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Jan 15, 2019 14:02:05

On Retirement

by @santhoshguru PATRON | 396 words | 🐣 | 267💌

Santhosh Guru

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When we are young, typical advice on career / financial planning goes like this: 

  • Don't spend more than you earn. 
  • Save money and invest prudently
  • Most importantly, plan for your retirement

There is always a romantic notion of retiring early, unshackling oneself from the daily doldrums of work. Many even invest in farms/ranch in rural areas to settle down after retirement. 

I have a different opinion. 

My dad, after a minor health problem, retired early from his service. We, myself and my family, convinced he will be able to spend more time with family and do things that he really liked. But guess what, it was a terrible move. For close to three years, it was tough for my dad. He couldn't come to terms with not having to have a daily routine of going to an office. But I realised it is more than that.

My dad worked for a huge insurance company. He started his job at the age of 23 and retired when he was 58. He worked in different departments and different cities but in the same company. Like many in the previous generation, work gave his identity. He loved interacting with people, and he was very gregarious. All of this was shaken deeply because of retirement. It took a long while to find a community of friends outside his office network and also an identity. It was like a process of self-discovery, which was painful at the same time insightful to him and the family.

Taking a lesson out of this experience, I realised that my work and the company I worked for could not be my identity. It was then I started to look out for finding meaning in my work, what makes me happy and all other mission/values hunt associated with it.

Life is tough at many levels. But expecting a state of nirvana after one stage of life is absurd and might be disappointing. Best thing to do is to find happiness in whatever way we can in day to day of life. Travel, gratitude journaling, meditations, getting married, having a kid, being part of a tribe and helping others are a few things that can change our outlook to life. 

Finding happiness in things that are meaningful to us may be the best antidote to the seduction of retirement.

  • 1

    @santhoshguru Another thing to point is the emphasis we put on reaching a goal or accomplishing that something that makes your look like an over night success. If you don't like the process to get there, it will be hard to get what ever that is and it will be even harder after you reach that to retain.

    Abhinaya Konduru avatar Abhinaya Konduru | Jan 17, 2019 16:06:25
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      @itsabhinaya True. As they say, the focus should be on the process then the product falls in place. Another thing worth pondering about is to replace goals with systems in a longer term, https://jamesclear.com/goals-systems .

      Santhosh Guru avatar Santhosh Guru | Jan 18, 2019 10:44:07
    • 1

      @santhoshguru Will check it out. Thanks!

      Abhinaya Konduru avatar Abhinaya Konduru | Jan 18, 2019 15:37:39
  • 1

    @santhoshguru You make some very key observations about people's perceptions of retirement. I agree with your lesson about not letting your work or the company you work for form the basis of your identity. Here's to finding happiness in meaningful activities on a day-to-day basis!

    Brandon Wilson avatar Brandon Wilson | Jan 15, 2019 14:44:24
    • 1

      @brandonwilson Thanks, Brandon. It is definitely not easy finding happiness or meaning. It's really hard. But I recently heard someone said "happiness is also a skill that needs practice". So rolling up my sleeves to practice it deliberately :-)

      Santhosh Guru avatar Santhosh Guru | Jan 15, 2019 17:17:53
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