Who You Calling “Retired”?

A week ago I paid a visit to my long-time barber, Paul. His mission? To make presentable the three strands of hair remaining on the crown of my head. Or is it five? Hang on, I’m going to take a look in the bathroom mirror. I’ll be back in a sec.

Here I am again. It’s five. And those motherf*ckers are lookin’ good!

Where was I? Ah yes, my barber, Paul.

Now, this guy is something else. Paul’s smart. He’s goofy, approaching the world from twisted angles. He cuts hair really well. And, despite being deep into his 70s, puts in nine or more hours at the job, six days a week. Paul’s got energy up the wazoo, and makes hordes of the world’s workers, no matter what their age, look like slackers. If he hangs up his scissors one day, the town in which his barber shop is located ought to erect a statue in his honor. And the inscription on the statue should include words such as these: “Paul’s work ethic was superb. You think you work hard? Think again, homie. Compared to Paul, you probably don’t.”

During that recent visit to Paul’s establishment, he posed a question. “How long have you been retired, Neil?” he asked while contemplating how to handle those five strands of hair.

I tensed up a bit at Paul’s inquiry. Retired? I’ve got to tell you that I don’t like the sound of that word when it’s directed at me. Sure, I left my government-work career in 2009. And sure, I’m in the early stage of my septuagenarian era. But I’m not retired, at least not by my way of looking at things. I mean, I do a decent amount of volunteer work every week. And I sweat bullets turning out the stories that I launch into cyberspace, such as the one you’re reading right now. Between volunteering and writing, I’m clocking up an average of about 20 hours of work weekly. That isn’t in Paul’s league, but it ain’t bad.

Anyway, I explained to Paul that I’m still a part of the workforce, though unpaid, and then let him have a go at the strands.

Indeed, I like to work. I need the structure that working provides, and I value the physical and mental energies that work requires. And, happily, I’m a recipient of job satisfaction: My volunteer gigs — for two shifts each week I man the information desk in a medical office building — agree with me. As does writing, though in a masochistic sort of way. The bottom line is that I have no plans to ditch my occupations.

What would occur if I put my work aside? Nothing to write home about, that’s for sure. I’d have way too many additional hours to fill comfortably. I already regularly indulge in good stuff such as concert-going, museum-visiting and traveling here and there, and don’t have the urge to devote more hours to those pursuits. No, if I stopped working I’d probably spend more time than ever on my living room sofa, where I’ve become expert at idly surfing the Web, snacking, and scratching my balls to make sure they haven’t shrunk. Working’s a better alternative.

Yes, there’s a lot to be said for working. And substantial numbers of folks in my age bracket, and older, are still heavily in the game. Some of my relatives and friends who are card-carrying seniors, for example, rival or surpass Paul in the number of hours they expend on their jobs. A few of them wouldn’t have it otherwise, being in love with their chosen fields. And then there’s the childhood pal of mine who continues to work full-time as a lawyer. I was at lunch with him last month. Unlike the people I just mentioned, he’s not fully enthralled by his occupation, but he knows himself well enough not to leave it behind. “What else am I going to do?” he asked me. “Mow my lawn all day?” He thinks like me. And he likes his place in life.

On the other hand, I also have relatives and friends in the seniors camp who no longer work and are as happy as clams. They lead fulfilling lives and have no regrets about occupying the post-employment category. You can’t do much better than that. After all, whether we’re employed or not, achieving happiness and feeling fulfilled are among our top goals, right? And by our, I’m referring, I figure, to about 75% of dear Planet Earth’s human residents, not just to seniors.

Family life, social life, work, hobbies, studying, spirituality, creative endeavors . . . these and other avenues, usually taken in one combination or another, can make our goals reality, whatever our age. Different strokes for different folks, and all that. Life’s cool that way.

Okay, sermon over. Amen. Class dismissed.

(Please don’t be shy about adding your comments or about sharing this piece. Sharing buttons are below. Mucho gracias.)

140 thoughts on “Who You Calling “Retired”?

  1. America On Coffee March 11, 2020 / 5:15 am

    I agree Neil, you only start expiring when there are no inspirations! That’s what my grandpa always say!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. annieasksyou March 11, 2020 / 11:01 pm

    Like you, I reject the word “retired.” I’m a blogger, and I spend a lot of time thinking about, often researching, and writing the stuff I hope others enjoy. I sure enjoy the process.

