Will I Miss It?

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?

8 thoughts on “Will I Miss It?”

  1. I worked part-time for 7 years before I retired fully. In those 7 years, I had begun taking on other activities to fill my time. They included resurrected hobbies and some new volunteer work.

    Some of these activities provided me with some opportunities to use my PC skills such as creating spreadsheets to help me out. [Even an activity such as square dancing gave me a chance to use my spreadsheet skills earlier this year to fix a growing nuisance. We use the computer cards to make sure the dancers rotate around an get to dance with as many other couples as possible. These cards had some errors, we realized, so I created a spreadsheet to check the cards for errors and figure out how to fix them, something which would have been pretty much impossible for the average 70-year-old in my club.]

  2. Man, “the fear of being bored while living a cushy, well-fed life” is such an amazing First World problem. Not me-if I can bail outta this early, I’m taking up as a man of leisure. There is absolutely nothing wrong in my mind with spending too much time in a hammock.

    “What did you do all day today?”
    “Not much, looked at the clouds for awhile, picked some wildflowers, went for a swim, thought about making some soup.”
    “Wow, sounds like you’re wasting your life!”
    “Nope, you’re the one who’s wasting yours.”

    Will I miss my fake-forced friend coworkers and the sense of accomplishment that comes from doing something genius for upper management? Hell no! I’d rather me sitting on a café patio in Paris watching the world go by. …Or eating toast and honey in a garden watching butterflies. Or watching bikinis stroll on a white beach. This whole “need to work to feel fulfilled” idea is a bunch of junk for suckas. …But that’s just me.

  3. I kind of agree with Edward – everything about my work situation feels artificial. I look forward to being outside during the daylight hours and meeting people through volunteer or social activities, of which there are many in my city.

  4. Social interactions in early retirement can be difficult. All your friends, family and sometimes even spouse are still working full-time and so I imagine there would be a lot of alone time during the day. I think I would have a hard time with this and would probably want to work part-time or volunteer in some capacity to ensure I don’t feel isolated.

  5. Hummm….I probably would have agreed with you when I was still 10 years away from retirement. However, now that I am six WEEKS away (yes!), my perspective has changed. A lot. I am retiring relatively early at age 52. I don’t know how old you are, but you are going to go through a lot of changes in the next 10 years. Your attitudes, your perspectives, even your body will be changing. Build your friendships and your connections now and enjoy your work life because that’s what you’re supposed to be doing at this stage of life. Trust that you will probably not be worried so much about it when the time comes.

  6. Retirement, early or otherwise in not a panacea. You cease working a paid job and you live off your savings. Period. Whomever or whatever you were and did in your working life will be who you are in retirement, just more of it. If you enjoyed being with people socially, you’ll have more time to do it, whether it’s through Meetup dot com or a multitude of other opportunities through community colleges courses, volunteering or whatever. Too many times I’ve seen people say, “Oh, my life will be so much better once I’m able to quit working and retire early.” In reality, it’s not work they hate, just the “type” of work, or where they do it. Life is what we make it, and working or early retirement shouldn’t be confused with simply being fulfilled. You’ll be working in some form until the day you die, maybe just unpaid is all, so just make sure it’s something you enjoy. If not, find something else that makes you happy. People shouldn’t assume that early retirement will right all the wrongs in other areas of their life. If you were and anti-social hermit in your working life, that person will continue down that path, they’ll just have more time to do it.

  7. Sometimes the Workplace in general is over rated. Most people when they are coming up to their formal retirement are often confused and some have anxiety and depression issues. My suggestion is to take the opportunity to do some ‘lifelong learning’ that will bring you different options to focus on for your second or third act. It’s important that you do some personal research for each option; then hopefully, you can choose something that you are passionate about. If you choose well it will make you more active, creative and productive in your pre-retiremnent or retirement life.

  8. @Edward – I look at what I do when I do have vacation and I tend to agree with you….I’m just wondering if there are days that I may miss it. I guess time will tell, although anytime I can fit more soup into my life….I don’t see a downside to that!

    @Joe – That is excellent advice, thank you for your suggestions!

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