A Note to Future Me

Ah, retirement.  The main goal that we are all promised as we enter into the workforce.  The so called light at the end of the tunnel.  But what happens as we get closer to “that age”?

I work in an environment that allows people to make careers out of it.  Strange to think that there is still a place that you can work right out of high school and work until 65 (55 if you want to go early).  How did I find this mystical place?  Luck.  Pure dumb luck.  And I plan on being here until I’m at least 57.  That means I’ll have put in 25 years of service.  Only 16 years to go.  A job with a pension plan?  Better not screw this one up.

When people at my work do retire, one of three things seems to occur:

1. They go work for a similar railroad industry and “double dip”.

2. They enjoy the time off and see more of their family and friends, travel the world, enjoy a new found freedom.

Or 3. Die within a couple of years.

Look! A graph. It seems legit.

I wish I was joking about number 3.  But there have been people who have retired from my place of work only to die within a few months.  It seems to stem from a lack of purpose.  There is also a direct correlation with years working and how many years you will live.  That’s a scary thought.

Choice number 1 is almost the same as number 3.  A sense of purpose is keeping people working well into their 60’s or even 70’s.  For some, it’s also an enjoyment of what they know or do that keeps the drive alive.  But what happens when the double dip retirement is over?

For me, choice 2 is what I am aiming for.  All of these long days and nights have an end in sight.  There is an entire world out there that I want to explore with my wife.  When I retire, our youngest will be at least 26.  Hopefully all of my children will have gotten into their own walk of life by this time. As they enter the rat race and aim for a quality of life that they deem comfortable, I hope one day they can see an end in sight.

Note to future me: In 2033- retire.  

It will be a time to rediscover why my wife and I connect the way we do.  A little bit of travel, a little bit of fun, and a lot of early nights and afternoon crossword puzzles.  You’ll still be young enough to enjoy life.  To squander the opportunity.

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