on Retirement

On Monday a co-worker is retiring from my company after having had worked there for over 40 years. As a special celebratory treat, I am making my team a breakfast of homemade from scratch biscuits and gravy (his favorite) along with fresh ground coffee (much better than what the company provides).  While we are sorry to see him go, as we will miss his humor and wealth of knowledge, we are happy for him in that he can move on to his next stage of life. Even though he will no longer be working for my company, no one believes for a minute that he will ever stop working; golfing or buying an RV to travel the country is just not his thing.

I often wonder what it will be like to not work, and frankly am having a hard time figuring out what I would do. Although I do look forward to my occasional leisure time now to be sure, I find that it can only be fully appreciated after a long bout of working hard. I believe that human beings were designed to work at accomplishing things; we are actually at our best and most content when we do. Life was never intended to be all fun and games. Sure, there are those out there that seem perfectly content with the leisure life, but I doubt that they feel truly fulfilled, as they have nothing to look to which measures their purpose, that proves that they have made a difference beyond just existing. The happiest retired people I meet are usually those that have not really retired at all, but merely exchanged one form of work for another. For some it is helping to raise their grandkids, for others it is volunteer work, for some it is a completely different kind of job, perhaps one that really doesn’t seem like work at all. How many of us have yearned for the time and financial stability to just work at our dream job, but never got the chance to due to other obligations?

I guess what I am trying to say is that we as a people should never look at retirement as something that means we stop working. Rather, we should merely look at it as a path change, hopefully at a time when we are much older and wise enough to know how to find that place which can best fulfill our continued purpose. There are so many things out there that need to be done that we working younger folks just cannot get to yet.  Those who are retired can fill in the gaps of community needs while perhaps fulfilling their own dreams as well. No one is called to be an observer in this life; we are meant to be doers. Perhaps that is one of the reasons why so many things have been going wrong in our country: we have had too many generations of people who gave up on being doers in the latter half of their lives, thereby robbing our country of the wisdom so desperately needed to keep the folly of our youth and ego in check.  You need look no further than our current President’s administration to see what happens as a result – the lack of wisdom ends up hurting us all.

We need wisdom and life experience now more than ever in our country. Just because the body does not move as fast or with as much vigor as before does not mean that its voice has no value. I believe that when we age, we are merely trading youth for wisdom, and the need is great for those who have proven themselves worthy of that exchange. Will you rise up and help those with the energy to get it done with your valuable wisdom in order to help steer America back on course? Our country no longer has the strength or ability to tolerate those ignorant fools bent on sucking her dry of her economy, financial stability, military might, educational fortitude, self-sufficiency, constitutional jurisprudence and basic common sense. You can be there when we can’t, you can stand in the gap while we raise our families and work, and then we can take over for you when your energy is low. Together we can fix the damage past and current leadership has done to our country so our children and grandchildren will inherit a future of hope, instead of one of hopelessness. Every American must be in the fight for our future, as every American – every single one – has gifts worthy of the fight. You are needed as additional watchmen over this great Republic.

So, will you choose a retirement of leisure, or one of legacy?

“Age is only a number, a cipher for the records. A man can’t retire his experience. He must use it. Experience achieves more with less energy and time.” ~ Bernard M. Baruch (1870-1965) American Economist and adviser to US presidents

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