When I was in my 20’s and 30’s, I used to think “I can’t wait until I retire”.
I have an uncle who is in his late 80’s. He is my accountant. Every year I visit him for our annual income tax appointment, and every year I ask him when he is going to retire. Every year he replies “why would I retire? I love what I’m doing!”
A few years ago, I watched as three men in my community all retired at a relatively young age. All three were business owners who sold their businesses. All three accumulated enough wealth to never work again. Within one year, two of them were working again. Those two men needed to work.
I read a story recently that noted that people who are unemployed enjoy the weekends most, because that is when most people are available to socialize. I know people who are unemployed who would pay anything to be able to go to work.
All of these are meditations about my relationship with work. When I was younger, I couldn’t wait to retire. Now I’m hoping that I have the opportunity to work for a long time.
The reason for that is that work does things for me that I didn’t appreciate when I was younger. Work provides me intellectual stimulation and challenge. I cannot imagine sitting around all day playing solitaire or watching TV. Work also provides me structure and discipline. I know this to be true because I get kind of “antsy” after I am on vacation for a week or so. The lack of structure and discipline on vacation bothers me after a while.
A friend who is semi-retired recently asked me “what will my days look like after I stop working for money?” I did not have a satisfactory answer for him. He smiled and said “get to work”.
I think I will.