Friday, March 30, 2012

Are You Retired?

I am still asked this question and while I used to be foggy a year or so ago today I confidently reply 'YES' because I have indeed crossed the line into full retirement. It doesn't mean I have no interest in my business or have nothing to do except read newspapers, surf the Net and think of holidays to go. My Google Calendar is packed with stuffs to do and appointments to keep that keep me busy. But retirement is stopping active employment where I have to be in my workplace from morning to evening at least 5 days a week and take regular leave from work. Lately I am being asked to help out in small but important tasks in my business. I suppose my contributions are being valued still.

We always hear the common sense advice: don't retire for good. It means retire and do nothing. People who fall under this category don't have a fall back plan to do something productive after they stop working. Either they have no interest or believe that retirement is a reward for years of sacrifice. Many inactive retirees regret having too much time in hand that some dabble in stock market and lose their savings or start to nag at their wives and children. Or become great armchair commenters and critics of our political system. But some take great effort to stay healthy. I know of some neighbors who religiously jog daily to keep fit. They can because their daily calendars are usually empty.

I do envy people with lots of free time to spend as they like. But life is never free and never your own unless you choose to be a lonely hermit. When we are young we are surrounded by family and classmates. When we are old we still need to be surrounded by family and classmates so that we can experience friendship within and without. If retirement is doing nothing then it is indeed a tragedy to waste precious time. Retirees ought to share their experience with others - students and social organizations - to continue contributing their knowledge even though they may not be physically agile to run and play.

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