Retirement: TimeTo Live

Norman Rockwell, Freedom From Want, 1943, warbond poster and for Sat Evening Post

Enjoying life in Retirement

It seems that many people schlep through their careers doing soul-breaking jobs to make enough money to be able to thumb their noses at poverty in old age.  They dream in stuffy little cubicles about cruising to exotic islands, sailing around the world, writing bestsellers and rolling from sea to shining sea in an RV made for two.

Then, wham-mo! Unexpected spanner in the works: serious health problems. People slave under the baking sun of a supervisor’s blink-less gaze, dreaming of seeing Paris in retirement. Retirement comes and shortly after, a diagnosis of cancer.

For some, retirement means instead of  joyfully flipping through holiday brochures, agonizing over unpronounceable names of syndromes. Instead of ambling down flowering cobblestones of memory lane, there is picking a foot path through the tangled undergrowth of dementia. Because of physically demanding, expensive treatments and out of reach medicines, long life does not guarantee good quality of life for many with chronic diseases. There may come a time to make decisions about giving up driving and not to live independently any more. Couples swing down the path of life two-by-two in the beginning of their wedded lives, then, one of them is suddenly left alone—more times than not, the woman. Who ever plans to retire to that?

The gypsy lady has sort of lived life upside down–active retirement life first. Well, do you ever wonder what those of us on employers’ “C” list (the unlucky failures) do? Some of the time afforded by boring, low wage survival jobs allowed me to be the only real pregnant woman on stage in a performance of “Baby” the musical, to play the role of “Viney”, The Keller family’s servant, in a staging of “The Miracle Worker“, to visit the castle of The Braveheart and stand in the church where John Knox preached. As a teacher substitute, summer breaks allowed taking the opportunity to view cruise ships slipping into harbor in Barbados and to be my daughter’s Matron of Honor.

There is a TV commercial  from an insurance company which suggests that retirement is the time of life when we pay ourselves to follow our dreams. I say, do not wait. Do you have a dream? DON’T wait to retire to make it come true. Live life now. Write the book. See the sight before you can see no more. I say, do all the good you can for all the people you can reach for as long as you can while you can.

Have a happy and safe Thanksgiving,



One thought on “Retirement: TimeTo Live

  1. Women have served in pivotal roles in our society through science, technology, the arts, education, health, public service, sports and medicine, and our contributions have been the difference between whether someone lives or dies, has lodging or is homeless, and becomes educated or lives a life of ignorance. It is critical that our history is highlighted through Women’s “Herstory” Month so we can envision a bright future for ourselves and our dreams are fully realized.


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