Episode 137 Retirement’s Many Roads
Golden is the first name of a recent coffee shop
acquaintance. “Golden. How did you get that name”, I asked. “My father was
always looking for gold when he was a young man living in southern
This is Retirement Talk. I’m Del Lowery.
Golden taught Literature at
I don’t want to travel. I do – travel that is. But it is not
high on my list of wants. When we chose to live in the Pacific Northwest one of
our reasons was that we would not have to travel far to experience – a foreign
country, mountains, salt water, forests or wilderness areas, large cities, or major universities. Another reason travel
is not high on my list is that we did travel while we lived in
Returning to thoughts of Golden, he traveled in retirement and loved it. I think about all of the different roads one may choose to take in retirement and it is humbling. It is hard to make that choice. Perhaps that is why many of us don’t do much. A certain comfort comes from routine. We know what to expect. We know where we will sleep, where we will eat, where and when we will take a nap, and where we will have dinner or go out for coffee. There are lots of choices but we tend to establish routines.
Sometimes I wonder at my own choices in retirement. Perhaps I am limited by lack of imagination. I have chosen to do this or that with my life, but there all of those other possibilities that have thus been eliminated. One could choose to travel, grow dahlias, watch television, go sailing, study native plants, explore your genealogy or write your memoirs. The roads are many.
I sometimes think the real problem isn’t in choosing one thing and then regretting not choosing something else. The problem is in choosing: the act of committing to one direction or another. “Waiting for Godot”, the great play by Becket illustrates the real predicament. The play drives home the absurdity of not making a decision and remaining stuck in one place. The two main characters carry on an endless discussion of whether the answer to their making a choice will come today or if they should just get up and choose which way to go. They wait. And they wait. It is worth a read if you haven’t already done so. I think I will put it on my list of books to reread.
I have a friend down the street that retired over a year ago and has suffered one hard year. He can’t make up his mind about retirement. He can’t do anything. He wanders around as if in a daze. His choices are unlimited. He has health, money and time. He could choose any one of so many directions to go. But, he remains seated. It would be okay to remain seated if that is the road one chooses. The problem comes when that is a default position. “Should we go, or should we stay”, Becket poses the question so well. As the old saying goes, “Sometimes you just have to take the bull by the horns”.
Time ticks. Golden had his choices to make and made them. Health now forces him to sit. He does that with a warm cup of coffee and fond memories of days gone by. We should all be so lucky.