I'm Not Retiring - And You Can't Make Me

Work makes me feel more alive, but that's just me, everyone is different.

Posted May 09, 2018

I enjoy working. It makes me happy when I feel like I’m moving forward. The idea of no longer working with people (and hopefully helping them with their lives) is disquieting. I just don’t see myself being uninvolved with humanity, retiring and starting a rock band or inadvertently breaking things around the house while trying to be handy. 

I’ve begun to get notices from Social Security saying how much I will get upon retiring, and you can’t not take it: at seventy, retiring is mandatory. Well, I’m certainly not there yet, and until then, I will continue to make a living by doing what I love. Okay, maybe I will dial it down a little bit. But you don’t have to remove yourself from what you have created unless you want to. I believe you should keep doing what you love for as long as you can.

Don’t get me wrong: I know some very happily retired people. They seem to be having a blast doing their thing. And if you are having a joyful existence, retirement makes sense. You get to spend more time with family and those you care for and do the things you didn’t have time to do when you were working. I know a lot of people who’ve taken a year to travel the world, but that’s not for everyone.

Maybe the idea of traveling is attractive to you, but you love being home too. You like being involved in your community, and a couple of weeks away is the most you can do before you feel the urge to get back to your life. That being said, you do need to take some time for yourself if you don’t want to burn out. Taking a restful vacation away from everything is the ideal. Unfortunately, most people don’t rest, but play way too hard, so they need another vacation to rest up from the one they just got back from.

I can see how after thirty-plus years of working, anyone would want to stop, but I actually went into this profession so I wouldn’t have to retire. As long as I can talk, type, and sit in a chair, I can make a difference, and that is what’s most important to me. 

Like me, you may need to find some new ways to just be yourself that are more gentle to your body, mind, and soul. There is an emotional expense to doing therapy, and those of us in the field know the importance of replenishing that energy. The conundrum is how do you continue and slow down at the same time?

Slowing down just a little bit is a good place to start. You may want to work a little less and rest a little more, remember to stop to smell the roses and do the things you love, but again, you have to be true to yourself. What works best for me is to continue striving, but also to work on things that are perhaps more peaceful to my well-being. It’s a matter of finding the right balance.

We all have to find our own path to retirement, but if you are ambitious or driven, it can be a hard pill to swallow. Then again, many people have made their greatest accomplishments after retirement age, and I know I have miles to go before I sleep. Oh, and in case you were wondering, I will write this blog as long as you will read it. This isn’t work for me; it’s my purpose.