What Is Your Retirement Trigger?

“Gainfully unemployed, very proud of it, too.” Charles Baxter

Today I want to explore the decision to retire or not to retire. That sounds a little Shakespearian, but if you were born in the 60s, that’s the question that we’re currently grappling with, and instead of whining about it, let’s make an informed decision.

As Larry and I wind up our first year of retirement, we’ve noticed many people have a lot of trepidation about the process. I’m probably going to muddy the water, but it’s my intention to add a little chlorine and clear things up. 

So here goes…

We have discovered that most people have a good deal of anxiety about being bored after they retire, which is compounded by financial worries, both real and imagined, along with healthcare concerns. 

And then there’s the new debacle on retirement which suggests that senior citizens are becoming a burden on society due to low birth rates, which can not sustain or replace the current workforce. 

Let’s toss these perceptions in the air and see where they land. 

I found it interesting that permanently leaving the workforce, lounging around in yoga pants all day, and learning to meditate with a phone app is a rather new phenomenon in terms of human history. Traditionally, not to be indelicate, but people used to work until they died.

It wasn’t until the 19th century when healthcare improved (meaning they stopped using leeches to alleviate nausea) and general living conditions were more supportive of life (think fresh water and modern sewage systems), that we ended up with greater longevity. Instead of the average person dying around 40 years of age, they were living long enough to experience being grandparents but also had to deal with the physical and mental decline that comes with age.

So basically, I would be dead by now and would have missed the pleasure of riding a tandem bike until my ass feels like leather, my legs like noodles, and my back aches as if I had been flung to the ground by Taiho. But I digress. 

One of the earliest examples of retirement as a social phenomenon occurred in Germany in 1881. Otto von Bismarck, the Chancellor of Germany at the time, introduced a social insurance program that provided pensions to elderly workers who were no longer able to work.

There was a slight problem with this particular model, but I believe it may have been intentional. He set the retirement age at 70. Do you know what the average life expectancy was at the time? He was shy by about 30 years. Bahaha! 

Regardless of the hypocrisy of such a policy, the United States adopted the model when President Roosevelt established the Social Security Act of 1935. Sixty-five was chosen as the national retirement age, despite the fact that less than 60 percent of American adults lived that long.

In the United States, retirement as a social concept gained popularity in the early 20th century. Companies such as General Electric and American Telephone and Telegraph began offering pensions to their employees as a way of retaining workers and promoting loyalty. 

Suddenly there was a safety net for eligible individuals, and over time, retirement became a heralded American experience, along with Hawaiian shirts and cruises to Alaska.

As the cultural narrative around aging and life stages continues to evolve, you might be surprised by the complex choices that go into deciding if retirement is for you. 

Larry and I have been asked repeatedly if we’re rueing the day we gave up our paychecks and wished we could return to the workforce.

People want to know what the hell we’re going to do after the kitchen was updated, we painted the house and planted a garden.

The thing is, we never talked about retirement until we suddenly found ourselves retired. What I mean by this is we never discussed when we would retire or how we would spend the time we created by leaving the workforce. 

We loved our jobs, the kids were surviving outside the nest, and we had plenty of time to pursue our own interests. Why would we ever retire? 

Good question. 

When you’re middle-aged, sandwiched between raising children and taking care of aging parents, your income is your lifeline. Days, months, and years pass by so quickly, one almost indistinguishable from the next. 

Then one day, I found myself standing in line at Lunardi’s Market, and the clerk gave me the senior citizen discount without asking my age. Rude. It’s true. The point being we are aging, whether we think so or not, and suddenly I’m compelled to primp before I go to the market just to see if they’ll ask. 

They don’t. Let’s move on. 

When COVID hit, everything changed not only for me but for society collectively. Teaching via Zoom was a disaster. I couldn’t develop normal relationships with my students. I couldn’t keep them engaged in lessons, and sadly I watched them collectively shut down. 

But this wasn’t the same for all industries. Larry’s company learned that they could accomplish a lot via Zoom and save not only the time but the expense of flying their people all over the country for an hour meeting. 

This did free up some of Larry’s time which he has always divided between his corporate job and dealing with issues that come with owning rentals. Most of the time, he was running around with his hair on fire. 

By the time I decided to throw in the towel and pursue my dream of writing a novel, Larry was ready to go rogue too. So we did the most important thing you can do before deciding to retire. We interrogated our financial advisor for months, then hesitantly decided we might survive with what we had squirreled away for the last forty years and not die of starvation.

It’s just nuts. Right?

