A little over 6 months ago, I took a leap of faith and “retired.” I was working in a noxious environment, and I got out as fast as I could.
But instead of steaming milk at Starbucks or cleaning carpets…I just retired. My wife and I put together a game plan, making her the official breadwinner in the family and giving me the distinguished title of Mr. Mom.
My unofficial title on LinkedIn: “Retired Stay-at-Home Dad, Trying to Change the World One Blog Post at a Time”
It has been nothing short of wonderfully great.
After 6 months, though, I thought it was finally time to define “retirement.” I started working on this definition when friends and family began looking at me like I was certifiably insane. (Then there were the hyper-dramatic questions: “Are you doing OK?”)
Actually, it was responses from total strangers – shock, bewilderment and even jealousy – that helped me formulate my explanation.
Being “retired” simply means that I get to do whatever the heck I want – a basic concept gets lost in all the myths surrounding retirement:
• Being “retired” does NOT mean sleeping until 11:30 a.m. everyday;
• Being “retired” does NOT mean you can’t and/or don’t make money;
• Being “retired” does NOT mean you’re lazy and/or inactive;
• Being “retired” does NOT mean you just sit around and wait for death to knock on your door;
• Being “retired” does NOT make you irrelevant.
I’ve had a lot of conversations about retirement since I clocked out of the real world. Some of these discussions are inspiring, while others are tragic.
I recently heard a story about a gentleman who was retiring after 35 years at the same company. He was going to use his pension to chase his real dream of making music.
I’ve talked to other people who are clueless about the next phase in their life.
ME: “Congratulations on your retirement!”
ME: “What’s going to be your next adventure?”
CLUELESS: “I have NO idea. Find a hobby, I guess.”
That makes my heart break.