I’ve just returned from a large community party and met a former concierge for my condominium. A job he had taken in retirement from engineering and state department work. We talked briefly and I shared I was late to the party because of teaching. He said so simply, “Oh, good, you are still working.  It is so good for people to keep active and working.  You know when I retired (the second time), my health started to decline.  My health is so much worse since I retired. I’m sorry I stopped working.”  I encouraged him to find a place to volunteer.

Another conversation earlier this week was with a gentleman 10 years my junior who has many friends who have recently retired.  He commented that he noticed how lifeless these people had become since retirement.  His observation was that their lives seemed without purpose and they seemed to have aged rapidly. He talked about the classic case of someone just sitting in a chair.  His resolve was NOT to retire and to keep employed as long as it was possible to keep his body, mind and spirit vigorously engaged in life.

And I do know several people who are retired from employment who are more active and seem healthier than they were when they were working. They are working for a cause or causes that inspire them and help them fulfill their life purposes.

Even though I have many interests, employment keeps me involved with people of all ages. I engage with many young people who ruffle my feathers and stroke my soft nature.  All of that makes life interesting. Plus I am healthier than I was when I stopped working for others 11 years ago.

My advice: consider retirement carefully.

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