And kudos to our financial advisor who aggressively moved Larry from the mentality that we have to save every penny we ever make to trusting that we can start spending some of that hard-earned savings. It’s a difficult shift for people of our generation who were raised with parents who had memories of the Great Depression. We, ourselves, lived through one of the worst economic recessions of the 21st century, and it taught us all to be diligent about rainy days (how ironic, as it hasn’t stopped raining in California for months).

I mean, we continue to save two percent at Lunardi’s every Tuesday.

In fact, Larry almost had a heart attack when our financial advisor said (I believe he was trying to assuage Larry’s fears), “Larry, you can’t spend it all in the time you have left.” Much to Larry’s chagrin, I went out and had that statement tattooed along the length of my arm. 

It’s my new mantra, “You can’t spend it all.” 

Larry might still be reeling from that statement, but he’s warming to the idea.

Turns out that Larry and I really didn’t have much to discuss. I like to write, Larry likes to ride, the grandkids live across the street, we have a healthy social life, and now we’re both slipping into overalls and farming the back nine between travels. We rarely have a spare minute to relax. I’m not kidding. 

The truth is we enjoy the freedom retirement allows us, not being told what to do or getting stuck with a presentation at 5:00 pm on Friday night that must be done within the hour.

I did a little digging for you and found out the average life expectancy in the United States is 78.7, but if you live in California, it’s 81.7! Damn. So Larry and I can reasonably expect to live a couple more decades.

And, as we now know, we can’t spend it all

Several countries — most notoriously France, where the retirement age is 62 and life expectancy is 82 — are debating raising the retirement age to try to offset the economic pressures of an aging population and the concern that national retirement benefits won’t be able to keep up for much longer.

As you’ve probably heard, it’s not going over very well with the general population.

From an economic standpoint, a later retirement age perhaps benefits the bottom line. But putting finances aside, what are the mental and physical implications of raising the national retirement age? 

Let’s explore Working-life expectancy. This is the number of years people are healthy enough to work. Experts found that Americans who are healthy at age 50 can expect to have roughly 23 more years free of disability, plus about eight years living with a disability. That would suggest people’s maximum working life expectancy, on average, is age 73.

But if you retire at the end of your healthy years, all you’ll end up doing is keeping your goldfish alive while you deal with eight years of healthcare issues before they put you in a swanky urn. I don’t think that’s why my parents went to all the trouble to give birth to me, raise me, and educate me.

I think we are designed from our first breath to our last to be curious about the world, to be in awe of its wonders, and to make the most of our fleeting time here on Earth. I realize “make the most of our fleeting time” is an ambiguous statement at best.

By harassing a few close friends, I found out that some people actually like the idea of working until they can’t because they love their job, they don’t have a hobby or cause that they are passionate about, and maybe their job is a big part of their social life. There are also real healthcare and financial concerns that play into this decision.

Oddly, we found out not everyone is interested in riding tandem or traveling the world.

For people working in knowledge-based jobs, retiring in your 70s is reasonable from a cognitive perspective, but what about a lifestyle perspective? 

We took the position that if retirement turned out to be the worst decision we ever made, we could always go back to work. I heard Lunardi’s is hiring. We’re still smitten with the lifestyle, but we know people who cringe at the idea. 

Our prefrontal cortex, which allows for executive functioning, attention, and memory, loses volume starting at age 45, but other areas can compensate. It’s well known that the one thing that develops with age is our grit, which involves courage, resolve, and strength of character. 

There are also types of intelligence that increase with age, calm down, it’s true. Not only does our crystallized intelligence increase (accumulated knowledge that can be applied to new situations), but our social cognition (behaving appropriately in interpersonal interactions) also improves. 

So I’m no longer letting Larry off the hook for negative interpersonal interactions because that is something he has more control over if would like to admit!

Clearly, some cognitive processes are maintained and strengthened by staying in the workforce. And some people decline mentally and physically when they stop working. Experts speculate that the losses of job-related physical activity and social interactions that come with leaving work are largely to blame for post-retirement declines.

Retirement equity is another issue because averages don’t tell the full story. Some people stay sharp and can work into their 80s, but physically demanding jobs take a toll on our health. For this type of work, retirement can actually improve health outcomes,

The good news is the centenarians are on the rise. You can find them congregating in what we now refer to as Blue Zones, which are increasing all over the world. I thought you might be interested in what they all have in common. 

Consider this your trigger warning, if you salivate over a juicy steak, enjoy a glass of wine in the evening, and spend hours each day sitting on your ass, skip the next paragraph. 

