Opinion

Retirement as it should be: Nowhere in sight

The first week of November closes with thoughts of a pre-computer world and what it was like leading up to Thanksgiving when as kids we looked forward to a four-day weekend.

It may have been a crazy notion but as a kid, I always thought I’d have Friday after Thanksgiving off when I became an adult. That was probably because as kids we always did. Then, when I was responsible for the roof over my head and the food on the table, I wasn’t off on very many Fridays after Thanksgiving. Still…

Many places of business offer the Friday after Thanksgiving as paid time off or holiday pay. And other businesses require you to come in on Friday unless you have scheduled time off. I worked two and three jobs a lot, so if there was a buck to be made working somewhere, that’s typically what I’d do.

Some of us had to say what we were thankful for on Thanksgiving. For many of us it was our family and for the food. Whatever it was, it was the beginning of the development of our individual senses of gratitude for what we had, when we took time to offer thanks and deliberate on just what it was we were thankful for.

As I’ve aged I’ve become increasingly grateful–for the opportunities that present themselves and for the chance to avail myself of them. Nothing is taken for granted anymore. The realization that only so much time is available to each and every one of us hits home daily. I understand I don’t want to squander any of it as I have in days gone by.

Maximizing the day starts with the knowledge there are only so many hours in it. When I was younger I’d push through hard and long as I worked overtime for the time-and-a-half pay my employers offered. While I amassed a lot of hours, I didn’t come to know the meaning of the law of diminishing returns regarding how much work I could effectively produce.

When I felt as if I was on the verge of a massive headache, I knew I had been working more than enough hours. But if the employer allowed, I continued nonetheless. My work, of course, suffered as I grew more tired at the outer limits of a given work shift. Fatigue always compromises our ability to produce quality work–no matter the industry we work in.

I can’t imagine ever not working in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving. I guess that’s the kind of attitude that postpones retirement indefinitely. It’s a unique perspective in that perhaps if you feel as if retirement means not working, and if you think like me regarding work and how it shapes us almost as much as the important people in our life do, you’ll always strive to be working.

Sure, there are some days when I feel as if I’d be much better off just laying around, but those thoughts pass rather quickly. Work does seem to make the days fly by, but that’s not the reason time seems to go by so fast. I think my lack of boredom at both work and play is something I’m very grateful for and largely responsible for how quickly days pass.

I don’t get bored and the adage that boring people get bored seems to agree with me. If retirement means lazing around more, I’m pretty sure I won’t ever retire as long as my health holds up.

Being a millionaire before the age of 30 never had any lure for me. I could never be at play full time; I’d have to work some time and work at a job where I could weave in some kind of play, or lightheartedness, if you will.

Another old adage concerning work, giving thanks and feeling gratitude is somewhat ironic to me at this stage of my life.

I used to think work isn’t who I am, it’s what I do. But now I believe more that work isn’t what I do, it’s trending closer to it being who I am.

No matter what type of work I’ve done, and I’ve done plenty, not giving your all and putting everything you have into it was never an option for me. That just speaks to how I was raised regarding the importance of a strong work ethic.

So yeah, I’m grateful for work and I’m thankful I can have off the Friday after Thanksgiving this year, just like I did when I was a kid. And consider it strange or not, I’m thankful for the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving and for the chance to be productive.

And double yeah, I’m grateful that as of this point, retirement, is nowhere in site.

Advertisements

Categories: Opinion

Tagged as: , , , ,

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s