It’s official! I am no longer unemployed; I am retired. From now on I will receive two meager checks each month – one from my retirement annuity and one from Social Security. Together they will allow me to live slightly above the poverty line. Who says old age doesn’t have its rewards?
Funny thing is that retirement doesn’t feel any different than unemployment. I still have very little to do and a lot of time to do it. There is some financial security that comes with retirement, that is, as long as I don’t live too long. More importantly, there is a sense of legitimacy about it. Being unemployed implies that something is lacking in oneself whereas being retired is an accomplishment. In fact if you are unemployed but you can pass as being old enough to have retired early, I suggest you go with that story during introductions. You’ll get a lot more traction from being retired as opposed to being some poor chump who can’t convince anyone to hire him.
On the flip side, you can be unemployed at any age but most people associate retirement with old age. I’m ready to embrace my retirement but arriving in the sixties has not been as easy to accept. I would love to take a ten year period from my life, any ten consecutive years that didn’t amount to much, and just snip them out. But who wouldn’t? There’s a multi-billion dollar anti-aging industry that keeps alive the hope for finding the fountain of youth.
Then again, I wouldn’t want to be young either. The angst, the search for identity, the zits! No thank you. Like most people of a certain age, I’d like to have whatever wisdom and experience I amassed over the years to be housed in a 30-something body. Not the particular body I had when I was that age – as long as I’m fantasizing about the impossible, I may as well ask for something better. Let me pick the body and face I’d like to have from a catalog. Then, knowing what I know now, I’d rerun my life making adjustments to my history as necessary.
Until the total body transplant is perfected, I’m stuck with the one I currently inhabit, old and decrepit as it might be. I’ve seen worse. Now that I am retired, I can let all that go and turn my attention to the more important things in life. As soon as I figure out what they are.