Is retirement necessary? If so then what is it that we are missing about life before we retire? These are the questions I have been pondering.
It is all over day time news programs about helping people manage their money for retirement. There advertisements about how to make your retirement the best that life has to offer. Buy gold, no buy silver because it will make your dollar last through your golden years. A whole industry has sprung up or maybe it was always there I just never noticed it that services retiring folks and empowers you for preparing. It feels as if life is one big preparation to not work. As if working is a bad thing.
However is retirement what it is all about? Is that what we should be living for so we can finally do what we want to do? People say “I want to travel the world,” or “write that novel I was always thought to do,” or “now I can finally have the time to do what I want.” I understand the sentiment and appreciate the perspective. You can do all these things now before you retire and you probably should because you may not have the energy or gusto to do so then.
Retiring is still a fairly new concept that has been around in the United States for less than a 100 years. What did people do before then? Well…they worked until they were unable to and then lived off of whatever savings they had or with family. It was a way that worked for a long time. Our economy fluctuates and the Social Security system is on the brink of being bankrupt.
What can we do?
If we are asking ourselves how to save for retirement then we are asking the wrong question. Retirement may never come because we could pass away before or shortly after reaching it. My dad passed away almost two years into his retirement of a heart attack. He worked and slaved away at a job he resented in order to reach the promised land of retirement.
The first question to ask yourself is ‘what is your life going to be about?’ Or why are you here on this earth? This is a better starting point because it gives your life purpose and meaning. Therefore, if and when you do retire you do not find yourself bored but rejuvenated because your mission in life continues after your job has ended.
Your job occupies your time while you fulfill your purpose.
As the old saying goes, “If you do something you love, you never have to work a day in your life.” We chose the career we did for a reason. If we are unhappy in it then the ownership is on us not our boss or the job itself. Only you can change your perspective and only you can change.
I will be writing more about retirement and finding purpose in my next several blog posts. I hope you will join me on this journey. Life can be enjoyed now. You do not have to wait until you are retired to start enjoying it.