retire (v): to put at rest; to stop working; (adv): a state of non-productive activity; to be in leisure
Many of my readers know, or have figured out, that we recently retired from work. Thirty-five years on my part; forty-one years on the Mrs’ time card. Enough care for other people’s mothers, fathers, and siblings. Time to care for our own.
Retiring is an interesting process in our society, which is so invested in managing our time with work tasks, and establishing our identifies on our careers.
When we meet someone new, a standard small-talk question is “What do you do” While open to many responses, if I said, ”I write theatre reviews” they would think that I am in the journalism field. If I said, ”Grow food” they would think that I ran a farm market. If I said, ”Fill pot holes” they would think that I ran heavy equipment or did excavating work. If I said, ”Read history and religious texts” they would think that I was a professor or minister. If I said, ”Occupational therapy” they would say, ”What’s the difference between physical and occupational therapy?” at which I point I would be wonder whether I am defining myself by what I am (occupational therapist) versus what I am not (physical therapist).
If I reply, ”A retiree”, they might wonder whether I plan to move to The Villages, to which I would quip something about Dante…
Retire. Rest. I do not do ”rest” well, at least the idea of being still. For me, rest is action of my discretion in my time frame. A flow experience, which I can decide to stop too. If I want write about attending a play… or haul a couple of truck loads of wood… or fill pot holes… or weed the garden… or read… or write… or run the laundry… Rest. No obligation.
Retire. Engage in non-productive tasks. This sounds like frivolous activity to me. All of those activities listed above are productive in some manner. Writing about a performance analyzes the play and communicates to my readers. Winters will be warming when the wood is stacked. The road will drive more smoothly if the potholes are addressed when they are small. The garden will grow more food when weeds are kept in check. I will have more ideas in my head when I finish that book. I will have more ideas out of my head when I write them down (tag, your turn to read what I write). We will have clean clothes when we wash them…
Part of the phenomenon of retiring is that the function of the tasks I chose to enact shifts. What I might have defined a productive before becomes leisure, or what I considered leisure becomes productive. I no longer have the concern about monetizing the task, nor collecting a paycheck for having exchanged my time to a company to do that task.
Maybe that is what retirement is about. Freedom. Freedom to, and freedom from. No deadlines. Another load of wood awaits another day; another series of pot holes, row of vegetables, books, blogs, and lights or darks can wait. What day of the week is it? I’ll contemplate that later.
I think that when someone asks me about being retired, I shall reply, ”I don’t feel retired. I feel retread.”
retread (v): to add more tread to a used tire; (adv): to be something that has new life added to it