We work all our lives and aim for a happy and healthy retirement. Most would love to travel and see some of the world that they were denied while working. We now have time for travel, hobbies, volunteer work or to do nothing and just relax for a while.
In my case, prior to retiring I had a high stress, active work life with tons of travel within Canada and plenty of human interaction and enjoyed relatively good health other than chronic back pain and some joint issues that had been around for years. But I could still walk quite a distance and work at some gentle gardening, camping, fishing and easy outdoor activities. I was one of ones that never wanted to see the inside of a plane or hotel room again, so long distance travel was not on my agenda. My immediate goal upon retirement was to do absolutely nothing and see where it goes after the first six months. Well, it’s been over 8 years now and I’m still doing nothing and seem to be still enjoying it, BUT now my activities are controlled by my loss of some mobility, the weather, the need to do something vs. the desire to do something. I have found that it is pretty easy to get into a rut.
Human interaction has been reduced to next to nothing because I haven’t made the effort to seek out activities that include others. If that suits you then you will be happy in retirement. If you need the contact then you will need to volunteer, join groups or clubs of some kind or something like joining a gym. If you don’t you may end up feeling alone and isolated.
I find myself more freely talking to strangers in the grocery store while examining the same fruit and veggies and smiling at babies in their shopping carts. In fact, it happens in any kind of store if eye contact is made. I smile more at strangers in hopes of making them feel that they are not alone. I have more patience while the old woman blocks the isle while inspecting the veggie of her choosing and young ones when they make noise and are causing havoc for their parent (usually the Mom). I have the feeling of calm that if it is not going to change my life then just let it happen and don’t let it make you angry.
However, on the other end of the spectrum, I have intense hatred of those people that harm others, especially kids and animals. Frankly, I love animals much more than I like people. The horrendous things that people do to one another and the helpless is mindboggling. It’s a very good thing that I am not a cop, Judge or Prison Warden. This kind of stuff has always happened but I think in today’s day and age of the electronic medium we are hearing more and more of it occurring. This saddens me deeply to my very core of existence. It’s almost paralyzing. My house, dog and spouse are the world that I love. It’s a safe haven for the mind and soul. Only good and love happens in this place. I have no patience for stupid, ignorant, nasty or cruel people. I will not have them in my life and do not want them near me.
Financially, you need to be prepared for retirement. Thankfully, I have enough to live comfortably and have most things that I need and some of what I want. Many people do not and I don’t know how they get by and I know that many don’t. I manage to donate material things and some money to places like a woman’s shelter and animal rescues. I’m grateful that I am able to contribute in my small way to help others and of course the animals.
I find that I am much more sensitive than I was while working. Small things can bring great happiness or intense sadness. However, an overall steady feeling most of the time of being satisfied with life comes easier now that I’m retired. Or maybe it’s age. I’m not sure which it is but it’s a nice feeling. I am content.
Former: Federal Public Servant and
National President of the Union of Taxation Employees