Appreciation of Freedom in Retirement
Male, 73, married, two children
Education: college graduate
Job Status: optometrist for 50 years
Retirement Income: $25,000
Health: reported fair
Retirement Category: regular-voluntary, retired for 3 years
I had never intended to retire. When I was asked at the age of about 65, "When are you going to retire?" I always said when they carry me out. But I changed my mind after a heart attack, which kept me out of the office for about six weeks.
When I went back to the office, I found that work that used to take me an hour was now taking two to three hours. I was putting in about five hours a day, from ten to three, instead of my regular eight to ten hours, but I wasn't getting a great deal done. After I closed my office door at three o'clock, I was still there at least two hours getting the work finished, written up for a laboratory. It was becoming more difficult all the time. I decided that maybe I should quit and enjoy myself a little while I had a chance.
I used to go home very tired at night, something I hadn't noticed before this illness. Little things that had never bothered me before were now annoying, and I figured it was time to get out.
I hadn't given retirement much thought until I became ill. My optometry work was the only type of work I had ever known. I started