Daily writing prompt
How do you want to retire?

I used to have a routine take on retirement until the “reinvention” of government turned my career prospects upside down. After several jobs with various government agencies, I was both middle-aged and with skill sets that no one seemed to need. Before this sea change, I figured, reasonably enough, that I’d accumulate a retirement, take it and do – well, I don’t think my thoughts went much further.

Then I discovered that once you get beyond a certain age, it does get harder to find new work. My wife and I had started our family statistically late. So I found myself in a hard place employment-wise and with a great need to provide healthcare to a young and growing family. Retirement funds were eaten up. 

“Reinventing” government made me swear off future government jobs or dependence on consulting for government agencies. I didn’t want to be swallowed whole again.

Eventually, I resolved the crisis of employment. But my view of retirement had changed completely. Not only did I begin to take a more active role in managing the funds that I put aside, but clearly, the timeline had begun to change. Suddenly I was in my sixties, still working and not anticipating retirement. I wasn’t interested in retirement.

Currently, I am in my mid-seventies. I am slowly slowing down, but still not interested in retirement. I’ve become a keen observer of others in my age bracket who have retired and determined that many are less than fulfilled, happy, or content. Instead, I’ve found niche employment that allows me flexibility in hours and place of work.

When asked for advice on how to plan things out, I always advise that a lifelong education in arts, crafts, general education, and practical skills offers the best opportunities to counter the vagaries of employers. My father’s dictum about education still works: get an education and have backup skills and a trade. While education can’t be used to heat the house, it can provide creative means to do so.

One final note being conventional is often seen as the safe path. Bullshit! All that leads to is a handshake and a goodbye. Don’t trust conventional wisdom. Stay flexible and think things through. Life is change.

6 Replies to “Retire?”

  1. Things are always changing, the economy, the workplace, the society we live in. I know with my two adult kids, their experience can not be like my was and I see they are approaching life differently than I did.

  2. I tried the “conventional” path. It just wanted me to stay by the edge. OK. I did OK on the edge and ended up with a retirement I can live on. I am grateful every day for that. As for a new career? I guess in a very small way retirement liberated me to follow two other directions that I couldn’t have before. It’s been (and remains) a long strange trip but a very interesting one!

  3. I got kicked into the deep end. I might have stayed with conventional if it had been an option, but when it’s not, better have fall back options ready.

  4. I spent so many years as a mother, that even after I reentered the workforce, and gained a degree, my usefulness in society was obsolete… I found you all here, so I write, and in an instant am visiting some far away land and making new positive connections. This is where I finally found a niche to warm me til I am called home. Best retirement ever! Keep writing, as this is where we all feel so seen to one another…all the same…yet so wonderfully and uniquely different. Wonderful advice by the way.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: