Juggling Work and Retirement

s.k. watts

It doesn’t seem like the two concepts ‘work’ and ‘retirement’ can coexist in the same sentence because they really don’t. Not unless you can get into the mindset that your work time is still your career and the time between work and your days you aren’t going to be working is in fact, the training wheels you will need to master for when you actually retire. And… call it what it actually is. Working in what should be your retirement years. If you haven’t retired, then you are still working. It’s time to reexamine your life.

If you are still going to have to work for a while, or even indefinitely, the first thing to go under the microscope is how you really feel about the situation. It’s Step One and how you will proceed to Step Two.

If you are still working because you have yet to achieve a goal you’ve set for yourself, you probably have a game plan or a timeline in mind, so the only thing to examine is how to speed things up or do some reflection on how important the goal is to you. If it’s really important, then kudos to you for following your dream! If your goal(s) have lost some of the luster, take a few days off to pretend you are retired and revisit that goal again.

If you love your job but are still feeling you and your friends are drifting apart because they are doing things now you don’t have time to, or have joined other circles of friends, maybe it is time to think about working a couple days a week and easing into retirement if you are financially able to do so. Your friends are going to be living a different lifestyle now, meeting new friends, hopefully traveling or taking up new hobbies. It is just the way it is. Like everything else, the choice is yours how you wish to spend your 168 hours a week or 672 hours in a four-week calendar. Keep in contact as much as it works for both sides and make time at least once a month to visit, go to lunch, or do something together.

I do know folks where one-half of the couple has yet to retire because they really do love their jobs. Hopefully when they come home from work, they can slip into the working retired mindset quicker than most of us by osmosis or their partner is so chilled it rubs off immediately.

If you haven’t retired yet because you are concerned about your finances, then hire a financial advisor and see where you are. If you are closer to retirement than you thought, do the math and take a few days off and make like you are retired. Go back to work and see how the alternative is working. You might have to repeat this process for a time until you can make a decision to retire or figure out how much longer you’ll have to work on your finances. That is if you have the option of deciding. If you aren’t financially ready yet, you will have to work on getting ready. Embracing the idea of being one of the ‘working retired’ and begin living your life after work and on the days that you are off like you are ‘in training’ for retirement might be the best thing you can do for yourself.

A significant portion of our demographic has no idea at present how they will be able to comfortably retire or if they will ever be able to retire at all. And the idea of living the American Dream or even experiencing The Golden Years on our own terms seems much like being a koi in a pond and trying to focus on a single koi across the pond when the whole community of fish is swimming in circles and changing directions so quickly it’s impossible to get a clear picture of the any of the koi, especially the one that represents the future for you. There are many folks in this scenario who just give up and continue the weekly work campaign of work, home, work, home and never set aside any of the time that is our own to live like we are retired. I did this myself for a while. Then I chose to use the 128 hours left after a 40-hour workweek (okay, less with driving to and from work) … like they belonged to me! I realized that I own them and living some of the time like I was retired now was better than living none of it that way.

For the record, I am a member of the group above, and most of my friends have retired. Due to circumstances that were the results of choices, fate or things that should never have happened to me, I am still working as well. Part time outside of the house and at home a few hours a day several days a week. I am not only not ready to retire yet, but I also worry if retirement by definition will ever happen for me at all. It used to keep me up at night until I learned that in the morning the first thing that I need to do is start the day as if it isn’t a workday and like I’ve already retired. I stay in my P.J.s and drink coffee until 11 and then do something I never have time to do on the days that I work. And it’s not laundry, not dishes or making the bed. Usually, it’s watching a video on painting or drawing or going for a casual walk with the dogs. There will be dishes and laundry and bed making in the real world of that textbook retirement that we all knew we would attain when we all started out in the world. Save the chores until after spent time on yourself. You more than deserve it.

How do you juggle work and retirement? By living the 128 hours a week that you aren’t working as close to how you would spend them if you were retired. It won’t be the same as being fully retired, but it’s a better second choice than the alternative of just living to go back to work the next day. I for one did that for too many years myself. It’s all in how you choose to view all the days of your life.

Have a wonderful ‘Working Retired’ experience. Remember, don’t always be looking forward to when you are fully retired as you need to cherish that time you are working on being there now. Think of it as ‘practice.’ Lol. Happy Trails all, and have a wonderful year 2024.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Stay up to date with our newsletter.

Share via
Copy link