Gratitude is always the answer
I learned some important life lessons early on which is why I am able to look at all life brings me, including retirement, through the gratitude lens.
My first adult friend in the working world, Sally, had a profound impact on how I would view the world from the moment I met her. Cheerful, smart, fun - one would never guess she was in chronic pain from rheumatoid arthritis at twenty years old... Every movement became painful as her disease progressed but her outlook was "Attitude is Everything" and she CHOSE to be happy in life.
I began to use the phrase "I get to" instead of "I have to" in honor of Sally and her brave, courageous battle.
When I thought I was too tired to do my daily jog, I would think of her smiling through her pain and say to myself " I GET to go out and jog through my neighborhood."
Sally had been somewhat of a clean freak and loved to clean and organize her environments before "Uncle Arthur", as she called her disease, made it impossible for her to do so. To this day, I NEVER say I HAVE to clean the house, the garage, pull weeds, or do laundry. I always think to myself, "I GET to put the house in order today, I GET to make the yard look beautiful."
Sally passed at age 58. The last decade of her life was largely confined to the comfort of her home and a medical lift chair. She had a dream when her husband retired from his job that they would take trips in a motorhome so her world might expand a bit from the four walls she looked at every day. She never got to live out her "retirement" dream.
Knowing Sally's journey prepared me well for the illness of my significant other, Charlie, when he received a diagnosis of ALS. He, too, was confined to home and a medical lift chair for the last two years of his illness. He passed at age 55. He, also, never made it to retirement.
So, here I am, about to turn 67. I am healthy and well. I can walk, talk, feed myself and enjoy all life has to offer with only a few aches and pains. I have eased into retirement, working only part-time the last 6 years or so. I began cutting back on my work as an Occupational Therapist to spend time with my three grandchildren. Childhood passes so quickly.
I worked hard and planned well and though not wealthy monetarily, have plenty of money to sustain what I hope to be a long and enjoyable retirement.
I GET TO RETIRE... Sally and Charlie did not.
I hope that those on this site who are having difficulties with the transition from work to retirement understand what a gift it is to even GET to this stage in life.
An attitude of gratitude will take you through to the end.