Centenarians eat like rabbits (mostly fruits and vegetables), drink alcohol moderately, are physically active, and have a passion that feeds their need to be of purpose in the world. They know how to relieve stress and nurture an active social life. They have unusually strong family bonds and social circles that support a healthy lifestyle. 

They sound a little monkish to me, but clearly, if your goal is to appear on the Today Show with Al Roker, you now know what to do.

I realize the initial intent of Social Security, when it was established in 1935, was simply to sustain people once they could no longer physically work. But should a federally funded retirement program be expected to reward people with a few years of leisure while they are still healthy?

I think retirement is like a blank page, it’s a chance to write a new story and redesign your life any way you want.

Obviously, this is a complex issue, and it won’t be the same for everyone. 

Many would say yes. Some are adamantly opposed. What about you?

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You have a lot to do, you might need to retire!


Leave a Comment

  1. I couldn’t wait to retire. For someone born in 1952 (me) the state pension age was 65. I paid extra into workplace pensions so I could afford to retire earlier. My goal was to go at 55, but when I looked into it, I wouldn’t have been very ‘comfortable’ financially. So I waited until 60, informing my employer at the time (The Police) when I was 58 years and 6 months old that I intended to retire in 18 months time.
    Because Julie is 9 years younger than me, she won’t get the state pension until she reached 67. So at first she worked full-time when I retired, and now works 20 hours a week. I never feared getting bored, and getting a dog (Ollie) made sure I had to go out every day in all weathers. I don’t expect to reach 100, and maybe not even 85, but I will have had at least 25 years out of all my pension payments by then
    Nothing worse that working late into your 70s, then dropping dead before you can enjoy your pensions and free time!
    Best wishes, Pete. x

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I love your story Pete. You made a financially wise decision for you, planned ahead, added Ollie to the family and started a popular blog. You actually do all the things that centenarians do so you just might make it to 100! Who Knows? I really enjoy the freedom of being able to mold the time we have left doing the things we love. It’s nice that Julie has been able to cut back to part-time which gives both of you more time together. I was surprised by how many people would prefer working to retirement. My sister included. She loves her job and it gives her not only a paycheck but a social life. It’s hard to make the shift and I admit, Larry and I were very resistant to spending the money we’ve been saving all these years. I have to say I found it way easier than Larry to adjust to retirement! Anyway, we love it now. Best decision ever. Here’s to many happy years ahead. Hugs, C

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Great post. I believe you need to have a goal. You can’t retire without knowing what your next goal is. I know that opinion might (will) make me unpopular…

    Liked by 3 people

    1. That is such a great point LA, having a goal makes a huge difference in your overall satisfaction with retirement. I wanted to publish a book, Larry wanted me to join his passion for biking and we both wanted to travel. I suppose there are as many goals as there are people. Such an important aspect of retirement to consider before making the leap. Thanks LA, hugs, C

      Liked by 2 people

        1. I agree. Larry and I are finding that we have more time to do all the things we had to do before retirement, and all the things we loved to do, but now we have the luxury of time. You can do a much better job when you are not rushing to get everything done when the demands of a job are always looming.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. I love this line, Cheryl: “We took the position that if retirement turned out to be the worst decision we ever made, we could always go back to work. I heard Lunardi’s is hiring.”
    I think that’s the best, most liberating school of thought…try it…you might like it…if not, go forth and ‘re-career’ your way into something new. Love it! 😘

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Hi Victoria, thank you so much for adding to the discussion. It’s interesting to me that the pandemic was a factor in my decision but also my passion for writing. Most people I’ve talked to are worried about being bored but Larry and I have not found this to be an issue. We gave ourselves permission to decide if it was for us or not. I love the way you put that option, to “re-career” and try something new! It seems to me that our fears often hold us back from living the life we truly want. Hugs, C

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Yes…agree with you…the changes require courage and a lot of humility –and patience — if you’re both in motion at one time. 😉
        I was worried, too, but my consulting business and writing keep me busy and I’m left wondering, like you, where all the time goes!
        Good luck with the ‘farming’. We’ve not ventured in that direction yet, but the hubster loves tooling around in the backyard…endless projects it seems! xo! 🥰

