Retirement – what exactly does that word mean? According to Wikipedia – Retirement is the point where a person stops working. For us, that wasn’t entirely true and to look at our lives now, we often ask ourselves the question: With all that we do on any given day of the week – when in the world did we have time to work.
Were we happy when we learned of the news that at age 55 I was going to be out of a job or that in landing another one to replace the one I held for 25 years, it too would be gone in less than nine months? No, but, as some people like to say: Everything happens for a reason.
I can truthfully say that even though neither of us had time for hobbies or outside interest’s other than our job during our working careers, we made do with the fact that we were retiring at age 56 and that was that. We were sure we could find something to occupy our time and we did. It is amazing how resilient one can be when life throws a curve ball when least expected. One of the adages I have used in the past when describing how we should take some of the ups and downs in our lives is: To change your life, one needs to change his or her priorities.
We will be retired twenty-one years this December.
What have we done since we retired?
Seeing that we retired due to down-sizing in 1996, we decided that smaller income meant smaller housing accommodations and as a result we did the same by selling our 1500 square foot home (the first and only new house we ever owned) and moved to a less than 1000 square foot condo. We did this to be closer to Dolly’s parents and had some quality time with them before they passed.
Moved again after they passed and got bored with being retired so responded to a job fair ad for Busch Gardens in Tampa, FL and learned how to operate a cash register and became store clerks for the better part of four years and just loved it. In addition to this, as mentioned earlier, I have had various part-time jobs obtained mainly to pick up some spending money so that we could do things that our reduced income would not allow us to do. I have also taken on some minor writing assignments, wrote insurance curriculum, taught online insurance courses and wrote some blog posts which got me started blogging.
We also traveled. One of our children lives in CA, one in FL, and one now in PA but used to live in CT – in the beginning we used to make road trips to see our children at least once a year. That turned into twice a year. Been to, I believe, every U.S. Capital city in the USA except the capital of Hawaii. We have also been to Canada and Mexico.
We learned how to line dance. We got to be pretty good and were able to perform at the Florida State Fair, the Plant City Florida Strawberry Festival, Youkey Theater in Lakeland, FL, Cypress Gardens, and performed at nursing homes, retirement homes, and VA hospitals in our area.
We became occasional cruisers as the park where we live has a travel agent that does a fantastic job of securing great rates for cruises and well, my wife has just fallen in love with taking cruises. Been to quite a few islands in the Caribbean and always look forward to the fellowship shared with other members of our community. I know what you are thinking and the answer is yes – cruising costs money. But, going in a group as we do (usually there are 100 of us) we are able to get reduced rates and manage to work it into our budget.
For our 50th wedding anniversary we took a trip of a lifetime. We went to Europe and the entire trip lasted 50 days.
We also are active within our community as we host dances, breakfasts, pot-luck suppers, Saturday morning Coffee and Donuts, Park wide Bazaar, even an annual Fun Night Talent Show.
We did and are doing these things not because we are rich – but because we believe in living on less so we can do the things we want to see and do while we still have our health.
Facing up to and moving forward with the positive attitude we had over our retirement was one of the best, if not the best decision we have ever made and I would be one big fibber if I didn’t admit to the fact that retirement is one of the best things that has happened to us.
But enough about how we became retired – let’s move on to some of the crazy stuff that led us to this point. I am sure most of you reading this post heard of the life cycle which is a series of stages through which something (such as an individual, culture, or manufactured product) passes during its lifetime. Well, the retirement phase of our lives is just another stage we go through.
We are born and then go through the phase of teething after which comes the terrible twos. Then there is the learning stage – remember the days when we drove our parents mad with the question: ”Why?”, but “Why?” Next come the periods of puberty and adolescence during which as young people we develop from a child into an adult. Becoming an adult involves more learning, getting a job, marriage, family and what seems like an eternity before learning – hey – you made it…next stop …Retirement!
Seeing that I like to play with words – let’s look at the word retirement as to how it applies when we reach this stage of life. If you break the word “retirement” down into syllables and using phonetic spelling as well as comical meanings – I like to say that the word “retirement” – broken down into “re, tire, ment” and reading from back to front or ment, tire, re means: At our age we are meant (ment) to tire (tire) really (re) really fast. Unless, that is – you stay busy keeping both your mind and body active.
All one must do to truly enjoy these years is to determine what your passion is and go for the brass ring. We only go around once – there are no “do-overs” in life!
Now one of my main purposes in life is to write and share stories, inform via trivia (some useful – others not so useful) and basically anything to make you laugh.
Hope you enjoyed my little rants and raves about retirement. Until next time!