I’m starting with number 2 because of course the first retirement myth is that you have unlimited free time in retirement, and I’ve already blown away that misconception a couple of blog posts ago. Number 2 is closely related : You can do whatever you want. Of course, I’ve discovered that life is not like that, whether working a paying job or retired from one. Even in retirement, one cannot do whatever one wants.
I was whining to my daughter-in-law about a day spent at IKEA looking for bathroom organizing items, interrupted by emails from fellow curling team members to get next season organized. This is more important than you’d think: retired wanna-be-athletes jockeying for positions on the best team configurations of 4 players, vying for the best ice times, BUT, changing teams without hurting former team members’ feelings. Tricky. And very time-sensitive – the “you-snooze-you-lose” sort of sensitive. Hence the necessary quick email responding. It was a stressful afternoon: husband drudging along behind (“this one’s fine, let’s go”), emails pinging and quick replies, even a phone call or two. Honestly, it was a tough balancing act, and in the middle of my story, my daughter-in-law burst out laughing, “Well, don’t do all that, then, you’re retired, you can do whatever you want!” Huh, really? I considered. Did I want a new bathroom organizer thingy? Yes, so I had to be at IKEA picking one out, then, didn’t I? Did I want to get along with my husband in my golden years? Yes, so I had to drag him along for a coffee and treat afterwards, if he was good, then, didn’t I? Did I want to play skip curling next year at a better time slot? Now, this is where my daughter-in-law challenged me. Why be Skip, and have to organize the team? Again, I considered. These are the choices of life one always has to make, retired or not. Yes, I did want to. So yes, I had to organize that afternoon. And no, it wasn’t a fun afternoon, nor did I want to be stressed out over the chores. But if I wanted the kind of retirement, the kind of life, I was living, well, then, one must sometimes do unwanted tasks to get there. I can’t stay up every night past midnight watching TV if I want to enjoy the morning the next day. Same for as much wine as I want. I can’t not help with my elderly mother-in-law. I can’t.. I can’t… Hey, retirement is just like working! Because retirement isn’t a special magical land where life stresses disappear with the paycheque. Retirement is just another phase of Life. And a healthy, happy life requires work. I’m ok with that – it’s certainly better than the alternative 😉
Check out my book Camp Follower One Army Brat’s Story by Michele Sabad.