Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Clash of Retirement

I think that there are a lot of books published about retirement and some I should have read 20 years before I retired.  I get the emails about what to do with a $500,000 dollar portfolio so at least I get to laugh.  I think financial security is important, who knows what is going to happen?  There is a lot to worry about with the weakening of Medicare and increasing cost of private health insurance.  A trip to the grocery store is like buying gold and everything is priced accordingly.  You develop a travel budget
based on gasoline costing $3 dollars per gallon and it goes to $4.50!  Every time you turn around some Government agency wants more in taxes.  I suspect there are lots of financial advice books out there but for me that is only one aspect of retirement.
   There is an art to doing nothing and I am still learning it.  Being retired gives one a totally different view of time, a 24 hour clock with no work hours in it.  That is quite an adjustment.  There is the money aspect to this, if you are not working you are not making money, but there is also a loss of a sense of accomplishment.  Thirty-five years in the construction industry and at the end of every day I could stand back and say "I did that!"  A foundation or laid a floor, built some cabinets or hung some doors.  Something and mostly a lot of things.
   I still make lists of things I want to do, a left over of old habits, but looking backwards, sometimes nothing gets scratched off the lists.  I can see too many yesterdays where I accomplished nothing at all.  It takes some adjustment in retirement to realize that this is OK.  Puttering about becomes a legitimate thing to do for retired people, but it is not as easy as it seems.  We still like to be useful and have not lost our desire to be needed.
50 Roses and 100 leaves in 24 feet
   I have developed over the years the hobby of gardening.  It is fairly inexpensive and produces abundance with a little sustained effort.  I can radically alter this little third acre starting from little seeds in my greenhouse, nurtured, transplanted and growing to seven feet tall in a single season or huge masses of flowers in my various pots.  In retirement I appreciate my home more than ever and recently replaced the roof, now a no worry for the next thirty years!  This summer I will paint the house. Another worry scratched off my list.
 24' of rose railings completed yesterday!
   From time to time I do get a "job", a client wanting something from me.  It is a thrill for me to still be able to do this.  I "have work to do," a temporary change back to the old clock, the one with working hours in it.  It is a human condition I think.  We like to work.  

7 comments:

Optimistic Existentialist said...

"There is an art to doing nothing and I am still learning it"

What an interesting quote sir! I think when I am retired I will take up gardening and also creating a paradise for birds in my backyard.

Barbra Joan said...

What can I say about your 'rose railings' except you've still 'got it'. You are a true artist and still can make beauty in this world that seems to be going crazy and ugly.
Retirement? I think it's harder for a man than for a woman.
For men, so much of their days, weeks, years are filled with their work, yes, and some women too. But womem seem to fill that retirement with hobbies, friends, and all the things she thought about while she was working.. And she still has her home where she'll maintian and it gives her a purpose, ..Most men are like a fish out of water when there is no job to get up for and no accomplishments at the end of their day.
I believe that many men, not all, just kind of melt into a chair watching tv. That makes them older, sicker and depressed..
Not a good thing.
As for you Jerry, you have that occasional 'job'. You just showed us the beauty you still create and my hope is that until your 90 someone will want something that keeps you going.. In between times, you have your garden, your other interests ,, enjoy them .
WE still need you too. !!!
Barbra Joan

Graciewilde said...

and I am interested in learning how to do nothing! After over thirty years in public education, I am getting tired and burned out. But, as you said, financial security is important. If I leave my job, I have no health insurance. and, yes, going to the grocery store is crazy
- $75 yesterday for two bags that basically contained two days of dinners and lunches for two. Amazing!
I am just about ready to leap off the treadmill = perhaps only partially (reduce my time to 60% or 80%. Scary though.

stonepost said...

Barbra Joan couldn't agree with you more about television: "makes them older, sicker and depressed"! so true!
Optimistic, the art in doing nothing is a process of shedding our puritanical beliefs that tie in our identity to our work. Easier said than done.
Gracie,we are slaves, that is all there is to it. We stay in unresponsive jobs because of health insurance. Can't get too far away from the whip!

Anthony said...

Great artwork!

rama said...

Retired or not , you are doing a really wonderful job both in your garden and also in your career or you might want to call it a hobby, and your cancer is gone, your girls are doing well, and you have nothing really to worry about. SO just sit back and enjoy life.You are at a stage where you can do anything or just be happy doing nothing.

rama said...

Retired or not , you are doing a really wonderful job both in your garden and also in your career or you might want to call it a hobby, and your cancer is gone, your girls are doing well, and you have nothing really to worry about. SO just sit back and enjoy life.You are at a stage where you can do anything or just be happy doing nothing.