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Old 03-05-2015, 05:22 PM
 
Location: Sacramento
13,784 posts, read 23,803,102 times
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I can see the issue as retirement being an affiliation with a void, whereas previous statuses were with an ongoing entity (school, employer, profession etc.).

So as a label some may find it to be a bit demeaning or vacant, especially if proud of previous social status identities.
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Old 03-05-2015, 05:51 PM
 
Location: Backwoods of Maine
7,110 posts, read 8,149,204 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AZDesertBrat View Post
As for the "retirement" thing...I guess I'd rather say "I'm retired" for the rest of my life as opposed to saying "Just waiting to die now". That IS what comes after retirement, right? So you're lifestyle is still retired but is it really your "identity"?
I usually tell people that I never really retired...I just "sold my business", which is true. There were no parties or gold watches for me, and no end to the work to be done around here, either!

As for "waiting to die", I think it is unfortunate that retirement does indeed precede decline and passing on. But what is the alternative? Working till you drop? I have a 93-year-old neighbor, who doesn't dwell on dying. His days are too full of "life" - gardening, raising seedlings to sell, brooding baby chicks to sell - he lives in a world of continual renewal and life cycles. He laughs, works, wonders; he is definitely "alive" and is not waiting for anything except the next batch of seedlings to come up. He makes me feel young.

In my life, I have seen a lot of death. You don't have to be old to die! Children. teens, young adults...they were not "waiting to die"; it just happened. I once held one of my own grandbabies, dead soon after being born. To live out ones' years is a privilege, not attained by all, and certainly nothing to complain about!
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Old 03-05-2015, 06:11 PM
 
Location: Edina, MN, USA
6,954 posts, read 7,390,042 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nor'Eastah View Post
I usually tell people that I never really retired...I just "sold my business", which is true. There were no parties or gold watches for me, and no end to the work to be done around here, either!

As for "waiting to die", I think it is unfortunate that retirement does indeed precede decline and passing on. But what is the alternative? Working till you drop? I have a 93-year-old neighbor, who doesn't dwell on dying. His days are too full of "life" - gardening, raising seedlings to sell, brooding baby chicks to sell - he lives in a world of continual renewal and life cycles. He laughs, works, wonders; he is definitely "alive" and is not waiting for anything except the next batch of seedlings to come up. He makes me feel young.

In my life, I have seen a lot of death. You don't have to be old to die! Children. teens, young adults...they were not "waiting to die"; it just happened. I once held one of my own grandbabies, dead soon after being born. To live out ones' years is a privilege, not attained by all, and certainly nothing to complain about!
Great post
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Old 03-05-2015, 06:27 PM
 
1,226 posts, read 1,258,991 times
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Pardon me for intruding on this conversation as I am not retired or of retirement age. I was wondering what your objection to using “retired” is as one descriptor for this stage of your life?

This brings to mind my widowed grief group. They were all different ages, all had different lives, their only commonality was losing their spouse. They all railed against the word “widow” and their fate. Their grief was so present that it was difficult for them to see around it and everything led back to it. This is very normal.

One day I had us sit in a circle. I handed out 11 sheets of paper and on each piece of paper was the name of someone in the group. Everyone was told to write down a one-word description of who each person was.
I believe the first person to be called to the center of the circle was Janie. I remember her as being a particularly lovely, tall, thin woman. Her movements were very graceful. Each of the rest of the group was instructed to call out what they had written on the page with her name on it:

Business owner
Florist
Mother
Poet
Witty
Gardener . . . I can’t remember them all.

What I can remember is that not one person wrote “widow”. In fact, none of the lists included that dreaded word. The point was that although it was true that they were widowed, they were also so much more. One word cannot begin to describe an entire person, their entire life, or even a phase of their life. One word is simply one word.
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Old 03-05-2015, 07:14 PM
 
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Working and having worked is not part of my identity anymore yet retirement is a definition of having stopped working. At this point Whoope so what!
I confess I am marveling at this discussion. And I'm lost as toe what the conversation is really about. Is it about some apparent angst that people have about "defining" oneself" in retirement -- or how one who is "retired" is defined by others? I don't get it.
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Old 03-05-2015, 07:19 PM
 
Location: Los Angeles area
14,018 posts, read 17,729,443 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rdflk View Post
I confess I am marveling at this discussion. And I'm lost as to what the conversation is really about. Is it about some apparent angst that people have about "defining" oneself" in retirement -- or how one who is "retired" is defined by others? I don't get it.
I think it's all of what you said. And yes, it's a bit nebulous!
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Old 03-05-2015, 07:21 PM
 
13,040 posts, read 15,385,717 times
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My question is: Is there life BEFORE retirement? Real life? I don't think so, at least not for everyone. We slave away 40+ hours a week and after that we are too tired to do anything that we would LIKE to do - or at least I am. I'm 57 and I WISH I could retire now. I am trying to find something part time or prn so I can still work, but not full time.

