Passages of Retirement: Personal Histories of Struggle and Success

By Richard S. Prentis | Go to book overview

45
Retirement Revisited

The retirees have spoken. Now that we have traveled their road of retirement, let us continue our journey.

It was fall again. The summer's corn crop was excellent, the drought notwithstanding, thanks to the great gardener in the sky. Swimming in the farm pond, cooled by underground springs, helped us survive the heat of the summer. Now I begin my eighth year of retirement.

My years have been spent, in part, listening to others tell their stories of retirement. I have arrived at a better understanding of this turning point in my life. If you are puzzled by the diversity of attitudes expressed by the retirees who shared their lives with us, let us agree it was a mixed bag of anticipation, avoidance or lack of interest about the event of retirement.

One day a 58-year-old lady was mandatorily retired--fired in the oldfashioned sense. On another day a man elected regular retirement at 70. Most retirees stated they were not in favor of early retirement; yet, the majority chose the option of early retirement. The majority said they had engaged in retirement planning while they were employed, the almost exclusive area was financial planning; a large segment had made no plans for their retirement. One retired man's biggest adjustment was spending time with his wife; one retired woman found retirement an opportunity for relaxed companionship with her husband. What this suggests is there are no simple patterns of retirement.

There were areas of agreement: Most found their work interesting, meaningful and a major interest in their lives. About half of the group

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