Retirement? Who, Me? by
10
(22 Stories)

Prompted By Retirement

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(Sung to the tune of “I Won’t Grow Up” from Peter Pan)

I won’t grow up,

I don’t want to stay home.

And just do whatever I want

Like sleep or write a poem.

 

I won’t grow up,

I don’t want to stop working

And just do whatever I choose

Like Facebook lurking

Not me,

Not I,

Not me,

So there.

Retirement. I guess that’s the next step in this growing up process. Nope, not me. Not yet. It’s not just about the dough, though that’s definitely a consideration; it’s more about liking my gig, the change of scenery, the chit-chatting, being out and about in the hustle and bustle, then returning to the cozy comfort of home and husband at the end of the day.

Besides, what would I do with the myriad job skills I’ve learned and used over a lifetime? If I won’t be using them, then they’re taking up valuable real estate in my brain. As it is, important stuff (like which movies I’ve already seen, whether I’ve already fed the dog, and whether I’ve already brushed my teeth) is leaking out because there’s just not enough room for everything.

It’s not that I’m afraid of being bored. The word is not in my dictionary. My closest friend recently retired and her days are filled to overflowing with cultural and creative pursuits, classes, nature walks, book club, exercise, yoga, travelling, inspired meal planning, seeing friends and family. Heck yeah, I could do  that! And then there’s all that organizing, decluttering, and downsizing I’ve been meaning to get to, and civic and volunteer work I can finally make time for. But…but…

But at heart I’m an introvert, and a homebody, If I retire, I may never leave the house short of being dragged out, bribed, coerced, or threatened. Conscientious to a fault, I show up at work, rarely missing a day, rarely late. But if I didn’t have to show up, I might just stay in bed, or at least in my athleisure wear, and I might forget to brush my teeth.

So there.

[My apologies to PP for having taken certain liberties.]

Profile photo of Barbara Buckles Barbara Buckles
Artist, writer, storyteller, spy. Okay, not a spy…I was just going for the rhythm.

I call myself “an inveterate dabbler.” (And my husband calls me “an invertebrate babbler.”) I just love to create one way or another. My latest passion is telling true stories live, on stage. Because it scares the hell out of me.

As a memoirist, I focus on the undercurrents. Drawing from memory, diaries, notes, letters and photographs, I never ever lie, but I do claim creative license when fleshing out actual events in order to enhance the literary quality, i.e., what I might have been wearing, what might have been on the table, what season it might have been. By virtue of its genre, memoir also adds a patina of introspection and insight that most probably did not exist in real time.

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Characterizations: funny, well written

Comments

  1. Years ago at a parents’ meeting at my son’s grade school, I volunteered for a committee. After the meeting I told the class mother that altho I had volunteered, I hoped the committee would be at night as I worked during the day.

    “Of course” , she said, “It’s always the working mothers like you who volunteer, I’ve learned that if you want something done, you give it to a busy woman.”

    And truthfully, how many times a week can you get your nails done?!?

    • It’s funny…if I have a list of, say, 16 things to do, I can do it all in one day, check, check, check…but if there are only a couple things that need doing, I’ll generally put off at least one of them.

      • Me too!
        And as for those lists we women are always making – I remember years ago when my son’s cohort were going off to college I spotted my friend Emily crossing Lexington & 86th Street, a big intersection with cars, trucks, buses and pedestrians always in the street.

        Emily was looking down at something in her hand as she hurried along, seemingly with no regard for the traffic light or the traffic rushing by. It was well before the advent of cell phones, so what was in her hand that held her interest?

        When I stopped her, I saw it was a shopping list of all she needed to get for her daughter’s dorm room.

        “Can’t stop,” she said, “Gimbel’s is sold out of blue striped, extra long twin sheets, so I’m heading down to Macys”

  2. Betsy Pfau says:

    First of all…LOVE your re-do of the Peter Pan song. How many of us even remember it? My brother and I staged it on our backyard swing set with all the neighborhood kids (my brother was Peter and I was Wendy, of course). We waited every year to see Mary Martin fly across the stage…but I digress.

    Your rationale makes perfect sense to me, Barbara. I have a friend who will be 80 in May who is still working full-time. He doesn’t need the money. He simply can’t imagine himself retired. So go for it, girl. Why not?

    • Thanks, Betsy…I gave myself an ear worm with that song that lasted for two days. Yes, some people actually enjoy working…and I’m one of them. I think it gives us a particular sense of satisfaction.

    • Suzy says:

      Betsy, I think everyone remembers that Peter Pan song!! I can certainly sing it at the drop of a hat. And Barbara, your new lyrics are great – I particularly like rhyming “home” and “poem”! I love being retired, so I don’t agree with your premise, but whatever makes you happy is what you should do. As long as you still have time for Retrospect, of course!

      • Suzy, I’m so glad you noticed home/poem! I just took an online MasterClass with the poet Billy Collins and he inspired that fun kind of “rhyming” that doesn’t exactly rhyme but still works. Since I’m already down to two days a week at my job, I’m actually hoping that I’ll just kind of naturally, slowly, gradually retire, and I think the time I’m spending here is somehow part of that natural evolution.

      • Betsy Pfau says:

        Suzy, you are probably right…that song is fixed in our boomer brains. It would be the younger generations who wouldn’t necessarily know it. I stand corrected.

        And I agree…Barbara, your new lyrics are funny and on point.

  3. Marian says:

    This resonates, Barbara. Although I left a full-time job, I don’t feel “retired,” and I bet that a lot of boomers feel that way. Your activities and energy are inspiring.

    • Thanks, Marian. I think a lot of us have such varied interests that we’ve managed to engage in even while working that when and if we do retire, we fill up our time delving more deeply into those interests. If or rather when I retire, I’ll likely write and play with art full time for as long as I’m able.

  4. I really love retirement, but I do find that the errands and chores I used to do were far more efficiently done when I was employed. In my last job I was able to walk to and from work and I would do errands on the route home. . I retired as a guidance counselor and somehow I efficiently made short business calls and did personal paperwork on my lunch break and between counselor duties. I was a multitasker! Now I waste time on the computer, chat on the phone, and somehow nothing gets done. (I need a 12 step program for Facebook.)

  5. Laurie Levy says:

    Love your PP take off, Barbara. Couldn’t help but sing along. And I totally get where you are coming from. Most of the founding teachers and administrators at my school have retired, but a couple who are still there have expressed the same thoughts to me. They need work to pull them into the world of people and keep their juices going. And I totally get it. If some life circumstances hadn’t happened, I might still be at it as well. But I have grown to love my so-called retired life. There is hope!

    • Based on what I’ve seen and partially experienced, it’s interesting how when we’re middle-aged, we dream about retiring, then we get to the right age and we’re often reluctant. We might be resistant to change, creatures of habit, and/or afraid of being bored or, maybe worse, irrelevant. But for the majority, we tend to embrace change and even end up wondering why we hesitated, and then we thrive. The human spirit is amazingly adaptable and flexible.

  6. This piece is sweet, silly, happy and poignant. How lovely to know yourself throughout your life!

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