Posted by Gail | Filed under Retirement Planning
People keep asking me what my plans for retirement are. Retirement? Bah! I have no intention of retiring. EVER. As the song says, “Ain’t nothin’ gonna break my stride! Nobody gonna slow me down – oh, no! I’ve got to keep on moving…”
I often wonder how different people see retirement, what metaphors they have in their heads. Do you see retirement as moving “somewhere down the lazy river?” Or is retirement your final revenge on a life lived by the rules?
I guess one reason I can’t imagine being retired is that I haven’t been able to imagine living my life any differently than I do now. I love to write. Why would I stop doing that? TV might not want me in a couple of years, but I actually haven’t defined myself by my work on television. I’ve seen myself more as a teacher. Sure, I write “TV Star” on any form that asks for my occupation, but it’s really to screw with the folks reading the form, to see their reaction.
Sometimes I imagine myself living in a third-world country teaching little kids, my big skirt pockets full of little bits of candy… I’d love to be known as The Sweetie Lady. Sometimes I imagine running a resort in somewhere like Portugal or Spain (somewhere warm), where I greet my guests with steaming cups of coffee or tea and fresh baked breads and muffins in the morning, and cook sumptuous meals at night. Sometimes I see myself hanging out with my kids and, maybe, their kids chatting about life and laughing my big old laugh at whatever antics they’ve gotten up to. None of this feels like “retirement” to me. It all feels like “life.”
Of course, just because I can’t imagine retirement doesn’t mean I don’t plan – at least financially – for it. I’m socking away the money so that when the time comes I can execute whichever feels most like the plan I want to follow. That’s the thing about money: it’s the options it gives you that really count.
Sure it’s hard to imagine retirement. It’s hard for someone in their 20s or 30s. It’s hard for some at 40. I’m in my 50s and I can’t imagine it. I do know, however, that getting there with no money will absolutely suck donkeys. So I save.
It doesn’t really matter what happens next. Having had the life I’ve had – immigrated twice (once only for a heart-beat), married three times, been bashed about by a husband, had two sets of step children, moved over a dozen times, had two kids of my own, been fired three times, been self-employed, loved and lost and loved again, watched my best friend die, lived through umpteen crises – I find myself “still standing after all this time,” I know, without a doubt, “I will survive.”
Your turn? What do you imagine your life in retirement will look like? Are you ready for it?