Let's start with two definitions:
Retirement means "The period of life after leaving one's job and ceasing to work."
Work means "an activity involving mental or physical effort done in order to achieve a purpose or result."
Most of us think of "work" in a much more specific way: "an activity or physical effort done in order to earn money."
But, that isn't the literal definition of the word. And, that is part of the problem with the whole concept of living a satisfying retirement: the words are mis-defined. Retirement has nothing to do with no longer working. It has to do with no longer working at a particular job or career for money. But, nowhere should it be assumed that retirement means no more work.
Do you play golf? I am willing to bet you'd say that the game involves work, both physical and mental, even if you ride a cart for 36 holes.
How about growing some of your own vegetables? I know from our recent experience: this is work! Forget check the need for watering for even one day and things start to wilt. Don't pull weeds and your efforts suffer.
Do you exercise? Sorry, but even with an endorphin "high" that is work.
Retirement does not mean not working...it is supposed to mean working at something you enjoy. It is a life reimagined or redefined.
Now, let's pause for just a moment and admit a very common reality: folks who have retired from one job may start another. Whether that employment is full or part time, self-employed or working for pay for someone else, the economic realities of the world can require additional income to lead the type of life someone desires.
Is that person still "retired?" I suggest it depends. If I spend 25 hours a week writing this blog to satisfy my creative urges and manage to earn a little extra money through those efforts I consider myself retired. I am not writing Satisfying Retirement for the money. The dash of extra cash is a nice side benefit but it isn't a motivator.
If, on the other hand, I go back to my part time tour guide job I would think of myself as partially retired. That job would be taken with money as the primary motivator. There are side benefits, but I certainly wouldn't do it for free.
Or, what if I had the ability to build wood cabinets and coffee tables and sold them? I would be working with a passion of mine: woodworking (this is a made-up scenario!) and generating income. Because I choose to use a talent and enjoy it, I would consider myself retired with a lucrative hobby.
I know, this is splitting hairs and it really doesn't matter how someone is "categorized." The individual determines how he or she feels about his life or control of her time.
The point is much broader: retirement absolutely does not mean we stop working. We work at something until we die. It is part of being human. We do stuff.
So, the next time someone asks how come you aren't bored by not working, educate him about the meaning of the word.
|The hardest working "retired" person I know: Betty refinishing a door|