Neil Offen: The tiring act of retiring
A little more than a year ago, I packed up all my cares and woes, along with my curated collection of old take-out menus from restaurants that no longer existed, emptied my desk, refused to sharpen any more pencils, left my office and retired from my job.
I had been working at one job or another for several hundred years, and thought it was about time to find out what life was like without sharpened pencils. Over the years, I had been, and some of this is true, a waiter, a dog walker, a security guard, an ice cream peddler, an astronaut, a journalist, a lifeguard and, if I remember correctly, a Belarusan trapeze artist.
While I liked all these jobs -- particularly flying through the air with the greatest of ease -- and generally found work to be engaging and highly useful as a method of obtaining money and business cards, I was curious to find out what not working would be like.
Would I be able to develop new cares and woes? Or would I have to buy my woes at full price and not get the working journalist’s discount?
Would I miss the thrill of eating my lunch at my desk and dripping tomato sauce on my keyboard? Would I regret leaving behind all the office camaraderie, like the time we all cheered when someone dropped a lunch tray and meat loaf went skittering across the cafeteria floor?
Or was that high school? Whatever.
Most important, would I become bored and have too much time on my hands without a workplace to go to every day and have to develop new, age-appropriate retirement hobbies, like crocheting an entire flower garden? Would I now have time to learn how to both spell and pronounce crocheting?
Well, it’s been a year, with some ups and downs and occasional crotchets. And this is what I have learned about retirement:
-- You still have to get up in the morning.
-- You still put your pants on one leg at a time, although your pants can be torn and shredded and have a major hole in the back pocket. They can also be shorts.
-- You can stay on hold much longer while calling the cable company to complain before you give up and hang up.
-- You have more time to avoid spending time on household jobs like fixing the in-sink-erator that’s been broken since 2004.
-- You have fewer legitimate excuses for explaining why you haven’t fixed the in-sink-erator since 2004.
-- If you feel like it, you can devote yourself to Googling in-sink-erator and finding out when it was invented and by whom, and what Yelp reviewers think of it. Additionally, you have the leisure to follow the links in the Wikipedia in-sink-erator article that will ultimately take you to last night’s baseball scores.
-- You don’t have to answer the phone.
-- Getting up in the morning still remains much better than the alternative.
Neil Offen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.