essays

Retirement Envy

retirement decisionsI feel like I’m living amid a sea of retirees. Probably because I am. Retirees have packed schedules of trips, concerts, museum visits, volunteer activities, yoga classes, long breakfasts, longer lunches, cocktails at 5 pm, hiking, biking, skiing, and more. It’s exhausting watching them wear themselves down to the nub while I have the freedom to work nine or ten hours a day.

Am I jealous? Of course. Everytime I hear someone talk about being able to retire soon, I feel like I’m losing another comrade. What do you mean you’ll be able to go wherever you want whenever you want? Can you handle the stress of not knowing what you’re going to do when you wake up each day? Do you think it’s fair to flaunt this freedom in front of your friends who are still pushing the millstone in circles? Do you? Huh?

A little piece of my soul is crushed each time someone announces their retirement. Really. I’ve got the MRIs to prove it. I’m happy for them, but miserable for me. I love my work, but I’ve had a job since I was twelve years old, and the idea of getting out of the harness seems really appealing to me at this point in life. What would I do? Keep working part-time at what I enjoy doing, but with the knowledge that I don’t have to do it all day, every day. That would be a nice start. I can see that day coming, but it still seems like a long way off, like a tall tree on a distant hilltop. spending my kids inheritanceI’ll get there one day, if I keep walking, one foot in front of another, step by step, inch by inch, day by day -- okay, this is killing me.

Just promise me that if you’re planning on retiring soon, you’ll keep it to yourself. Pretend you’re still working but you’re on flex-time. Run out and do all the things you’ve always wanted to do -- just don’t tell me about it. What I don’t know can’t make me feel any more miserable.

And whatever you do, don’t even think about blogging about retirement --- at least not before I get to do that.

Jay Harrison is a graphic designer and writer whose work can be seen at DesignConcept. He's written a mystery novel, which therefore makes him a pre-published author.

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