I think it would be wonderful to wake up and be able to do whatever I pleased that day without 8+ hours of it already scheduled with something I really don't want to do.
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Old 03-05-2015, 07:46 PM
 
Location: San Diego
55 posts, read 73,477 times
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For me, the word "retirement" goes with the notion of leaving an institution of employment and it's organization. Pre-retirement, one subjugates oneself to the (supposedly!) larger objectives of the institution (along with others in that institution) and, in return, is rewarded with money, recognition, power, and certain privileges.

When we retire, we remove ourselves from the institution and stop pursuing the institution's objectives and being a member of it's organization. In that sense, "retirement" is colored by the view of those in an institution. Perhaps that is the root of the pejorative connotation of retirement (by those still within the institution) - that a retiree doesn't have a set of larger than personal objectives governing their activity and, is in some ways, shirking the call to serve the larger organization (vs immediate family or oneself). In this narrative of engagement in and disengagement from institution, when you leave the institution, you are retired thereafter, even if the act of leaving takes only so much time.

To continue to call the entire period in one's life after the departure from the institution "retirement" certainly doesn't do the person justice. After retiring, one pursues personal objectives and shape their community based on personal criteria. By definition, personal objectives are not going to be as grandiose nor require a large cohort of like minded people to achieve them as would in an institution.

So employment and the so called retirement are two different phases, governed by different rules, even if somewhat overlapping since the same person is involved in both and the activities may be similar. The question of "retirement" is only related to quitting one stage for the other. As others have stated, we don't have a good term for the post-retirement phase in English. (Erik Erikson called it the Wisdom stage, but, that's from a psychological perspective...)

I agree with the OP that after 10 years, just saying "I am retired" doesn't quite do the person justice. Perhaps, instead of saying, "I am retired" one could say, "I have been pursuing my personal interests for the last N years." (The related issue is that life post-retirement cannot be easily summarized as one would one's role in professional jargon. How would one describe a person who's involved in multiple activities - learning languages, traveling, pursuing arts/culture, volunteering?)
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Old 03-05-2015, 07:46 PM
 
2,429 posts, read 3,222,625 times
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Quote:
My question is: Is there life BEFORE retirement? Real life? I don't think so, at least not for everyone. We slave away 40+ hours a week and after that we are too tired to do anything that we would LIKE to do - or at least I am. I'm 57 and I WISH I could retire now
^^THANK YOU. I just don't get all the "I don't know how to define myself anymore" comments (I see elsewhere from time to time)....or angst over "is it OK to not want to work anymore?" You are more than your job. Your value is NOT in your job. There is LIFE beyond work. I can't wait to retire. One way to define myself will be a retired XXX. If they ask what I do now.....I'll say when I'm not doing nothing, I travel, volunteer, garden,.....whatever. Everyone I know personally is having a ball....no one even thinks about how they're 'defined." They don't care! they're too busy LIVING their life.

I guess people have deeper conversations at cocktail parties than I do. Because when ever I'm at a social event, a person may say they're retired. They MIGHT get asked how they're keeping busy. They answer, And the conversation moves on. It's not that deep.
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Old 03-05-2015, 07:55 PM
 
12,558 posts, read 16,655,760 times
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As to being retired, I have no problem being included in a nondescript category of retired persons. So far, except for being ignored for being "old school" on CD, my feelings are not hurt. I am old school and very glad that I made it this far without having suffered too much damage to my character, body and spirit. I've been included in categories a lot more defamatory than just being called retired.

If I thought it was bad to be retired, I wouldn't have used my login name for the past seven years on CD. The trick is to know what you have accomplished with your life and not what someone else thinks you have accomplished. Then too, some of us are accomplishing more after retirement than anything we were allowed to do while working.
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