“Smoking cigarettes and watchin” Captain Kangaroo, now don’t tell me; I’ve nothing to do.”
— “Flowers on the Wall” by The Statler Brothers
In the past week I have cleaned out every closet, emptied and reorganized every drawer; spotlessly cleaned my utility room, and ironed all of my work clothes for the next work week. And that was only Wednesday.
I took the full week off for only the second time since last Christmas week. I had what is called a “staycation” in modern lingo. I didn’t travel anywhere and really had no special plans to do anything. I mostly just wanted to rest up for the beginning of the holidays. That was pretty much accomplished by the first Saturday of my week off.
Even though I am probably close to the age at which many people think about retirement, I never think about retiring. Of course, there are those who claim I really don’t do much work at work. Those are the jealous people. I feel no guilt for enjoying what I do for a living. I need social interaction. I need a purpose. I need to get out of the house.
I don’t know how people plan to retire. I have no discipline when I have no work schedule. Even on weekends when I am off, I tend to stay up really late and sleep in even really later! One day this past week, I awoke around 8:30 when my girlfriend got up to go to work and then fell back asleep until noon-thirty! When you get up at half past noon, the day is almost half over. And even with that I still had time to clean out my closets, drawers, utility room; and clean and mop my entire house before dark. And it gets dark pretty early these days.
I have no idea what I would do with myself if I were to retire and have every day to sleep until noon-thirty. The house only gets disheveled and dirty every so often. I guess people adjust to having no work schedule and no job responsibility. It just seems like a strange concept to me.
In one study it stated that the average American will retire at age 66 and live to be 79 years old. A 65-year-old woman has a 50% chance of living to be 83. A 65-year-old man has a 50% chance of living to be 83.
People tell me all the time I don’t look or act my age. Taking into account some of that is faint praise from politeness, I do think I have held up pretty well physically and mentally when compared to my contemporaries. A decent diet, some regular exercise routines, and probably good genetics does help. However, all of us at a certain age are aware we only have so many good years and so much good health.
One of my most closely held philosophies is that with physical and mental health the “use-it-or-lose-it” principle is valid. And for those of us lucky enough to get up every single work day and look forward to going to the office, there is a very special benefit to that as well.
I don’t propose to finding any fountain of youth secret, but attribute much of my life’s good fortune thus far to, for the most part, having enjoyed for many years how I make my living. I find my work rewarding and have found a sort of purpose to the madness in having helped some people along the way. Altruism aside, I just think that retirement at the suggested or customary age is simply not a one-size-fits-all thing.
I personally always think my columns are better when I have to mentally discipline myself during a more hectic work week than when I have all week long to ponder them. I seem to be a person who really prospers with a lot of social interaction.
So I will get up again on Monday morning and happily slip into the office after retrieving my morning cup of coffee and do my mocking gripe about how Mondays suck and how quickly the weekend went. I will happily share the weekend with my favorite co-workers and feel very fortunate at the end of the day to go home and get ready to do it again the next day.
I have some more vacation time scheduled off from Christmas to after New Year’s Day. I will surely spend some real quality time with friends and family and catch a few good games on television. I will have a spotless house. And, who knows, I might even have time to rearrange the furniture and scrub the sidewalk out front before I go back to work on Jan. 2nd!
— Lindon Dodd is a freelance writer who can be reached at email@example.com.