But the main reason I don't feel guilty about not being a productive member of society anymore, is that no one is paying me to be. When I was working, they paid me. Now that I'm not working, they don't pay me. And I'm sure they don't feel guilty about not paying me, given that I'm not producing anything for them anymore. Just as I don't feel guilty about not doing all that producing, given that they aren't paying me anymore. Seems like a fair trade to me, the not getting paid for the not producing. I think that makes us pretty much even, not a reason to feel guilty. (And now I don't even have to feel guilty when I surf the Internet during business hours, or take a long lunch, or shoot the breeze with people I used to work with.)
That's not to say I don't feel guilt in retirement.
I do often have a hard time telling people, actual working people, that I'm retired. And that is, in fact due to guilt. While I do recognize that my retirement is the result of my own labor, I see many people laboring much harder than I ever did, without the possibility of such an early retirement. And that makes me feel guilty. I'm thinking this is probably a guilt I should learn to let go of.
But the other guilt in retirement is actually a productive one, one that I don't ever want to shed, or my house would never get cleaned, my garden would never get weeded, and my body would never get exercised.
Since no one is actually paying me to do these things, the only motivation is actually the guilt. Without the paycheck, there would be no motivation for the not-so-fun parts of my new full-time job, the job of retirement, were it not for the guilt.
Without the guilt, I might very well just be reading books, or watching DVD's from the library, or eating carbs all day long. Guilt is my new boss, and without it, I'm not sure I'd get anything productive done.
And there we are again, being productive. Only now my productivity is a result only of my own guilt. And isn't that just the way we discover what our own priorities are (now that the boss isn't paying us to carry out his priorities)? Those things that we feel guilty about not doing must be important to us, or without the paycheck, we wouldn't feel guilty about not doing them.