How would you describe retirement?

What words would you use the describe retirement?

This was one of the questions posed in a recent survey carried out by the Skipton Building Society and as a ‘retired but not retiring woman’, they asked for my views on their results. They interviewed 2000 people and generally the response was positive towards being retired. The 65% to 35% split brought words like care-free, relaxing, fun, quiet, family time on the plus side with old, lonely, depressing figuring in those who were more negative towards stopping work.

For me, retirement was only possible because my husband and I had been saving towards it. Retiring at 56, quite an early age to stop a regular income coming in, meant that I had to be able to fund my retirement. I didn’t have lots of plans about what I was going to do when I stopped being a head teacher but I didn’t want my life to change too dramatically. We love going out for meals and popping to the pub occasionally and I was determined that these activities would continue once I had retired. If it was not going to be possible, then I would wait until I had to give up work!

From the survey, it would seem that there is a large number of people who have not got a pension fund. It is very difficult to imagine at 25 what life is going to be like when you are 55-60. Now, this post is not sponsoring a pension fund. It isn’t sponsoring anything but without some finance behind you, life can be very hard at any age but particularly when you need to look at a new life because that is what retirement is – a new life.

As I said, I didn’t have any real plans for my ‘new life’. I assumed that there would be plenty to do but I found it very hard in the beginning. Actually, it was hell! I cried every day because I could see no purpose to my life. My ‘value’ in my eyes lay in my position as a headteacher and once that was removed, I felt I had little purpose.

Now I know many folks who have loved their retirement straight from day one. They have filled their days with all sorts of new experiences and that is what it should be. I just took a while longer to get there! Life is busy but I still have days when I wobble. I am still involved in education, albeit much online, but get to visit schools and go to conferences for my fix of educational discussion.

Many of the negative words in the survey can be over come with careful planning. Yes, finance is key but so is your mind set. It is a chance to do something completely different if you want to. My husband proudly tells friends that whatever he does whether it is washing up, ironing (yes, he has always done the ironing!) or his hobbies he enjoys it. He gets satisfaction from his day in a way he often didn’t when he was working.

So, what plans have you got for YOUR retirement? Come on – have a think and just imagine! If you’re already there – what words would you use to describe it?

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14 comments

  • Wladek Koch

    About half of this article was about money and planning not the true purpose of the article heading.

  • We replace things to do from work. Those who are bored just haven’t replaced things. Maybe they think someone else willsort it for them!

  • It is a cliché, but true nonetheless: how could we have had time before to do all the things we do now?????
    (People who are very shocked when they begin retirement and find their days boring or pointless — they tend to forget there were many boring, pointless days when they were working as well. Life is always a mixed bag, its texture woven of many strands, not all of them bright and glittering.)

  • It took some time for me also to adjust to the retirement life… when I had all control of the structure of my days…. I loved my work and I wondered what challenge could replace it… But time has found me taking on new things, working on writing projects and learning something new each day…. and I love it….. and I am rested….
    womenlivinglifeafter50.com

  • I have been “unofficially retired” for the past two years due to my job going away. Although I spent the initial months in a panic trying to find my next gig, when I realized it was not going to be I decided to live a test retirement. Basically, if I never went back to a full time job, could I keep myself entertained, engaged and busy. The answer is YES! I have taken up blogging, written a few books, got back to playing the piano, dedicated time to exercise and health, signed up for a few online courses and even begun learning French. I control the pace of each day and have a very low stress level (except when the SJ Sharks are playing hockey!). I enjoy my days and am looking forward to when my wife can join me full time and we can explore life together. 🙂

  • Pondside

    My husband retired three years ago due to a serious health issue. I had always thought that I’d be retired by now, but I’m still working full time. Watching my husband in retirement is difficult. He wasn’t ready and he still hasn’t figured out what he wants to do. I think it must be a result of the suddenness of the forced retirement. I am looking forward to the day when I stop, though. I’ve been investigating areas of interest and have dipped my toes into the pool of volunteer opportunities in areas that have always fascinated me – at the gallery, the museum etc. While we have always loved to travel, I look forward to a retirement closer to home – continuing to have friends over to dinner, evenings at the theatre and time to read a newspaper in one sitting!

    • As you saw, I found it very difficult & in a way have made myself so busy I will need to retire from my retirement! Hope it’s not too long for you!

  • Had I known how wonderful retirement is, I would have chosen that and skipped the working career. 😀
    I worked for almost 44 years and looked forward to this time. Every day felt like a Saturday at first. It felt good not to watch the clock, race around, juggle 50 things at once. I might have slept in a time or two but for the past eight years I get up between 6:00 and 7:00 a.m. I have so much to do, especially in the past three years since I began blogging and concentrating on writing which I had no time for when I worked. the first five years I spent babysitting my grandchildren and had a hard time fitting in my life but that time was well-spent and I’m happy for having the opportunity.
    I thought I would have lots and lots of time to read all the thousands of books I had on my TBR list. At first, I read, yes, but then I took on other things and then blogging but now, I make sure I have at least (at least) an hour a day to read. Sigh. Life is too short for everything I want to do.
    In conclusion, I highly recommend retirement but like you mention, you must have a plan before you do and money saved. ~(*_~)~~

  • Retirement for me is wonderful. The stress of working in a highly academic school is no longer there, I can do what I want each day, I can plan trips around the countryside and overseas. My children are all grown and have their own families and there is the occasional baby sitting but they know my retirement does not equal child minding.
    I like that my time is now mine, I can blog as often as I want, chat with friends around the world and generally discover things about myself I didn’t have time to do when I was working. Like so many retired folk I can say I wonder where I had the time to go to work.

    • Great to hear & super to see your contributions on 100wcgu. Fancy joining the commenting team for 100wc? Maximum of 10 to comment on each week/

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