In most countries, the idea of retirement is of recent origin, being introduced during the 19th and 20th centuries. Previously, low life expectancy and the absence of pension arrangements meant that most workers continued to work until death. Germany is the first country to introduce retirement in the 1880s. Nowadays most developed countries have systems to provide pensions on retirement in old age, which may be sponsored by employers and/or the state. In many poorer countries, support for the old is still mainly provided through the family.
Today, retirement with a pension is considered a right of the worker in many societies, and hard ideological, social, cultural and political battles have been fought over whether this is a right. In many western countries this right is mentioned in national constitutions.
Retirement might coincide with important life changes; a retired worker might move to a new location, for example a retirement community, thereby having less frequent contact with their previous social context and adopting a new lifestyle. Often retirees volunteer for charities and other community organizations. Tourism is a common marker of retirement and for some becomes a way of life, such as for so called grey nomads. Often retirees are called upon to care for grandchildren and occasionally aged parents. For many it gives them more time to devote to a hobby or sport such as golf or sailing. On the other hand, many retirees feel restless and suffer from depression as a result of their new situation. Either because of the sudden increase in free time, or because of a decline in their personal health, the newly retired are one of the most vulnerable societal groups when it comes to depression.
Many people in the later years of their lives, live separately not to become a burden on the active members of their families, but they require assistance, due to failing health, the highest degree of assistance – in some countries – being provided in a nursing home. Those who need care, but are not in need of constant assistance, may choose to live in a retirement home.
It is true that real life begins at retirement. When you get retirement – whether that is due to your age, your intention or some other reason, you get relieved of your routine duties. You are asked to dig out work for yourself afresh. But the trouble with retirement is that you never get a day off.
When a man retires and time is no longer a matter of urgent importance, his colleagues generally present him with a watch to manage his time which is available with him free of all routine tensions. When a man retires, his wife gets twice the husband but only half the income. Actually, a retired husband is often a wife’s full-time job.
Some people understand retirement as troublesome because when they were not retired, they had some work to keep them busy. But after retirement, they do not have any work to do. They feel themselves unable to fix up any schedule for them. It is applicable to those persons who have been working as per the orders given by some other ones and who never took their initiatives to do something at their own.
If you take retirement with positive attitude, you will find that it is the best gift to you. No gold watch could ever top it because you will now have a plenty of tension free time to accomplish your dreams which you could not do earlier due to your tight programming of the duties you had taken whether you had been an employee somewhere, self employed professionals or some businessman. It is your longest coffee break. If you go through the benefits of retirement, you will find it to be a discovery of beauty as you might not had sufficient time before to notice the beauty of your grand kids, your wife, the tree outside your very own front door. And, the beauty of tension free time itself.
However, for some people, retirement presents a challenge how to spend time without earning and/or spending money. For that, you can develop your hobbies well in time. I have seen some friends who had developed their hobbies to enjoy their retirement long before they stopped working. They still work vigorously but with the changed targets. They assume that the retirement means some rest from the routine work and the rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.
When you retire, think and act as if you were still working; when you’re still working, think and act a bit as if you were already retired – you can enjoy the both worlds. Retirement means no pressure, no stress, and no heartache. This depends upon you as to how you take your retirement. You are not just retiring from the company; you are also retiring from your stress, your commute, your alarm clock, and your iron.
You must prepare yourself for retirement well in time if you really wish to enjoy retirement. The best time to start thinking about your retirement is before your boss announces your retirement. The only change which you may feel after retirement would be just switching your boss – from the one who hired you to the one who married you. You may retire from work, but not from life.
After retirement, you may enjoy waking up and not having to go to work. So you can do it three or four times a day. You may have choices: enjoy life to its fullest, relax, watch TV, read the news paper from start to end, chat with friends, eat and drink what and when you want, play cards, window shop, go to exotic places. But you can’t spend all your retired life like this. You won’t enjoy them forever. You need to engage in other activities also that provide you purpose, challenge, adventure, and feeling of accomplishment, happiness, and satisfaction.
Retirement is not resignation from life, but an opportunity to life a full, dynamic life. It is not a time to sit and wait for destiny to show you the door, but to do something that would make things better. And in doing so, you also enrich your own life. This way, you won’t get into the habit of debating the meaning of life.
Purpose is the engine that powers and drives life. Without purpose, you would get bored and depressed. Wilfred Peterson summed up the art of retirement thus: “Don’t retire… aspire”. Aspire to work for those causes you’ve always believed in. practise the art of filling you moments with enriching experiences that will give new meaning and depth to your retired life.
As a student, you wanted to become a professional. During employment you were too busy in earning money and accomplishing career-oriented goals. As a parent you were busy raising family and providing for your child’s education. Perhaps you did not have time or even the aptitude to understand questions like who you were, what the real purpose of your life was, what your real interests were. Retirement is the time to ponder over all these questions and accomplish what you really want to do from the core of your heart. Retirement gives you ample opportunity to discover the real purpose of life and pursue activities that express your true self.
To fulfil only personal and selfish interests is restrictive. You need to reach beyond, to serve a higher purpose that benefits all. All your working life you have taken so much. You exploited natural resources and degraded the environment to make life more comfortable. May be you harmed others in furthering your own selfish interests. What have you done or given in return? Perhaps nothing! Retirement is the time you could give something back to society.
Work now for those causes you’ve always believed in. There is an endless number of ways we can help make this world a more beautiful, lovable and peaceful place. Pursue one or more of these purposes in your retirement: helping the needy, doing social work and community networking, promoting an environmental cause, starting a home for the elderly, conserving heritage, fighting corruption, writing a book, investing something useful and translating inspiring literature from one language to another.
These pursuits may not be very rewarding financially. However, they are a source of immense happiness and fulfillment, which is the core desire of all human beings. Sometimes you may even spend some money from your own pocket to benefit others. Remember: There is no joy like the joy of serving others.
Be Happy – Enjoy Your Retirement.