A lot of my girlfriends are retired after many years of service in the workplace. Some play golf, others engage in card games, still others sit on boards of charities and have lofty goals. Some of them were teachers, saleswomen. doctors; still others held significant positions in corporations. And there are those whose jobs were to care for their families and those particular friends or relatives did not work outside the home. But it seems I get the same chorus from most of them, “so when are you going to retire?” And there are times when I waffle back and forth thinking, “maybe I will”, but then I start feeling depressed at the very thought of it. There’s some kind of force within that keeps coming to the surface saying “you go girl – maybe not as fast as before, but still with the same passion for making a difference in the world!”
There are many ways to share our light on this planet. Being in service to people can be accomplished through paid or volunteer work. I’ve always enjoyed doing both and will continue volunteering for causes that can positively change lives. However, I’ve been working since I’m ten years old, when I did babysitting for younger kids in the neighborhood for fifty cents an hour. I aspired to many other jobs and vocations throughout my life and I was always aware of the importance of continuous learning. In doing so, my hobbies such as music, health and wellness and nutrition became paying jobs. For as we learn and grow there are more opportunities for women.
While some women will need to keep working in their retirement to make ends meet, others may decide they want to pursue other avenues other than work even though the budget may be tight. Making appropriate choices, preretirement or retirement planning are important exercises. I never believed it was a sin to make money, no matter what your age. You can spend it, save it or donate it.
Women have come so far and some cannot put down their professions and careers so easily. I feel so proud when I see women as newscasters, women as doctors, women as heads of their own businesses, women as politicians, and women as CEOs. Perhaps one day we’ll have 70 year old female astronauts! Since I was a young girl, we’ve expanded our reach enormously and prospered in a very short time in history. And we should be proud! We still need to deal with the tug between work and home, for as women – it’s always there. The home has been our bastion for eons and still is a great retreat. Some workplaces offer benefits to help ease the transition for women into the workplace. But the world still isn’t a perfect place – even in western societies. But I’d rather be in this place and time in history than 100 years ago when women were merely struggling to be heard as a ‘person’.
But now when someone asks me – “so when are you going to retire?” I’ll be ready with an answer: “I still have important work to do. Yes, I plan to enjoy life, travel and make time for my family, (especially my grandchild). But my brain and my heart still function and I plan to continue to use them –to keep learning in order to enrich my life and hopefully the lives of others.” I will be engaged in the world, whether I’m retired or not.