So you’re approaching 65 and you’re wondering “Retirement? What the heck is that all about?” Well, if you’re like me and have changed careers and/or jobs several times throughout your adult life, retirement is not as promising as it was once thought to be.
I remember growing up in the late 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s listening to my father and my uncles talk about retiring when they got to be 65 and dreaming of leisure time to do anything but the back-breaking work they did in the factories day after day after day (and nights sometime). They were amassing pensions and social security payments that were going to guarantee never having to work again. Working for 45 years for the same employer assured my Dad that a steady income would continue from his 65th birthday until his passing sometime after. He was “in like flint.”
I did not have the opportunity to earn a pension. I changed careers and jobs and moved several times over the years. That seemed to be the norm. In fact, as the decades went by through the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s the idea of “pension” itself disappeared from the workplace (and in some cases so did the actual money—remember Enron?). So pensions seem to be “out” and the future value of Social Security continues to be debated as well as diminished. So the opportunity for a “life of leisure” realistically has all but disappeared for many of us.
But I enjoy what I am doing for work these days and I’m not sure I want to stop. I feel challenged, fulfilled, happy. I continue to have fun doing what I am doing. I am happy and healthy and that is a pretty fine place to be. So like a lot of you I think I’m going to hold off on dreams of “retirement.” Life is good and besides there is a lot of recent research on aging that shows that keeping active every day is beneficial to one’s health, happiness, and longevity. Let’s get on with it!!