I have a family member who is retiring this December. They are very concerned they will be bored after retirement, and have gone to great lengths to ensure they have enough activities to carry out in the short-term. Fishing poles have been purchased, sports equipment has been purchased and great thought has been put towards how a day will be filled. As this person gets closer to their retirement date, I think they are getting comfortable with the fact that they won’t just spend the day staring at a television or being bored.
I am still over a decade away from the date I have set as my retirement goal. I think by that time, I will have taken on and discarded dozens of hobbies (at my current pace), and have no idea how I will fill in my day. What I wonder though, is if there are some aspects of the workforce that I will miss?
One facet of work that I may miss is the imposed social interaction. There are lots of books and articles written around adult friend-making and how it’s kind of a weird art. Personally, I make friends very slowly, especially compared to how I would make friends in school. Work is a place that I have met several people that I hang out with socially, as I can find people that share interests or are interesting to talk to.
To a certain extent, I may miss some of the challenges I face in the workforce. I don’t enjoy being under stress, but there is a certain feeling of achievement in overcoming encounters and resolving issues that may not be able to be duplicated in a retirement life. The urgency and conflict that comes up sometimes (not very often for me, but maybe once a month) makes my day more interesting. I’m not sure if I can have this kind of feeling of achievement or problem-solving on a golf course or something.
I think that overcoming the loss of social opportunities and the challenges that come up from being in the workforce will be easily conquered. After another decade plus in the workforce, I may be more than ready to be isolated for quite a while. If the feeling of loss comes up, a lot of the situations can be duplicated in volunteer work, or even through part-time or contract work.
I think that there will be a net gain in enjoyment in my life post-retirement. If you’re coming up on retirement, are there any things from the work world you think you’ll miss? If you’re already retired, have you filled in the “gaps” from your previous life?