Retirement Talk

WHAT to do with the rest of your life?


Episode 652(167) Afraid of Missing Something

This is Retirement Talk. I’m Del Lowery.

Sometimes being afraid of missing out makes us unable to choose which way to go. We become unable to move. You heard about the guy who had an unlimited appetite. He couldn’t decide what food to start eating first and finally died of starvation. He was surrounded by food but just could not commit to eating one thing thinking he might miss out on something that was even better. We probably all fall into that trap at one time or another. There are just so many choices that we become constipated.

Perhaps some of us are struck with this disease more than others. I have many times heard people say that they always knew what they wanted to do in life or where they wanted to live. I stand in awe of such.

It must be a liberating thing to find one’s bliss and have it lasting; to know that you want to be a teacher, preacher or cowboy; to know that you want to be a painter, dancer or writer. One could throw themselves into learning the trade, skill or gathering the knowledge to perfect the profession. Days could meld into years and years into a lifetime of single mindedness or confidence.  I have never had the good fortune to be blessed with such assurance.

Mine has been a disjointed route. I could bore you with the details of different types of jobs I have had but they range over the field from pedestrian to professional. The commonality of them all was that they ceased to interest me over time. I wanted to leave them all. Here is just a partial list: farmer, factory laborer, swimming pool manager, recreation director, athletic coach, school teacher, grocery store clerk,  Director of a Head Start program, Director of a Seniors Program at a Community College, gas station attendant(perhaps my favorite), college instructor, etc.

I’m sure you get the picture. Although I loved some of the jobs (especially teaching),  I never regretted leaving any of them. I have always wanted to move on: vagabond, a gypsy, a drifter. I wanted to try something new; something different. 

Some of us want to know what is around the bend. Perhaps it is just a simple case of the grass always being greener; the longing for that which we don’t have. It might pertain to our geographical location, or our tasks, or work at hand. Perhaps it is just a matter of semantics. We that continually range to new fields are either dilatants or explorers. I’m not sure there is a difference. But that is where we find our bliss. Therein we find our straightness of crookedness. Perhaps we are very consistent in always knowing exactly what we want to do and that is change. Can’t seem to wonder where I’m Bound, where I’m bound, Can’t seem to wonder where I’m bound. 

Retirement presents its own set of options. We are no longer limited by earning an economic livelihood. We are free in a way that we may have never experienced. We are free to become a night person or an early riser, live in a different state or a different hemisphere. We are free to plant a garden that requires daily attention or to purchase an around the world ticket. We can live out of a backpack if we so choose. Or we could build our own house one stone at a time.

This brings to mind the lyrics to a Tom Paxton song dating from the sixties. The chorus and one verse goes:

And I can't help but wonder where I'm bound

Where I'm bound

Can't help but wonder where I'm bound

Well, if you see me passin' by and you sit and you wonder why

And you wish that you were a rambler too

Nail your shoes to the kitchen floor

Lace 'em up and bar the door

Thank your stars for the roof that's over you

I always liked that tune. Even though I had a hard time following it’s advice. What is important is making that choice rather than just letting life happen. Retirement gives us the space and opportunity to choose. We can do if we so desire. 


This is Retirement Talk.

If you have questions, comments or suggestions contact






Follow Retirement Talk on Facebook: on Facebook