Saturday, November 18, 2023

Retirement Is Looming on the Horizon

Now that my expected retirement date is only a couple of years away, I find that I have way less tolerance for workplace stupidity. Don't get me wrong. Quite often the stupid workplace incidents are caused by me. In the past, when I made a bonehead move at work, I would offer a sheepish grin and say, “Well, here’s another opportunity to learn a way NOT to do it.” Or once in a while I would quote Bruce Springsteen: “Someday we’ll look back on this and it will all seem funny.” (Which prompted the rest of “Rosalita” to start playing in my head: “But now you’re sad! Your momma’s mad! And your papa says he knows that I don’t have any money…”)

However, nowadays I seem to get really frustrated really quickly. My new favorite expression is, “I’m too old for this stuff!” (Except sometimes I might not use the word stuff.)
When something goes wrong at work, and my co-workers can measure my stress level based on which word I tack on to the “I’m too old…” declaration, I start thinking seriously about moving up my official retirement date. Instead of my current date, a vague “sometime in a couple of years,” I have an urge to set a new retirement date: “Exactly one hour ago! See ya!”

It’s not that I’m desperately longing to retire. I like my job, and the lively work environment allows me to pretend that I’m not quite yet an old geezer. 

Just as it’s true there are some days at the office that make me want to retire immediately, there are other incidents that make me very glad that I’m not retired. For example, recently I was in the locker room of the YMCA at about 6:45 in the morning.

In case you’re wondering, I go to the Y three days each week and swim laps for a half hour. Someone asked me why I do that, and I replied, “Because I want to delay, plus minimize the impact of, my first heart attack.” He said, “Oh come on. How do you know you’re gonna have a heart attack?”

I said, “Unless I get hit by a truck or a stray bullet, it seems inevitable to me. I just want to make sure when it happens the doctor uses the sentence, ‘It was a mild incident,’ rather than the sentence, ‘I’m sorry, we did everything we could.’”
Anyway, when I was at the Y the other day, two retired guys were getting dressed after swimming. I estimated they were about my age, maybe a little bit older. One of them said, “So, will you be here tomorrow?”

The other guy replied, “Oh sure. If it wasn’t for this place, we wouldn’t have much of a life, would we?”
I was in the middle of tying one of my shoes, and I wanted to stand up and yell, “Hey, if you really believe swimming at the Y at 6 a.m. is the highlight of your life, then you are NOT doing retirement properly!”

Of course, I didn’t say anything. I just shook my head and thought to myself, “I’m glad I actually have to hustle now to get to work on time. That’s a whole lot better than the YMCA being the defining aspect of my existence.”
When I do retire, I’m not sure exactly what I will do to keep busy each day. But I’m going to make darn sure my morning visit to the YMCA is the start of my day, not the highlight of my day. 

In the meantime, I’ll keep hustling to get to work on time, so I can contribute my fair share of workplace stupidity. 

1 comment:

  1. It unfortunately isn't uncommon for the elderly, retired or not, in our communities to become isolated and lonely. Some are reluctant to retire anticipating the lessening of human contact, interaction and purpose. Which is sad. We are all too disconnected from each other. All of us should try and be aware of and reach out to our older citizens and include them. They have much to offer

    Ruth O'Keefe