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I absolutely loved my job. I stayed during trying physical times. I stayed during trying political times. I stayed because of the kids. I always told myself, when the things outside my classroom, were more negative than the joys inside, it would be time. Active shooter drills were the final straw. I decided in March, and retired in May. I met with my Union, my financial advisor, my STRS advisor, and got my ducks in a row. I retired the year before COVID. I ended up with some serious medical challenges after I retired. I was grateful that I could take care of myself and not have to worry about my classroom. The universe took care of me.
    I look forward to getting back to my hobbies and joyful activities. I don’t regret retirement for a minute. Even if it is not what I expected, it is what I needed.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You sound a lot like me Lauren. I loved my job but those drills were disconcerting. I remember when the active shooter drills went from barricade the students in the classroom to run if the shooter is not in your building. I used to wear the key to my classroom around my neck because you could only lock the door with a key. It made me very aware of my surroundings and alert to strangers on campus. I’m distraught that my grandkids have to worry about this while they’re attending school. It appears your retirement coincided with health concerns. What a blessing that you had the time to take care of yourself when you needed it. I hope you are able to get back to your hobbies and joyful activities in the near future Lauren. Thank you so much for sharing your story, and joining the conversation. Hugs, C

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I want to jump in here, if you two don’t mind, lol. I spent 15 years as a school administrator (I was weird, no one expected ME to be the principal as I never “looked” like it, lol. The staff knew I was a teacher at heart!) …health took me out in time. I could no longer handle the BS coming from the top. The teachers were underpaid and expected to do too much. I was frustrated and didn’t even know I had cancer! All my friends are leaving at 25 and out here in MO. Kids and parents are scared. I wanted to start my own outdoor school as I’m “old-fashioned”. I guess I got out just in time and when I needed. I would’ve loved working with you.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. I always love when you jump in Karla. I did not know you were a principal! That’s amazing and you’re so young. You really have to love working with young people to become and remain a teacher. There’s a lot to deal with and as you say the pay is not stellar. It seems you too, like Lauren, got out just in time and when you both needed. xxoo

          Liked by 1 person

        2. Thank you, C. I was inspired by a former principal to change my Master’s program (I was seeking reading when I switched). I’ve experienced a lot in my young life. Maybe that’s why God said I was ready to handle cancer! My background is special education ~always will be. I have a disabled sister and niece. I loved working with them up until last year! I “lost” a lot when I took my disability pension. And my school loans were paid my last year! Oh boy. BUT, it was get out then or die curled up in my office. I chose to live! My heart goes out to educators. Those who truly care and are caught in the legalities that widen the gaps in trying to just teach and love kids!!

          Liked by 2 people

  5. Terrific post, Cheryl. I found myself nodding again and again as I read your post. (The wife is thinking of trading me in for a bobblehead.) Retirement is not for everyone. I’ve had friends retire, and within a few months, they’re back at work.

    I loved my career (elementary teacher), but without exaggerating, I was on the path to a heart attack if I didn’t change something. When you’re trying to be a good teacher, husband, father, friend, etc., that doesn’t leave a lot of time to look after one’s self.

    The reactions from some of my peers have mystified me. While most people are happy for us, I feel what can only be described as resentment or jealousy from others. We got hooked up with a financial advisor in the second year of our careers (My wife was also an educator) and planned for our retirement. Finding that happy medium between saving and living one’s life is crucial.

    My retired brothers and I frequently joke about how we managed to find the time to work. I’m busy every day, but it’s a good kind of busy. I exercise, write, volunteer, and make time for people. My life is balanced, and I’m never giving that up again. Cheers to you and your husband for getting after it and enjoying life. I’m sure you’ve earned it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Pete for generously sharing your story and your views on your experience of retirement. And I might add, you are so right, “it is not for everyone.” I was home for 21 years raising our 4 kids before I started my second career of choice, which was teaching. I was lucky enough to educate students for about 15 years at Notre Dame before deciding to retire. I too, loved my job, but like you, I’m taking better care of myself, and enjoy scheduling my time according to my own priorities. I haven’t experienced resentment or jealousy from my peers, most people are either excited for us, or think we’re crazy for giving up a regular paycheck. It’s a scary decision so I get the concerns people have about exiting the workforce. I think you nailed it, “finding that happy medium between saving and living one’s life is crucial.” I would say most of our close friends are now retired or have plans to retire in the next year or so. This will make traveling together and impromptu social events easier to organize. I wish everyone would get on board but as you note, it’s really a personal decision, and some people love working. To each their own. Thanks again for joining the conversation. Hugs, C

      Liked by 1 person

  6. The whole Lunardi’s thread through this post – you crack me up!

    And this paragraph was wonderful for anyone who has even ridden a tandem, “So basically, I would be dead by now and would have missed the pleasure of riding a tandem bike until my ass feels like leather, my legs like noodles, and my back aches as if I had been flung to the ground by Taiho. But I digress. ”

