- Randy is in his late 50’s, and he retired two years ago as a chemical engineer. Shortly after retiring, he decided to become a tax preparer and started taking the requisite classes. Once he realized how much time the classes and tax preparation would take each year, he decided he was not ready for this type of job, and he discontinued the classes. After 30 years of living in the same place, he moved into a new apartment where he is sorting possessions and updating his furniture. Randy is a percussionist in the symphony and directs the bell choir at his church. He is also a volunteer in an after-school program where he teaches drums to young kids. He volunteers at the art museum as a tram driver and movie usher, and he enjoys international travel, skiing and cooking.
- Ed was in his late 50’s when he retired one year ago as an Investment Specialist, managing a corporation’s retirement funding. He planned to find another full time job, and immediately after retirement he began interviewing for similar positions around the country. Two months ago he found a full time job as an investment advisor at a local company. He is enjoying the job but finds that it is harder than expected. His wife Marie is a chemical engineer but she “retired” from corporate America long before typical retirement age to pursue her passion of singing in commercials and performing in vocal groups. Ed and Marie have a cabin in a remote mountain area where they enjoy hiking, skiing and some “unplugged” time. They are avid tennis players and enjoy spending time with their kids and friends and family.
- Ann retired at 55 as an insurance company operations director, and she has been retired for 5 years now. Prior to retirement she took classes and got her Master Gardener certification. She loves gardening and can be found in the Master Gardener’s test garden, her church’s gardens or in her own beautiful backyard. After three years of retirement, she decided to look for a part time job. She used her gardening skills to find seasonal employment ay a local nursery each spring. She enjoys learning about the nursery business, the camaraderie and extra cash. She and her husband Carl enjoy mountain hiking and snowshoeing and spending time their sons. Her husband is still working in a communication technology field and contemplating when he will retire.
Ten retired friends, and each one is forging their own distinctly different path. And each path continues to evolve. So when people ask me about retirement, I say it’s not necessary to have it all figured out in advance.
It’s okay to have a general plan including whether you need a job and the types of hobbies you want to pursue, but it doesn’t need to be set in concrete.
I have been retired for four years, and I still think about how to spend my retirement years. I no longer fret about it, I just go with the flow and enjoy the opportunities along the way. Yes, this is a big change from my years of planning and managing projects and deadlines, but I love this freedom of choice in how I want to spend my time. I tell my friends that there are no wrong answers. This attitude sets the stage to experiment, try new things, discard activities and adjust to change. With four years under my belt, I can now see that retirement is not a destination but part of the journey.