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March 12, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 139

After leaving the corporate world (by choice and for a variety of reasons), most of my family asked if I was 'retired'. The question surprised me at first but made me start thinking of the whole concept of 'retirement'. I found it disturbing to find that the Merriam Webster's antonyms for 'retirement' are 'advance, advancement', while the synonyms include such non-flattering phrases as "put out to pasture" and "seclusion" or "withdrawal". I would prefer to describe someone as preparing for new challenges or maybe transitioning to a new chapter in their life than 'approaching retirement age' or 'about to enjoy the golden years'. I would hope that 'golden years' would describe an entire lifetime as opposed to a later stage in life.

The questions of why and when to 'retire' (or do something different as I prefer to look at it) are unique to each person. There are many sites and services which exist for the primary purpose of how to plan for, and what to do with this time. I would rather view 'retirement' as looking for a new way to fill your days with tasks and adventures that your previous years may have denied you.

While the thought of saving for 'retirement' has always been a concern (if not worry), the state of the economy has me (and others I am sure) focussed more on the immediate future. Jobs and pensions are few and fleeting, with not much relief in sight. I am convinced that things will improve, but it is a scary time for those 'retired' and those who will be 'retiring'. Look at all of the stories about people forced out or laid off their jobs of many years who are having to reinvent themselves (or at least try). I guess they are 'retired' too?.

The question of whether I was retired also elicited a sense of fear and anxiety. After doing the same type of work for thirty years, I realized that I had been so driven to do what I did so that I could make enough money to provide for my children that I never stopped to think what I WANTED to do. The challenge for me, and I don't think that I am alone in this, was to discover what it is I wanted to do, and how to achieve it while being able to pay my bills. It helps that my wants and needs are not very materialistic in nature, but simple and fulfilling. I find it to be a much cheaper but rewarding lifestyle.

My response to those who ask if I am 'retired' is simply to state that I will never retire, but will constantly strive to achieve things that make me happy and productive. How many times have we heard stories where a person 'retires' and dies not soon after. While some may have retired for undisclosed reasons (ie already had a diagnosis but didn't share it), it seems that the stories are still coming... You may ask if I am retired at my funeral, as it will then be official for the first time.

Hello, I have found what makes me happy, and it is writing and caring for animals. Whether I have 'retired' to this lifestyle is a matter of opinion, but I do enjoy this 'next chapter' so far. This new chapter is the subject of my ed a family friendly blog,, which is (I hope) entertaining and informative and will ALWAYS have a G-rating. Please visit, stay tuned, and have a great day!

Source: EzineArticles
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