    I think that there is no shortage of engaging, creative, social, and growth opportunities for you two — because you have a growth mindset. And I love that you are showing the way that looks in retirement! Love this! ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Wynne, I always enjoy your astute observations! I think it was that experience at Lunardi’s, that exact moment when my shaded eyes were opened to the fact that we are no longer in our 40s, we’re aging (albeit gracefully/Tahehe) and it sort of stopped me in my tracks. What do I want to do with the time I have left? I suppose it is a question we could ask of ourselves at any point in time but it seems to become more and more potent as we age. I love your observation about the “growth mindset.” I’m finding that people in general are fairly resistant to change (I know I am). We don’t like our status to change especially if it feels like a demotion which retirement can appear to be if you don’t change the way you think about it. From my vantage point I’ve come to believe at every stage of life there are opportunities for growth, for creativity, and meaningful experiences. We just have to find the courage to dive in and I think you know exactly what I mean. Hugs, C

      Liked by 1 person

  7. “I think retirement is like a blank page, it’s a chance to write a new story and redesign your life any way you want.” — very well said. As for me, I consider myself to be semi-retired. I do volunteer work and I write articles/columns for my blog. Those enterprises are part-time (non-paying) jobs. Neil S.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Neil for the kind words and joining the conversation! I like how you consider both your volunteer work and keeping up your blog as part-time work! So I could say I’m semi-retired too! Although a paycheck would be nice and I just might have to write that into my story! Hugs, C

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Wow, Cheryl. . . That was unexpected.

    The ‘Future’: Something many want to avoid thinking about due to the rather unsure nature that the current world narrative gives in regards to ‘the Future’, especially as many are just now slithering out from under the madness of Covid.

    Faithfully, this episode’s musical accompaniment was a perfect fit. Of course, Grunge/Punk/Culture-Anarchist Berekely-based Green Day’s perspective is a tad grayer than people born a few decades earlier, and after experiencing the digital world they grew up in through late childhood and adolescence. . . I don’t blame them.

    So very many among us stress through their lives, thinking that this world is what we make of it, simple as that. It’s not. Rather, it is an experience that favors those with a keen awareness and perspective of a bigger picture revealing an existence designed for each of us to experience moments of great importance and stretches of the mundane. It is how we act in those ‘great moments’ that define who we are in this universe.

    People need to ‘Let Go’, and seize the quiet moments that allow clarity to see this place as it really is. Then? (You had to know this was coming. . . 😉 ‘Let God’ guide you on the path from here.

    We’ll all end up where we are supposed to be in the end, with, or without Charles Schwab and his associates. 😉

    Cheers, CT

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I always enjoy your perspective CT! Especially your perspective on the bigger picture. And how our actions in those “great moments” tend to define us. Every week as I scan my life desperate for something to write about I kept stumbling over people’s response to our retirement. We hopped off the bus a couple stops shy of our final destination because we wanted to take a closer look around. Most people thought we would be bored in a month and hop back on the bus. But that didn’t happen ~ yet. We wanted to walk a few hundred miles, check things out from the back of a bike, float across the seas, and meet new people. We were lucky. We never had to dig into our savings for unexpected expenses and with time our savings matured, like us, and made it possible for us to enjoy this time of life without the added pressure of holding down jobs. We have left that door open should we need to enter it again. Life is like you say, full of surprises, and adjustments always need to be made especially for circumstances that call for great character. I know plenty of people who prefer the comfort of a stable paycheck, work that they know they are good at, and interacting every day with people they happen to enjoy. I totally agree, “we’ll all end up where we are supposed to be in the end.” Thanks for adding such depth to the post! Hugs, C


      1. I pray you two don’t ever look back and consider spending any if the time you have left aquiring more wealth. You have been blessed with the greatest give Available to us here in this rock: time. Use it to be selfless in service to God as he sees fit, as it is truly a gift from God. My hope neighbor, is that you and Larry use this invaluable gift of time wisely and gain so much more than earthly wealth!


