Friday, 7 June 2013

Retired, or Just Not Working

When I told my boss that I was retiring, he told me that I couldn’t retire, because I was too young! I wonder how much that was because he is just a little bit older than me? Anyway, it was a fairly common response when I told people. I wonder if the response would have been different if I’d just said that I was giving up work?
breakfast on our short break to
Bingle Tree Retreat
It seems that there is an assumption of age being a factor when we use the “R” word. If someone in their 30s stopped working and had no intention of going back to paid employment, would they say they had retired? Probably not, but I think the only difference between me and that person in their 30s is about 20 years.
At first, I really didn’t want to have those age-related connotations applied to me, so I fought against using the term “retirement”. I mean, I don’t think I’m old, and I certainly didn’t stop working because of my age. But then I realised that I hadn’t actually just stopped working, I’d done more than that, so why not call it “retirement” and see what happens.

one of the guests at the Taronga Zoo Christmas Lunch
- because we are retired, we can now attend!
Back when I was talking about Being Prepared, I said how there is a difference between wanting to retire, and just not wanting to work. It was as I was thinking about that difference that I realised I was retiring. So I suppose I should try to explain what I mean.
Many people these days have had breaks in their working lives. I’ve done it a number of times, to travel, as a semi-enforced break after being made redundant from a job (boy, that was DEFINITELY a case of “not working”), as a much-needed “time out” after a particularly challenging job. There are many other reasons, such as caring for children or the elderly, studying, or taking the time to devote to a passion. But none of these seem to be retirement. What is the difference?

a travel pillow, made for my niece, who is
off travelling to Europe

One of the differences, for me, is that I have absolutely no intention of going back to paid employment. I will be doing some volunteer work, so I may be working, but I will still be retired. Even if I do get some payment for something I do in the future (eg if I ever earn any money from the things I make), I will still consider myself to be retired. That’s a bit contradictory, I suppose, but it makes sense to me.
Another difference is that I’m doing so much more than not working. It was as I was going through all my reasons for not wanting to go to work that I saw it was time to retire. It wasn’t that I hated work – I didn’t. It was just that having to go to work each day was getting in the way of me doing things I wanted to do more.

winding some cotton into balls so I can
knit it into who knows what
If I was just not working, I would probably be bored to distraction, and not know what to do with myself. When I was thinking about retiring, I made sure I wasn’t doing it just because I didn’t want to work. If that was the case, once I’d gotten over the novelty of not going to work each day, what then?
So, I consider myself to be retired. It suits me. I’m sure it doesn’t suit everyone. If you are thinking of retiring, and it’s because you don’t like working, there is more thinking to be done. Think about what you are going to do if you aren’t working. If you end up just not working, you may well end up not liking not working! Then what?

No comments:

Post a comment

Thank you for stopping by. I'd love to hear from you, so please leave a comment.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...