Did I Retire or Did I Just Stop Working?

When I told my last boss I was going to retire, I found myself feeling weird. What is retirement anyway?, I asked myself. To me, the idea of retirement was too awkward to contemplate. I had too many stereotype ideas of what retirement is “supposed” to be.

How is retirement supposed to feel, and what are retired people supposed to do all day anyway? Shuffleboard? Golf? God help me.

When my “retirement” was announced at the last job, I realized it was easier to say I am going to retire than to just announce than I was going to stop working.

Announcing that I was going to retire was simpler and easier for people to understand than if I had announced that I was going to stop working.

That’s my view anyway. As it was, some people asked, “What are you going to do?” How annoying is that? As if I needed to explain what I was to be doing! Joker that I am sometimes, I said: “Stay in bed and eat chocolate.” But quickly I added, “Just kidding,” in case someone took me seriously. You never know.

If I had announced that I was going to just stop working and do just whatever I want, I think I would have been asked more questions than I cared to hear, let alone respond to. Or they would just have assumed I had a new job lined up and wasn’t wanting to be honest about it.

So, I did the safe thing. Safe in the sense of making it easier for others to understand. Safe in the sense I would not be quizzed much.

Now that its been a few months, and I keep myself busy, so, no, I don’t “feel” retired. I feel good.

I am almost as busy now as I was when I was working. The difference is that everything, or most everything, I am doing are things I want to be doing. No need to justify myself, no need to navigate the boss’s goals, no need to be ready to defend myself against office politics, no need to fight a commute.

No need to sweat deadlines. Well, I guess there still is one deadline, date unknown. But hopefully not for some years or decades.

What are your thoughts about retiring/not working?

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