        Liked by 2 people

        1. I hear you Chris, time is an incredible gift, and I willing give it up in service to God (which I define as loving others) whoever or whatever comes before us. Great advice, xxoo


  9. Interesting post Cheryl. I’m a few years from retirement, so this is all very helpful. The piece I keep holding onto for my wife and I is having the right mindset to keep growing and learning. I think it was written elsewhere, to try retirement, to keep busy with my writing, my wife to keep busy with her volunteer efforts, and, if we don’t like it, then to get back into a job. But something tells me that we’re going to love it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Brian for joining in the discussion! I agree with your statement that having the right midset is vital. You want to keep growing and learning but we’re also aware that life doesn’t always proceed as expected and if we need to return to the workforce we left that door wide open. So far, we are really enjoying this time of life, and don’t see ourselves hopping back on the worktrain anytime soon. I think you’re going to love it too, especially if you have a passion. Writing, volunteer work, traveling, spending time with family, and we just added gardening to our plot. It’s keeping us busy! Best of luck as you make your way towards a healthy and happy retirement! Hugs, C

      Liked by 1 person

  10. This October 31 we will have been retired 30 years. We’re both self-starters so had no problem finding meaningful things to do. And we’ve lived happily below our means all our lives so have no problems financially. It’s worked fine for us.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Cheerful Monk, wow, 30 years retired! That’s fabulous. “Living happily below your means,” has been the key to warding off financial worries and a wonderful message for those considering retirement. I love that you mentioned being self-starters because I think that is part of successfully managing your time and finding meaningful activities to fill the space. Thank you so much for sharing your experience. Hugs, C


    1. Okay, ParentingIsFunny, that was an incredibly kind thing to say and I’ll admit this to you, I’m sitting in the chair in my room, sipping coffee, and positively glowing. Thank you. Have a fabulous weekend. Hugs, C

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I am going to buy a copy of your book because this post was so darn good…
    and so now I am curious about it.

    And you raised so many good points about retirement – by father n-law was clobbered when retirement came for him – and we know a few folks that retired and then went back to work.
    Oh and I like how you mentioned Lunardi’s a few times.
    And I am going way back with this memory, but I recall when my mother was offered the senior discount without asking and I was shocked at how delighted she was – hahah – she enjoyed the perks and still does

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Prior, sorry I missed this comment, it was awaiting approval and I just found it! I appreciate your kind words! I’m thrilled this post has caught your interest and you’re intrigued enough to read a little more. Retirement is such a complicated subject and I’m amazed at all the people who have shared their thoughts and experiences. It helps us all to know we’re not alone in this process and there is more than one way to go about it. I’m sorry your father-in-law was clobbered, by that I’m wondering if you mean he was bored or simply missed the people he used to work with? Maybe both? I absolutely love that your mother enjoys the perks and discounts offered to us seniors! I’m adjusting to my new status ~ slowly. Thanks again for jumping in and joining the discussion. Hugs, C

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks for the hugs
        And my father n law was just so defined by his work – insurance and big money and hedonistic treadmill kind of stuff
        And so numerous things came his way
        And so they’d say most people love 10 years after retirement? Oh there are so many variables that interplay with even defining fully retired

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Great post and good question, Cheryl! I agree with LA in needing a plan before retiring. But my husband and I can’t wait! A couple more years and we’ll be writing our own daily schedules. As you said, we want to squirrel away a few more bucks before taking the plunge.
    On another note, we love our jobs, but we’re not glued to them. For us, there is more to life than work. That all depends on what people do to make a living. We’ve had some financial setbacks out of our control, shit happens to good people (excuse the language, but there is no better word), so leaving our jobs won’t hurt as much, even though we love them and the people.
    Regarding hobbies, I love to write, my hubby loves to ride his motorcycles (we write and ride LOL), and we ride together, along with hiking, backpacking, and camping. So, to have more freedom to do the things we love, to visit nature more frequently, well, that just sounds heavenly.
    We count the days, but in the meantime, we are grateful for our jobs, and we enjoy each day as it comes. We’ve penciled in some backpacking trips for this year, along with trips to the east coast to visit our daughter and son. So, all is good.
    I believe the concept of retiring is so personal to each individual. My hubby and I are in our early 60’s. Still young at heart and ready for adventure.
    By the way, I finished your wonderful book and will include it in a review post in May. ❤️

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    1. Hi Lauren, I just found your comment awaiting approval. Thank you so much for jumping in and sharing your views on this topic. Retirement is complicated and quite personal in nature. I really like how you, “love your jobs, but you’re not glued to them.” That’s so important because it’s much harder to leave a job if it is your life instead of just the work you do. And I agree, “shit happens to good people (no need to excuse your language, I’m quite flowery myself),” especially in our world today. There are so many extenuating circumstances that effect corporations and their pay structures. It really is the people who can make or break a positive working environment and that is never easy to walk away from. How interesting that you and your husband are writers and riders like Larry and I. We also have kids that live on the east coast and we love to visit them. Retirement has to happen when it’s right for you and your situation. I think it is wonderful that you are taking it slow, planning for this next stage, and looking forward to the adventures that will come when you are ready. Awe, I have to thank you for reading my book, I’m excited to hear what you think and look forward to your post in May. Have a fabulous weekend, hugs, C

