Retirement Talk

WHAT to do with the rest of your life?


Episode 167 Afraid of Missing Something

You heard about the guy who had an unlimited appetite. He couldn’t decide what food to start eating first and finally died of starvation. He was surrounded by food but just could not commit to eating one thing thinking he might miss out on something that was even better. We probably all fall into that trap at one time or another. There are just so many choices that we become constipated.

This is Retirement Talk. I’m Del Lowery.

Perhaps some of us are struck more with this disease than others. I have many times heard people say that they always knew what they wanted to do in life or where they wanted to live. I stand in awe of such.

It must be a liberating thing to find one’s bliss and have it lasting; to know that you want to be a teacher, preacher or cowboy; to know that you want to be a painter, dancer or writer. One could throw themselves into learning the trade, skill or gathering the knowledge to perfect the profession. Days could meld into years and years into a lifetime of single mindedness or confidence.  I have never had the good fortune to be blessed with such assurance.

Mine has been a disjointed route. I could bore you with the details of different types of jobs I have had but they range over the field from pedestrian to professional. The commonality of them all was that they ceased to interest me over time. I wanted to leave them all. Here is just a partial list: farmer, factory laborer, swimming pool manager, recreation director, athletic coach, school teacher, grocery store clerk, labor on a road crew, Director of a Head Start program, Director of a Seniors Program at a Community College, gas station attendant(perhaps my favorite), college instructor, etc.

I’m sure you get the picture. Although I loved some of the jobs (especially teaching),  I never regretted leaving any of them. I have always wanted to move on: vagabond, a gypsy, a drifter.

Some of us want to know what is around the bend. We want to move on. Perhaps it is just a simple case of the grass always being greener; the longing for that which we don’t have. It might pertain to our geographical location or our tasks or work at hand. Perhaps it is just a mater of semantics. We that continually range to new fields are either dilatants or explorers. I’m not sure there is a difference. But that is where we find our bliss. Therein we find our straightness of crookedness.

Retirement presents its own set of options. We are no longer limited by earning an economic livelihood. We are free in a way that we have perhaps never experienced. Now we are free to become a night person or an early riser, live in a different state or a different hemisphere. We are free to plant a garden that requires daily care or to purchase an around the world ticket. We can live out of a backpack if we so choose. Or we could build our own house out of stone.

Nietzsche would love it. He loved the idea of changing ourselves. We can leave our old selves behind and become something other than what we are. But sometimes I think Becket had it right – we tend to be satisfied to wait for Godot. And that is sad.


This is Retirement Talk.




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