    I think you responded when I sought guidance a while back about how to monetize my blog. (Responses: “Sure, you could probably make as much as $1.76 every few months.” I gave up that idea.)

    Though it would have been nice to cover some of my costs, my primary motivation was to avoid telling the IRS that I’m retired. Nothing wrong with the word, or the status; I just felt it didn’t apply to me. I love blogging—and reading the informational, inspiring, and delightful posts of others (eg, yours). So the IRS notwithstanding, I’m Annie the blogger.

    Of course, I too, have a rich life apart from blogging. At the moment, I am bummed out that our tickets to see James Galway in person tomorrow night will be
    refunded due to that fake news pandemic the President finally conceded exists—due to “them.” But it would have been socially irresponsible for us to go, right? So I’m glad the decision was made for us.

    One question for you: Does the hard-working Paul use “product” on your hair to achieve the desired effect?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger March 12, 2020 / 7:11 am

      Hi Annie. Writing is in your blood! It can be a lot of work, but it’s satisfying.

      Paul might apply products to some people’s hair. Not sure. But he doesn’t to mine.

      Take care. Be seeing you —

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse March 15, 2020 / 2:54 pm

      Speaking of “retired” and the President, those two words sound so good together that I hope the voters makes it a November reality.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Librarylady March 12, 2020 / 9:22 pm

    Well I can’t to be retired! But I know what you mean, it depends on how you define the term. I have so many plans for retirement . .
    I’ll actually have time for my blog and won’t have to write in the middle of the night. I can volunteer, read all the books, take all the classes. Sigh. One of these days.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pazlo March 13, 2020 / 4:49 pm

    So the Director of the National Institute for Health was on TV last night.
    79 years old and working 19-hour days during this pandemic.
    He looked great, and looked eager to do more.

    p.s. You look great, too, Neil.

    Seek peace,

    Paz

    Liked by 1 person

  5. cigarman501 March 14, 2020 / 5:11 am

    I “retired” three times before I got I right. Didn’t realize retirement was such hard work.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger March 14, 2020 / 8:24 am

      Right, we have to restructure how we spend our time, and that can take some getting used to.

      Like

    • Yeah, Another Blogger March 16, 2020 / 10:44 pm

      Hi. In my case, I’m less busy than I was during my paid career days. But I’m content with the balance of activities in my life. Thanks for stopping by, Michele. I appreciate it.

      Like

  6. Platypus Man March 22, 2020 / 8:10 am

    Interesting that you refer to writing a blog as “work.” I’d never thought about it quite like that, but I do approach it with the same determination and discipline as I did when writing reports for my employer (though, strangely enough, I never got the chance to write reports about butterflies and parrots and pancakes 🙂 ). Knocking out a thousand words a week helps keep my brain active, and is good for my self esteem, proving to one and all that “there’s life in the old dog yet” (Don’t know if you have that saying on your side of the Pond, but I’m sure you get what I mean!)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger March 22, 2020 / 12:55 pm

      Hello there. We do have that expression over here. I guess that we seniors are doing our best to live up to it.

      I’m glad you followed my site. I followed yours a few minutes ago. Take care.

      Neil Scheinin

      Liked by 1 person

  7. janetsm March 25, 2020 / 11:14 am

    Well said, Neil. Having hobbies and outside interests and activities in retirement makes all the difference. I feel sad for people of any age who don’t have those things. On the other hand, I ‘m in the enviable position of being afraid I won’t live long enough to do all the things I want to do.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. jeanleesworld March 25, 2020 / 10:10 pm

    You’re working, yes you are! I think “retirement” is just a chance for individuals to re-approach the workforce as they wish to. My mom, for instance, will retire from teaching soon. Will she never enter a classroom again? Heavens, no. She’ll still teach piano and work with kids. She just gets to handle it on her own terms–after 25 years, she’s earned it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger March 25, 2020 / 11:04 pm

      Evening, Jean. Right, no matter where we are on the age ladder, we need to shape our lives satisfyingly.

      Many thanks for stopping by. Much appreciated.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Steve Higgins March 28, 2020 / 9:19 am

    I was tempted to retire but opted for semi retirement instead. My big problem is being so lazy, if I’d fully retired I’d be spending the majority of my time on my lazy butt. Those few work days get me moving. .

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Deepa April 18, 2020 / 6:14 am

    That was an insightful post, I really enjoyed the read 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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