Life in retirement. It’s an appealing phrase …. but not always an appealing life. Baby boomer Larry Lefkowitz, writing from his home in Pipersville, Buck’s County, Pennsylvania, says it’s all in how you approach it.
It seems like I have spent my whole life planning for retirement.
From a very young age I was warned my parents… and later my wife’s parents … to save, Save, SAVE. Join credit unions. Contribute to matching retirement plans. Sacrifice a portion of your pay so you’ll have something when you get old.
With the hindsight of advancing age, it now looks to me like their wisdom was useful and right.
While my father banked considerably on Social Security, the fact was that his occupation as an ironworker did not provide enough consistent income for him to build a significant nest egg. Still, he saved what he could and did not live uncomfortably in his latter years.
Now I am retired and I have saved throughout my career. Having chosen the profession of technical writer, I never made the kind of money that would provide a posh ending. Two divorces didn’t help, either. Still, I heeded the advice given me by my elders and did sacrifice and save. While my Social Security is in constant jeopardy due to political ideology and governmental misappropriation, it still is a major factor for boomer rides into the sunset.
My goal was and still is to never have to be a burden to my children to take care of me. To me, that is the greatest gift I can give to them. More important than a wedding, or college education, or a new house. I have witnessed the emotional, mental, and logistical strain young people have had to experience as their parents fade away, and it is sad and often unpleasant. I want to free them from that and pray that I can.
So where is the joy of retirement?
In its simplest form, it is the increase of personal freedom. You don’t have to go to bed at a certain time or get out of said bed at a certain time either. You choose what to wear, what to eat, when to eat, and to clean the house if and when you please.
Of course, I speak from a bachelor’s point of view. I enjoy the freedom of not having to suffer corporate rules and culture, not having to smile and nod at endless unproductive meetings. I enjoy the freedom of doing nothing if that suits me on a particular day.
This is the reward for 50+ years of employment. And you know what? It ain’t bad.