I’ve been thinking a lot about retirement lately.
Granted, I’m not old enough to hang up my spurs just yet. At 61, I still have a few more good years of work ahead of me, God willing.
But over the last few months, I’ve been imagining what it would be like to live the retirement life — and it’s definitely got some potential pluses and minuses.
For a lot of folks, the thought of not going off to work every day is both liberating and a little bit terrifying. I guess I’m no different in that regard.
On the upside, is there anything better than having time off and setting your own agenda — doing only the things that really make you happy?
If you want to read a book, read a book. If you want to go for a drive, go ahead and take off. Pick any place you want for lunch and stay as long as you want. Why not? You’re not on a fixed schedule.
Of course, living day after day without a plan or a purpose would be boring, and frankly, I’d find it depressing.
I’ve spent too many years focused on making deadlines and completing projects to just come to a dead stop. I would need to have some kind of commitment a few days a week — and not just something to keep myself busy. Whatever I do would have to be interesting, something I care about.
I started making a list of some of the things that might be fulfilling retirement pursuits.
As I looked down at our sleeping cat, I had to smile, remembering how happy she was the day my wife and I took her home from the Harker Heights Pet Adoption Center. It was rewarding to give her a good home, and I still feel that way.
Helping out one or two days a week at the city shelter would be a great option — if I could just avoid the temptation to bring home more cats.
I’d also consider helping out at Killeen’s homeless shelter or one of the local food pantries. Even if it’s just stocking shelves, taking inventory or putting together packets of personal items, I’d like to lend a hand. I know these agencies need our time and energy.
Volunteering at the library is another possibility. I love reading, and our city library in Harker Heights has so many great programs and initiatives. Being a volunteer would be both fun and rewarding, I’m sure.
And of course, there are plenty of great classes and activities for seniors in the area, especially here in Harker Heights.
But I’m not heading into this retirement thing alone. I’m looking forward to having my wife take part in some of these activities, too. I’m envisioning our retirement years as a chance to take on new challenges and share new adventures together.
All I know is, after spending a few days off sitting on the couch and channel-flipping through bad TV, I don’t want to sit on my duff once I’m in retirement mode.
I’ve worked too hard and waited too long to just squander my retirement years parked in front of the TV or moping around the house — and besides, my wife wouldn’t let that happen.
I know I’ve got a few years to think about what I really want to do, and I can do a little research into some of the possible options along the way.
If I start planning how to spend my leisure time now, maybe it won’t be such a shock when it comes time to leave what has been a very rewarding, fulfilling career in journalism.
And who knows — I just might find an outlet for my writing in my retirement years. Wouldn’t that be great!
This is one old(er) guy who would much rather be a golden oldie than a sedentary senior.
It’s all about living, rather than just existing — and making a difference when possible.
That’s certainly something to shoot for.
Dave Miller is deputy managing editor for opinion of the Killeen Daily Herald and editor of the Harker Heights Herald. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 254-501-7543.