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  13. I’m so happy for you both, C! I read this yesterday and have so many thoughts. I left one career early because of health (almost 25 years) and then had years doing odd jobs like workkamping in my RV. I’m young, C. Only soon to be 53. But in my mind I’ll never retire! I started writing and working with disabled adults. Cancer hit. Sometimes I get angry and then God softens me to say, “heal and rest”. I’m not a resting kind of gal! Due to much love, and loss, I’m alone with my pup. I don’t have much, but I get by! I have beautiful adult sons who joined the Air Force and now, 3 little grands, 1, 2, and 3. God knew what HE was doing having me work hard at a young age through. My writing may never give me a financial return investment. But it’s given me a return in friends, like you, that makes me “rich”. I’d say about $2000 more I’ll be out of debt, my car paid off, roof over my head, food in my frig….I can say I worked for it. I want to do more. See more. Life is ticking away. I say enjoy it while we can and don’t wait until we can’t!! Your living life large, in the gap of goodness! I love you huge, C! I’m going to buy your book! I think of you so so much! I’m so proud of you and to know you. 💕❤️💛🥰

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    1. Oh my goodness, hello Karla, I just love seeing you appear in the comments! Thank you for sharing your story and adding to this complex and complicated conversation. You have had an interesting career for someone so young. You’ve done so many different things and it feels as if you always follow your heart when deciding what your next direction will be. When hit with the unexpected you seem to always manage it with grace and faith. I love that about you. If I’m hearing you right, you are currently living alone but surrounded by your loving family and friends. That is wonderful and maybe just what you need. Moments of quiet and time with the people who love you most. I like how you note that, “Life is ticking away,” and advise others too, “enjoy it while they can.” I couldn’t agree more. If you don’t have to, don’t wait for permission to start living large as you put it. I love you karla, I’m holding you in prayer as you continue to heal and recover, and I look forward to that day that I am sitting next to you, sipping some coffee and laughing our heads off. Hugs, C

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      1. C, I love you. I’m so connected to you. Isn’t it amazing how this platform helps us find likeminded souls? I can see us sipping and laughing! I’m living vicariously through you! You should know that! Yes, I’m single. I’ve had broken relationships on my health journey. It’s been lonely and at times, maddening. But I found true love in my Creator! HE never leaves me. And through love and loss, I still have friends in them. That’s the beauty! I feel these experiences have given me much wisdom. I cherish it and soak in the peace. THIS week has been the most peaceful week I’ve had since my diagnosis almost a year ago. I lived in an RV for 4 years and working at campgrounds was my favorite! I met the coolest people ever! I started writing, “Living Large in my Tiny Home!” I found you here and someone else living large! You’re my inspiration! I feel your love, prayers. And the best~your hugs! ❤️❤️❤️🥰🥰🥰

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  14. Another recently retired educator here. I left sooner than I thought I would, and it was possible only because my husband is still working, but I had to get out. Like Pete, it became a health issue for me. I am so, so grateful that I was able to make this choice. I’m grateful, too, that I am able to provide better support for my parents, disabled brother, and young adult children, as well as my husband, now that I have time to do that. He and I (he’s a teacher, too) have often said that we’d love to see a more gradual transition to retirement become the norm. As we age, we have less physical capacity. For me, teaching was physical! I just couldn’t power through the way I did in the early years. Last year I retired and worked half-time, and it was great in many ways (physical, financial, social). I think many questions/dilemmas around retirement might be more easily resolved if it weren’t such an all-or-nothing thing.

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    1. Hi Rita, oh my, we have a lot in common both being retired educators! I so appreciate you sharing your journey and adding so much to this conversation. It truly is a privilege like you say, “to be able to make this choice.” It sounds like you are currently multitasking by supporting not only your parents, but your sibling, along with your own children. That’s a lot to manage even if you are retired. I love your idea of a gradual transition to retirement. This allows the person to cut back on the hours they work but not end a career they love, miss out on the social contact, or the financial rewards of working part-time. That’s such a great solution and it would be wonderful if that became the norm. We tried to ease our fears about retiring by telling ourselves that if it didn’t work out we could jump back in the work force. It was definitely a crutch but it moved us forward and supported our decision. We’re coming up on our first year and I have to say we absolutely love this stage of life. Hugs, C


