Many things about retirement seen around the internet seem to be either scare stories or calculating instruments. In either case, it is all about the money: will I have enough money? When should I ask for the money? How much money will there be? When will I outlive the money? Should I hold out for more money? On and on….ad infinitum, ad nauseum…
Does anybody care about the next day after the retirement party is yesterday and the company has purged its email routing list?
Why don’t we in our imagination be that proverbial fly on the wall? Just as in Alan Weisman‘s “The World Without Us“, the earth goes on, the day after the retirement party, “The Company without me” will go on too. Sure, The Retired One who sat at the old desk will be missed, but within 30 days, memory will have faded and someone new will occupy the old desk.
The Retired One’s personal items left behind will be discarded, re-purposed or absorbed (used by other employees).
If employment provided the only social links The Retired One had, as memory fades, those links will begin to dissolve. Unless the friendships were viable, real relationships, anyone who knew The Retired One will, one by one, drop out and no longer email or call.
Meanwhile,The Retired One will wake up and begin a normal day. In the middle of the morning ritual reality will hit and say, “Hey. I don’t have to go to work anymore. I’m retired.” The Retired One might go back to bed and sleep another hour. It will feel weird.
At first, it is like being on vacation. It’s naughty fun like cutting school and getting away with it. Hungry? Eat. Tired? Sleep. Catch up on movies; read the book; repair the washer; wash the car; play games; watch lots of TV in the daytime. That gnawing feeling of being lost? It gets ignored. That edge of unidentified sadness? It is puzzling, but pushed into the background with “busy-ness”. Those questions about “belonging” and “fitting in” the “proper place” in society? They get tabled until the next meeting with the self which for some reason is avoided.
People experience this point in the journey earlier or later depending upon several factors such as whether or not retirement was planned or involuntary and the person’s personality. Somehow, the smiling elderly people on the farewell cards seem to be mocking. Welcome to the seldom discussed part of retirement.
- Habits That Can Ruin Your Retirement (dailyfinance.com)
- Danger Lurking in Retirement Land (franciehornstein.wordpress.com)