What does retirement mean to you? Every American likely has their own definition of the word. You may already be experiencing the phenomenon known as retirement, it may only be a fleeting thought because it is decades in the future or you may have “been there and done that,” only to be entering your second or third career. Retirement can be a loaded word, an uncomfortable thought or the place/space you long to be. Since I have recently entered into this space, I’ve spent more time thinking about what it means to me.
I remember waking my first day of retirement and thinking, “I don’t want to miss a minute.” I wasn’t sure exactly what retirement would shape up to be, but I knew one thing in that moment – I didn’t want to miss a moment of whatever it would be.
AARP’s stated mission is “to empower people to choose how they live as they age.” And they officially invited me to be part of their hallowed club last year! Merriam-Webster’s definition of retirement is “withdrawal from one’s position or occupation or from active working life.” From sitting in a rocking chair watching the Price is Right to babysitting the grandkids or adventuring around Europe, retirement is absolutely personal.
But, what does it really mean and how does it really feel? Since my retirement in November, there hasn’t been a lot, if any, down time. There has been a honeymoon in Hawaii, more travel, family visiting from out of town and many holiday activities. Now that we are wading into 2020, it’s time to reflect on what my retirement means for my future.
First off, while I retired from my amazing position at an incredible company, I didn’t retire from life. My recently-retired husband and myself have both been navigating the “what next” questions from well-meaning friends and family. The only thing we have committed to is not to make any commitments until….well, that date seems to be fluid.
Of the many things I’m grateful for during my time at Delaware Resource Group (DRG), my introduction to Rotary will forever be at the top! Navigating retirement while deepening my commitment to Rotary offers an anchor and a purposeful place to serve. We all need to feel meaningful – at any stage of life. Rotary gives us all the chance to make a difference – even before we enter the workforce via our Jr. Rotarian programs.
Perhaps instead of “retiring from” something, we can reframe it as “retiring to” something. And retiring to a life of Service Above Self is one I happily accept. Whatever your definition of retirement is it will certainly be better with a weekly dose of Rotary!