Enough Said

Enough Said
A sampling of my columns and why the hell is my picture SO big?

Friday, December 19, 2014

To retire or not to retire: I think I'll stay at work instead

When I was a kid I walked ten miles to school in sub-zero temperatures, in knee deep snow and a dress. That’s actually not true but it sounds good, like something my grandmother might have said, except that her school would have had one room with a privy out back. We were privileged, we had big yellow buses that had heaters and radios. The heaters never worked but the radios blasted Beatle’s tunes.

School didn’t start until after Labor Day back then. Up until Columbus Day I liked school, did my homework and studied for quizzes. I even liked my teachers. By Halloween I was done. Homework became that thing I forgot to do the night before, studying was an evil time-eater and my teachers…the only ones I liked were Mr. Zlucky, Zerby and Smith. Sounds like a law firm for Politians gone astray.
At this point in my life, as an employed member of society, I have reached my Columbus Day, I’ve flown past Halloween, which means I’m done. Done with working, being employed, dealing with time clocks, packed lunches and public restrooms; I want to retire. But like school back then, I can’t quit. I had to go to school, I have to go to work.

I’m not only stuck between a rock and an economic hard-place, I’m stuck between what I want to do, have to do, and do what’s best for me, both physically and mentally. Economically, until we downsize, (next spring I swear), I have to work for home heating oil, electricity and a place big enough for a full size Christmas tree. Physically my job provides the daily exercise I need to stay heathy, and mentally the interaction with all the Zlucky’s, Zerby’s and Smiths of the world keep me sharp. 

Punching a time-clock provides me with the structure I need or I’d sleep until The View, although it’s not the same since Barbara left. Now there’s an example of someone who kept working past retirement age, whatever age that is. Barbara Walters is eighty-five. I’m certainly not that old, and if I make it that far, I hope I have been retired for a long time.

My mother-in-law, proof that angels walk this earth, retired from full-time work in the insurance industry, to part-time, at 80. She finally retired to help out at church, read the newspaper every day and walk her mean little dog. She’d get up at 3 am every morning and go to bed right after Oprah and the five o’clock local news. Without structure her days and nights almost flip-flopped. When she passed away at ninety-three, she was sharp right up until shortly before she made it to that big actuarial table in the sky.
My father was forced into retirement because of health. He dealt with a serious condition, got well, and was vigorous and enjoyed more than twenty-five years at home with my mother who hated retirement. She needed to assign purpose to her days, and unlike my father, planning and preparing dinner wasn’t enough.

When I retire I don’t want to lay around all day and do nothing, I do that now on my days off. I’d like to simply slow down. I think the rat race could do with one less rat. I’d like to write more, spend more time with my granddaughter and I’d like to take the time to, as we used to say in the sixties, smell the roses, before they’ve gone by.

Yup, I’ll retire someday. Probably when hell freezes over which means I’ll have to walk there in knee deep snow but I won’t be wearing a dress. I’ll have on my skinny jeans and Uggs. Enough said.

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