The reality of retirement

Retirement: That’s when you return from work one day and say, “Hi, Honey, I’m home — forever.” Gene Perret

For some people, this prospect can be daunting indeed… Spending the rest of your life tethered to your mate can be an unbearable prospect for some couples. Even in their twilight years, they would rather separate than suffer this predicament.

No matter how much you care for your mate, you need to escape for  periodic gulps of fresh air. Intermittent uncoupling is an absolute necessity in any relationship.
Even if you dearly love “canard-a-l’orange” you will quickly tire of it if you are offered the same dish every single day. Retirement, for some people, can mean a daily dose of “duck a l’orange” and after a while it loses its appeal.

Today, it is not unusual (and healthy) to have both husband and wife working. They part in the morning and meet again in the evening. This timeout is the safety valve that secures their common bond. But when both retire at the same time, this critical safety valve is removed and it will dangerously increase the strain in their close quarters.

Togetherness is one thing, but detention is a different animal. My cat usually does not say much, but we have an understanding. She once texted me “You can pet me for about a minute, but that’s it. After that, you do it at your own risk.”

So, we have an arrangement. After breakfast, I pet her for a few seconds and I let her loose in the garden. She can disappear for hours but she will reappear a few times during the day. If I did not let her go, she would become very testy and prone to fight. The same thing will happen to your mate if confined too long in the same monotonous environment.

Some people look at retirement like Nirvana, but many retirees come to regret the harsh reality of their new situation. Leaving a job can be traumatic. Being suddenly cut off from your daily routine and your colleagues creates a large void that needs to be filled.
Some people are incapable of doing this and slump into a deep depression. Many want to get back to work, but many can’t.

Retirement is an important decision, and before you embrace it, you need to prepare for it. Doing nothing is fine (for an hour or two) but after a short while, work starts to look rather exciting.

“Don’t simply retire from something; have something to retire to.” Harry Emerson Fosdick


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