Thoughts On Retirement

Here below is a comment left by Chris Y. My response ended up being quite long, and interesting perhaps. So I’ve copied in both comments here so they don’t get lost in the comment section.

From Chris:
Thank you. Wonderfully timely as always, Reverend Mugo, since I am about to give up the day job… And how much time evaporates just wandering round websites and following links! In search of what exactly?! Well, support I guess. The feeling that there are indeed others out there on similar journeys. What a wonderful resource (in its rightful place!) the web can be for us.

From Mugo:
Just a wave to you Chris. The matter of retirement is very much up there at the moment. So I am glad that you find some timely contributions here on Jade. I hope in the future there will be posts talking directly to the training aspects of retirement.

It does seem to take some time to settle to a different kind of day, with different kinds of contact with ones human family. The real tendency it would seem is to fill up that gaping hole of a day with all sorts of getting-busy-and-productive stuff. Even really great stuff like furthering ones interests and education. (Grandchildren, it would seem, are a bottomless pit of demands on retirees time.)

Perhaps, if it’s possible, it’s good to give oneself time and space to be uncomfortable. Lonely. Unproductive. And in the midst see what comes out of that gap time. Everybody has to live their life, retired or no. It is the real freedom to make the choices, when not under the influence of the mourning of ones working life still fresh in ones being, that can liberate and move one onwards. This all takes time, and patience.

I see retirement as a doorway which takes awhile to walk through, perhaps a passage more than a door. Once through the living is right and as it should be. A time for the fruits of mature experience to be broadcast as seeds. No matter that they germinate and grow – you are over all of that after all. Retirement can be walked as lightly as a child walks. Do we accumulate years? What does that mean? In practice.

I heard on the radio that 60 is the new 40. And, since I have just turned 62 and feel better than I did at 42, I can vouch for something of the truth of this.

Yes, and I have edited and added to my original comment.

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4 thoughts on “Thoughts On Retirement”

  1. Thanks to you both Rev Mugo and Chris Y for that post.

    I’m no where near retiring, but very close to 40! The post spoke to me not of the issues of retiring as such but of being some one with time on their hands they’re not used to, loss of focus and a need to get a big hearty filling into that sandwich of the day from rising until bed. Being on long term sick or I guess unemployed can be pretty similar if you’re that sort of person.

    As I write this I have a mental timer going to stop me spending all my time on here ‘productively’ finding out about this and that, which then leaves me in a quagmire of confusion. It probably should be a physical timer!

    Rev Mugo your ‘Distracted away from what?’ has reflections here for me that have been rippling for a few days.

    In gassho, Kevin

  2. Hi Kevin,
    Sounds like you are in a similar boat to me. It’s easy to search the net or whatever for info / answers, ‘out there’. And as you’ll know ‘it’; the filling the answer isn’t ‘out there’. And I’ve found it’s all much simpler than I thought. But still there is the need to DO something. I feel more compassionate towards me and others; I’ve a different view of the boat and the journey to that I had years ago but I am stuck in the doldrums, becalmed. I wish I could find the wind or the motor, the filling, for all of us in this boat; there are quite a few of us it seems. And I am not sure it’s just a phase on the ‘spiritual path’, it might be to do with the way things are at work these days. Hang in there, I am…

  3. Dear Rev. Mugo

    If I may add my two penn’orth? _/\_
    I’m afraid its going to be a rather lengthy one.

    Today is the fifth anniversary of my retirement. I well remember taking off my (nurse’s) scrubs for the last time. My raison d’etre was no more. Not the reason in being a nurse but the reason in being the member of the household who went out and did a paid job to finance the household. Suddenly all that was taken away from me. Yes, the household is now financed by a pension but I don’t have to go out to get it.

    It made me stop and think or should I say, listen. The question, “What is my purpose in life?” loomed large. Is it to be this or be that? – whatever “this” or “that” is. No. I think the answer is, my purpose is simply to be.

    Did I say “simply”? I’ve found over these last five years I have to re-discover that answer every day. I spend my time as an artist now. That is not my reason to be, even though I find this role very fulfilling indeed. But I am aware I can only do this while I still have my eyesight and hopefully will retain it to the end of my days. I am an artist, I make art because I can.

    One thing I can say is, I feel so deeply grateful to have been able to live long enough to realise this.
    And to keep on realising.

    Thank you

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