Tomorrow is my last day of employment. I’m retiring for the fourth time. Really this time. I’m not going back.
Imagine my surprise when this morning I asked my wife what she was doing. She was busy writing a long list of notes.
She explained she was preparing a list of things for me to do in retirement. Maybe I’ve forgotten if she did that before. I’m not looking for someone to plan my time, tell me what to do, make sure I stay busy, or any other way of saying the same thing.
I remembered a song from a few years back: Sunshine, by Jonathan Edwards, not the theologian, the singer. The song is from 1971. I reminded her of a couple of lines in the song: “He can’t even run his own life; I’ll be damned if he’ll run mine, sunshine.” Then I left to go to a bookstore. I do that on Sunday afternoons; spend a few hours browsing books and magazines at my local bookstore. I even buy something from time to time—they are an endangered species.
When I got back home, the list was gone. Hopefully, it is gone away forever.
That’s a problem with retirement. Not having all your time structured by something ‘productive’ is distressing to working people. They ask with real angst, “What will you do?” When you answer them, they say, “You’ll get bored,” or “You’ll be back.”
If I answer them with “Nothing,” that causes them more distress. Doing something that may or may not be ‘productive’ like writing, or thinking, or playing music for no other purpose than enjoying those activities surely can’t be construed to be ‘productive’. Part of the reason for that is that people endure their work most don’t really enjoy it. They just endure. Hanging on is not living.