Retiring to a Peace of Mind

It’s summer now, maybe.

Days are getting longer and warmer, greenery all around but the sun is still hidden behind the massive cloud blanket and the big blue sky is somewhere up above.

Back in Singapore and just about anywhere in the tropics, the seasons are illustrated by four distinct pictures – gardens filled with colourful spring flowers; a summer sun piercing the blue sky overlooking a sea full of boats; shades of amber forests on mountain slopes; and white landscapes with people skating on frozen lakes.

There was nothing about any transition from one season to another so until you actually experience the change of seasons, it was conceivable that you wake one day like a hibernating bear to find that the new season has arrived.

Nature doesn’t work like a switch. Life’s like that too.

What do you do? People ask. I’m pretired. That’s moving from a primary career to something different before I stop working completely. That concept needs to sink in for many so I usually end up saying I’m taking a career break or retired, well sort of.

Talking to other boomers assures that I’m not alone in this. We’re all in a state of transition. Question is – transition into what? It depends on what we want for ourselves in our third age or into retirement.

The generation before us started retirement on their 50th or 55th birthday. It’s to do with labour laws and was as simple as that. There are tomes of retirement advice. But I’m not there yet. Neither am I going back to the mad rush for quarterly results and ra ra corporate kill.

Social dynamics have changed since our parents’ generation. Most boomers get hitched later, started families later and held challenging professional jobs. After years of active lifestyles, retirement is too sedate a choice to consider for many of us.

There must be a way to ease boomers from active careers to full retirement but most countries are not prepared for this. A person’s life seems to be portrayed as how seasons are depicted in distinct phases. What went on in between is the most important and yet the least understood.

Retirement is a destination. A place and time to be based where and when we organize our activities around it. The transition into retirement is the journey we take today. We may never ever retire if we can help it.

I know someone who wants to work forever because she doesn’t know what to do besides working. I know another who hates his job, has enough money to last many lifetimes and yet won’t let go. Everyone is different.

If we understand that one season doesn’t change to another overnight, it will be easier to take the journey towards retirement. After all, what we want most is the peace of mind that everything will work out fine for ourselves and our loved ones as we let go of the present to move onward into the future.




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