Posted by: drdata921 | September 20, 2013

How Did I Get HERE?

In a mere twelve hours, the unthinkable will happen. I will turn 66 years old. Will it be OK or is it a clear move to the dark side. In how I perceive myself, I am really only early 30’s tops. I can’t be old because I don’t feel old and as important, I don’t think old. I am not set in my thought patterns and not really set in my ways. However, when I look into the mirror the white beard and salt and pepper hair reveals the truth. I don’t look 66, but I am clearly not 30.

At this point, I am not retired. However, this is more a result of the 2008 economic meltdown than the will to work forever. Thanks to our friends on Wall Street for making the choice to work so easy. You guys are the best!

OK, this post is not meant to be a rant bemoaning inevitable aging and the vagaries of the financial system. It is meant to point out some realities. I can say that I am 66 and if that doesn’t depress me nothing will. OR, I can say that I am 66 and the truly exciting part of my life is about to begin. Because, in reality, I think that is the truth.

What’s my evidence? Consider this:

Financial freedom is close at hand. In the past, if I were laid off from my job, I could be in dire financial straits fairly quickly. However, now I have a Social Security and Pension safety net, as well as retirement savings to cushion the fall. Think of the freedom that provides not available earlier in life.

Time to pursue other interests. Post-retirement, I will have the time to pursue a number of interests that I don’t have time for now. There are so many interesting things to do. Now, I will have the time to explore. I will go from two day weekends to seven day weekends. Or perhaps, it’s two days of weekend perpetually tacked onto five days of vacation. It is my choice how to fill the time and I have a very long list of activities and goals that I wish to accomplish.

Control over where you live. For the past thirty years, I have moved with the job. Some locations have been better than others, but largely it has not been a real choice. If you want to progress in your career or move to a better situation, you move where the companies want you to move. Now, I will move once more. However this time, I have chosen a location that my spouse and I are truly excited about.

Opportunity to start the psychological journey of renewal. See if you recognize this. You were hired into a job because of the strengths that you brought to the table. However, once you got there, the company continually pointed out your weaknesses. You MUST work on your weaknesses if you are to be promoted. After 30 years of this – trying to conform to the ”perfect employee” vision of some HR madman (or lady) you suddenly realize that you have lost your personal uniqueness and identity. “Who am I and what do I stand for?” For me, this has led to two conclusions: 1) I was a much better and happier person before I began down the career path and 2) One of my most important “projects” in retirement is to rediscover who I truly am and to return to that happier state. I will soon have the time to embark on this most important of psychological journeys.

Once I started to consider the advantages, 66 didn’t appear to be the tragedy that it did at first. It really looks like a time of freedom and exploration. It is a new beginning that I can take advantage of.

I invite comments on this post. I think that a lot of the time, we think that we are alone. You may feel that no one else is going through the same crises that you are. However, I would bet that this is wrong. The only real differences among people I would guess is how we interpret and react to these lifestage changes. I haven’t always been an optimist, but I think that this is the way to go at 66. Besides, I will soon be free – what’s there to be depressed about.

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Responses

  1. Have a wonderful birthday!

    • Thanks for the cheer! it has been a very nice day and the dawning realization that some positive changes are on the near horizon is really making me feel good about the whole thing. I hope you liked the post.


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