What Retirement Feels Like

Our younger son asked me, “How does retirement feel?” I replied, “Like the second day of vacation.” Referring to a week-long vacation.

He asked because, like many of his generation, he doesn’t look forward to ever being retired. In addition to handicaps he put on himself, his entire generation is caught in the vice of few full-time jobs and little opportunity to save.

My first real job was to be a four-ear stint in the US Air Force avoiding the Vietnam War draft. (Do young folks even understand conscription?) It turned into a thirty-year career. More apropos, from our first married year we saved up to ten percent of my pay for retirement and a college fund for our sons. We continued to save, even boosted our rate, while both of us worked after I retired from the Air Force. Therefore, we are in the enviable position of having both retirement savings and a pension. (We’re paying thousands in medical care and coverage we were promised would be free in 1968, but what the government gives it can also take away.)

My point is that Generations X, Y and Z haven’t been dealt from the same deck as previous generations, yet their expectations are based seeing their forbearers, especially the hedonistic Boomers, living as if the world owes them a living.

Many Boomers, who didn’t save and who lived life on the edge, are now discovering that the world doesn’t owe anyone anything. The world doesn’t care. “To the worker God himself lends aid,” as Aesop (not the Bible) told us that, too, but then the Bible only mentions retirement as a negative.

I don’t feel retired because I’m doing things delayed by my working years. Hopefully doing some good.

Actually, it feels more like the third day of vacation. I’m fine, but I’m starting to look at the calendar. The sands of time are running. Time will run out. Vacation will end.