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This past Spring, my mom started a new chapter in her life, she retired. After 30+ years as a school nurse and affecting thousands of children’s lives she needed to retire. If my mom had her way, she would have worked until she was 100, but the school system ran out of funding and she was asked to retire. She is of retirement age, she ‘should’ be retired according to society’s standards she just doesn’t want to be. In her retirement, she has been filling her time with new events and enjoying her time with her grandchildren. Last week we were talking and she said, “The one thing I don’t understand is why when I tell people I am retired, the first thing out of their mouths is congratulations” “To me it doesn’t feel like a congratulations, I want to be working, I will miss working, I loved working”.
I thought to myself, she’s right, yes retirement is great. It is wonderful to have the freedom to do what you want, sleep in, travel etc, but shouldn’t we be doing all those things throughout our lives, not just waiting until we retire? My mom had a job she enjoyed, she contributed, she received positive feedback, did she absolutely jump up every morning and head to school with joy? No. Did she count down until summer break? You bet. But she also geared up with excitement come August to get ready to head back to school. She came home at the end of the day happy to share stories and laugh about her day. Basically she worked happier throughout her life and she should be congratulated for that. But in my opinion it is more important to celebrate that she worked in a job she loved then that she is now finished with that job.
My point is, working shouldn’t be something we are striving to stop doing. Working should be something that overall makes us happy. My mission is to change the reputation of work. To change the definition of work into a positive idea. Work should be something that makes our heart sing, maybe not all day long, but overall it makes us feel good about our lives and ourselves. Work allows us to make a contribution and to live a life that is positive and energized. Work is hard, and there are days that are annoying, but when you look back on your days and weeks in your job do you enjoy it or are you counting down the days to retire?
To those who are retired, rock on, enjoy your freedom to travel, sleep in, hang by the pool. To those of us who aren’t what are you waiting for? What do you want to do when you retire and how can you start adding more of that to your life today?
To my mom, congratulations on this new chapter in your life! Thank you for showing me that work can be fun and that working happier is something we should strive for! Enjoy your retirement!