As I moved through the first day of my retirement, everyone kept asking me what I had done all day, as if my work day had to be supplanted with something. Right?
Our society is fueled by work. We learn a trade as young adults and then we practice that brand of work in order to earn the currency that is traded for it. That currency then is traded for our lives. Literally. We eat, we have a roof to sleep under, we clothe ourselves. So, we must then work some more to sustain the whole thing.
Is it any surprise to anyone, then, that we align our entire identity with the most visible talisman of our worth? The one that sustains and insures that the wheels stay on the track of our existence?
When we stop working, what happens to the whole system then? In the case of retirement (because there are people who intentionally jump ship earlier on purpose), we have traded all that currency as long as is necessary in our society, and hopefully have enough to sustain us throughout. Until we die.
Maybe that’s the rub. We realize that our end is breathing down our necks, a salivating beast that we cannot hope to outrun. Many people avoid retirement at all costs, fearing what lies on the other side of that alarm clock that jangles them awake at the crack of dawn.
Others fill it up with more work. We’ll see how I do.
“The harder you work, the harder it is to surrender.”