  15. Your post gives me a whole lot to think about! The pandemic brought lots of changes for everyone. My husband began working remotely. I was doing freelance writing, which I’ve basically retired from. I wasn’t enjoying it anymore. Since my husband could work anywhere, we left California to where he wanted to retire. I wasn’t sold on it, but went along. I’m happy now. As for retirement funds, he’s a financial advisor and switched firms 10 years ago. The original firm he was with for 20 years sent him a packet to collect a monthly check from a retirement fund they had put away for him. It was pages and pages of info to fill out. The monthly check turned out to be (drum roll) $17.46. 😂

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    1. Retirement is a lot to consider, I totally agree. It’s a scary step for most people. I do think we stay in unsatisfying jobs longer than we should because we’re afraid of change. You and your husband already did the hard part, moving to a new location and you’ve adjusted so beautifully. When it’s the right time you’ll know and I’ve no doubt you two will have the courage to act! So far Larry and I are loving the new lifestyle. I look forward to seeing what your future holds. Hugs, C

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      1. I do enjoy my quiet time to write while my husband sweats over his computer in his office. It will be an adjustment for us when he retires. Hopefully we’ll have our health and get to travel like you and your hubby.

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        1. It’s been an adjustment having a type A person running circles around me while I try and write! We haven’t figured everything out yet but at least we’re arguing about it! I do like the travel! It’s a little after 6:00 am here in Japan! We’re loving this country and the people! Hugs, C

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  16. I enjoyed reading this Cheryl. I’m with you on all counts. I particularly loved when you hit on, “we never talked about retirement”, ain’t that the truth. Funny how life just happens and we find ourselves in new places that we don’t remember getting there. My husband retired twice. ❤

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    1. Thank you Debbie! I agree, life does happen regardless if we have those important discussions or not. Life arrives ready or not. I can totally understand retiring twice. Sometimes the first time around is not a good fit! Thanks for sharing your wisdom here! Hugs, C

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  17. We can’t wait to retire, Cheryl. We’re like racehorses waiting for the gates to open so we can charge out and stretch our limits. My husband’s working until his shoulder replacement (hoping to last another 18 months). And I’m still caring for an elderly parent, so we’re tied down. But I don’t think I’ve been bored since I was 15, and I don’t think that’s a thing I’ll experience ever again. I’m glad you and Larry have found joy in retirement. Live it up. We only get this one life and then it’s over forever.

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    1. A shoulder replacement seems to be a fitting delineator to retirement, meaning he will no longer be shouldering so much responsibility. He’ll need a new one for sure if you’re planning on stretching the limits as you say! Parents are another major concern. My parents have both passed but Larry’s are with us and just starting to deal with health issues at 84! Boredom is definitely an inside job. I’m with you, sitting for an hour in silence, or hiking a mountain both come with their own bliss. You put it best, “we only get this one life,” and the possibilities are endless! Hugs, C

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      1. I’ve learned, probably too late, that my parents needed a plan for their later years, rather than “Diana will dedicate her retirement to taking care of us.” It’s made me think long and hard about my plans for those years so I don’t spring the same “surprise!” expections on my daughter. We don’t like to admit we’re getting old, it seems.


        1. That must have been a shock! Hello, you’re retirement has been high jacked! For that very reason, Larry and I have been cognizant if this and laid out a solid itinerary as we age baring something unexpected which seems to be the norm these days! The kids have been told a nauseating number of times the plan. We’ll see how it goes. And yes, admitting the rapid passing of the years is uncomfortable and takes some initiative! Good for us! 💕

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  18. Cheryl, this is good and something I wished I could sent to my aunt without her giving me a tongue lashing. She refused to retire, and I suspect it’s because she’s a Baby Boomer, whose mother experienced the Great Depression (as you’ve said).

    Anywho, every time you mention that tandem bike, I think of your book and laugh (She’s not pedaling 🙄😂)


    1. Hi Kathy, somehow I missed this comment. Sorry for the delayed response. I think our resistance to retirement has a lot to do with our understanding of employment, our upbringing for sure, work ethic, and the source of our core identity. I think for many people their work is so closely related to who they are that letting that go would be like losing a part of yourself. It’s a difficult decision for a lot of people. I also believe having an interest or passion is helpful. People worry that they’ll end up sitting around twiddling their thumbs. Your aunt sounds like a character! Hugs, C

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  19. Although I don’t have a lot of thoughts about retirement, I always find your posts interesting. “I went out and had that statement tattooed along the length of my arm.” made me laugh so much 😅


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