I received the following email from a good friend and highly active, admirable woman: “Haven’t seen you do anything on retirement. Especially men who most of their ideas on retirement is having a full time relationship with the T.V.
“Lord help if the remote gets lost.”
My response email response: Retirement is an abused, misunderstood word and an outdated concept. I don’t write much about retirement because I think retirement isn’t the point. Quality of life is the point. What will it take to have a reasonable quality of life?
There is a bell curve distribution here for those of us After 50.
For some men and women, the primary relationship after not working full time becomes the television and other sedentary ways of being. It’s better than nothing. Who needs Better Than Nothing as a measure for quality of life?
At the other end of the bell curve distribution are the men and women who simply cannot sit down long enough to take a sense of satisfaction in themselves, their companions, their achievements, or their environment. Many are constantly in motion, taking charge and meddling and avoiding relationships, especially with themselves. Who needs Frenetic Activity as a measure of Quality of Life?
In the middle are all of the rest of us, the majority, who are having to pioneer a new, satisfying way of life that won’t stay fixed as we age AND grow. We may not work or work part time. We may have almost enough money or need some or benefits. Lots of reasons to work. There aren’t any one-size-fits-all solutions.
Quality of life requires really paying attention and making (and re-making) the best choices as we go along. After 50 decisions won’t stay made forever any more than they stayed made earlier in our lives.
Retirement is simply too small and vague a container to really serve us well.
For more, read my magazine column: To Retire or Not To Retire. That Is Not The Question! by clicking here.