My parents are boomers at 66 and 65 respectively. As expected for people of their tenure, they are now dipping their toes gingerly into the retirement ‘space’. There was anxiety around the change of course. So far they have enjoyed free bus and ferry trips, Dad has shifted his heavy corporate workload from 5 days down to 2, with a view to phasing out work altogether fairly soon. And at the time of writing they are on a boat cruise somewhere off the coast of Russia.
They are tanned and comfortable. A jammy picture of fresh retirement.
The thing about my parents is that they absolutely, unquestionably deserve this new freedom. When I asked mum to summarise the last 40 years of their lives together, she said without pause, ‘A lot of bloody hard work’. It’s true they have worked their butts off their entire lives, rising from difficult and poor beginnings, raising and supporting 3 children. Their work ethic is second to none. I totally admire that in them.
And yet, when I see my parents noodling in the garden, pursuing personal projects or luxuriating over whatever activities they might feel like doing on any given day… I am unbearably jealous. I sigh as I imagine them placidly carrying out a pleasing morning of exercise and self directed routines . It’s not because I resent their ability to do it – it’s because I am consumed with envy over their ability to do it.
And don’t get me started on my kids. Life of bloody Riley.
I can think of nothing better than having full control over my days, with the only challenge being to think of the most worthwhile way to fill them. Quite frankly, it sticks in my craw that i am expected to accept the fact that the distantly stretching horizon of my adult life will be controlled and accounted for by paid employment. Is that greedy?
If I follow the expected route then I (and/or by extension, my husbandero) must work for the next 30 years before we can hope to join the independent leisured ranks. Surely I can’t be so presumptuous as to expect anything more from life than that?
Well, actually yes, I am that presumptuous.
And I double dog physical challenge dare you to be that presumptuous too…..