A new phrase has entered my vocabulary this year as I turned 50. Despite the deluge of AARP applications, high fiber cereal coupons and other old age mailings — and the fact that I can joke about being old on occasion — I am not ready to retire in any way, shape or form. Whether professionally, personally, musically, socially, and dare I say it, sexually, I have no plans on “retiring” any time soon — and neither should you.
In the past, 50 might have indeed seemed like midlife, with everything downhill from there. Life spans were shorter and attitudes were quite different. Retirement at 65 was an almost universal trait in companies and corporations and many people — usually men — stated seeing a gold watch and a rocking chair on the horizon. Today, though, barring major diseases or injuries we can live, and live well, far into our 90’s and beyond. I feel I still have many, many years ahead of me and much, much to accomplish.
Sure, you might retire from your “work”, if it wasn’t something you really were passionate about. Leaving the drudgery of a 9-5 job, worked only to provide money for survival, but I hope that most of us have better work than that in our lives. Leaving a job like that would be a relief and open up time for more interesting and productive “work” of your own choosing.
While I certainly am changing focus in my life, I don’t really feel as if I am slowing down. Rather I am concentrating my attention on those things that really matter to me — educating others in all of my specialties, enjoying my family life (Joseph will be off to college in just 2 years, and those years will pass in the blink of an eye, and ridding myself of clutter in my life, my work, and my mind. In same ways, I am even busier than I was before, just in different ways and on different projects. I will say this, too. I am enjoying myself a lot more than I have in years. It can be tough to make money and earn a living, but the challenge is making me think and grow like never before.
Sure, I can foresee a time when Ma and Pa Welch sit side-by-side in their rocking chairs wondering how the grandchildren are doing in college, but it seems a long way off. When that time comes, I will accept it wholeheartedly, as I have with every other stage in my life. By then I will probably be ready for a little quiet time and relaxation, but who knows. I could also see myself dropping dead while teaching someone something, surrounded by “students” of all ages. I think that would be a great way to go — sharing my knowledge, my thoughts, my ideas until the very last. I know my thoughts would turn to a job well done and a life well-lived.
Until then, though, it is time to keep moving forward to bigger, better and perhaps, more fun projects!
Previously on End of the Day:
- Partners, friends and humanity – End of the Day for May 15, 2014
- What to do? What to do? – End of the Day for May 14, 2014
- Il Piccolo Pisolino (A Little Nap) – End of the Day for May 12, 2014
- It’s the small things – End of the Day for May 11, 2014
- A day off, more or less – End of the Day for May 10, 2014
- The importance of stopping – End of the Day for May 9, 2014
- Expectations of change lead to disappointment – End of the Day for May 8, 2014
- Loneliness – End of the Day for May 7, 2014
- Some days are best when they are over – End of the Day for May 6, 2014
- Control your technology, life, work, don’t let it control you – End of the Day for May 5, 2014
- On tradition, ritual and the smaller moments of life – End of the Day for May 4, 2014
- Of boats and oceans and foxes – End of the Day for May 3, 2014
- Off to the islands again tomorrow – End of the Day for May 2, 2014
- End of the Day for April 2014
- End of the Day for March 2014
- End of the Day for February 2014
- End of the Day for January 2014