Beware The Retirement Box

I chatted with my soon to be grandson at our family get together on Sunday. I’ve been thinking how most of the time I sit and watch the family sharing memories and talking about their lives. We laugh and it is all so enjoyable. But this time I was talking one on one and being treated like I’m a person with things to share that aren’t about past family memories. He asked me what I did before I retired. This led to him sharing what he does now and what he had done leading up to his current position. We talked about his family. We had common interests. It was the best conversation I’d had in a very long time. Most people don’t know how to talk to the older generation. It’s more about how are you doing? Are you all right? Or worse, what’s happening in your life?

As a senior living alone, my life is very quiet. I no longer create spreadsheets, databases, and reports. I don’t answer the phone or offer answers to business related questions. I don’t interact with many people. I have a routine. I keep busy with hobbies. I take care of my cat and house. Not many people are interested to hear about the pages I colored or the diamond paintings and puzzles I completed. There is no longer a conversational bond between me and my children. My life is foreign to them. It’s like they see me in a retirement box, which is beyond their understanding. And I’ve succumbed to living there.

After the conversation on Sunday, I felt the excitement of pulling a report together by creating queries and automating data manipulation. I had a good career for a long time. However, it was a career only those who work in the field of numbers would understand. Retirement to most young people sounds wonderful. They can’t imagine having a life that isn’t run by the clock. I was young once and I looked forward to being retired. Now I’m here.

Am I disappointed? Not really. I don’t have the patience or stamina to be productive in a work environment for eight hours. As with most things, the mind is willing, but the body is aging faster. What I miss is conversation that isn’t about health, the state of the world, or food. Perhaps the lack of more meaningful conversation contributes to seniors becoming grumpy old people.

Lifting my cup of tea and wishing you all a day of exciting and pleasant conversation. You are worthwhile.