Retirement or Life?

by Irwin
(Lakeland, FL)

August 27, 2012

In my efforts to post something to my blog site each and every Monday morning, I am constantly reading quite a few “retirement” newsletters. I never know what I might read that will turn that light bulb on in my head that says “hey, here is an interesting concept my readers might enjoy.”

Before I get into it, keep in mind the fact that we (my wife and I) have been retired from full time work since 1996. There were a few years where we both worked at Busch Gardens on a part-time basis, since retiring and I still teach whenever possible one or two semesters a year, but for the most part, we are officially retired.

Back to my comments about keeping current with what others are saying about the whole retirement issue. As one would guess, everyone has a different slant on what retirement is all about.

I am beginning to think that the word “retire” doesn’t even enter into the picture (especially with the economy being what it is and the age one may be able to leave the work force getting older and older – but I digress and that is fodder for yet another post).

Whether working or not, "life" is the key word we should be concentrating on. According to Wikipedia, retirement is the point where a person stops employment completely. A person may also semi-retire by reducing work hours. Go to for more information on the word retirement.

Life on the other hand, reflects a completely different aspect. When one looks up the definition of life, again referring to Wikipedia, the meaning of life is – its significance, purpose, and ultimate fate – is a central concept and question in philosophy and religion. Go to for more information on the words "meaning of life."

I propose that as we age (remember we as a generation are living much longer than those that came before us) we should stop focusing on how soon we can “retire” but instead look upon that time when we leave our present place of occupation as the time we can continue with our true life pursuits. True, once we leave the job we are no longer “working, per se” but we have not – leastways, I would hope we have not – given up living.

Another way to look at it is – OK – now that we no longer have to go to a 9-5 job, how are we going to keep ourselves both busy and happy. A person that enjoys life isn’t searching for anything in particular! They are living each day to the fullest which can be done even though we are not going to the 9-5 job.

What has changed?

Basically the only thing that has changed is that you will probably be receiving less money and you no longer have anyone to answer to. Plus, you now have 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year to do that which you want to do. How much fun is that? Think about it.

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said:

“Most men (and women) die with their music still in them.”

This doesn’t have to be you. Now that you have lots of time to devote to yourself, sit down and write a list of things you would like to do now that you have the time to do them. Consider this your “life” plan. Remember, another old cliché, “Tomorrow is the first day of the rest of your life.”

What are you going to do to make your dreams come true?

Wendy: Irwin, I could not have said it better! You have so read my thoughts -- I wrote earlier this year that I "lost" 2011 as I was relatively inactive in life. However, I spent that year, or most of it, contemplating retired life, exploring my inner self and learning where my retirement path was headed. Honestly -- it's all about what you have written.

I want to help those who are hopeless, who have no meaning in life, help those who need a new identity, or a more fulfilling lifestyle... and I will too.

ANYWAYS, Irwin, you certainly hit the nail on the head this time... and the issue is so important too!

Thanks for your vigilant thoughts on retirement issues!

Comments for Retirement or Life?

Click here to add your own comments

by: Ricardo

You make some interesting points Irwin concerning view points and observations on retirement.

I as well have been trying to gather as much information on another phase of my life that is looming over me in the next month.....retirement!

You, as well as many, many others that have "gone before", offer valuable insights to us "rookies." I have tried to gleen as much information as possible in order to "land on my feet" as I enter my retirement years. Of course one can never predict how we will react once we find ourselves with time on our hands, and the freedom to do as we choose without having to answer to an employer.

I believe one of the most difficult decisions revolving around retirement is to simply make the decision to do it!

If in fact one has done their do diligence and planned accordingly, the transition should be rather smooth. The so called "unknown" of course is, how in fact are we going to respond to our decision once we find ourselves retired. Over the years, with this in mind, I have been "financially" living with this retirement mindset.

Once that time arrives, which is in a month, there will be no adjustment to my life style what so ever, in fact, I will no longer have to fund for retirement.....I can start enjoying my past frugal ways without skipping a beat!

So far I have been blessed with good health, which of course is most important. I have learned to not only invest monetarily in my future BUT, also to invest in my well being both physically AND mentally so that I can live my remaining years as comfortably as possible, without being a burden to society, and to give back what I have been blessed with to others less fortunate .

I have chosen to retire on my terms, I was not "forced out" because of downsizing, nor did my health dictate my leaving the work place, that in itself is a wonderful feeling that many will never experience.

So I say, as I count down the last few weeks and days, I am it is up to me to turn the page and start a new chapter in this "brave new world" of retirement......Adieu!

Click here to add your own comments

Return to Irwin's Blog.