The mystic about retirement

This Lola still works, part-time, three days a week. I appreciate the chance to get up earlier than usual in the morning, pick an attire appropriate for the office, prim my hair and prep my face, fix a quick breakfast, take the vitamins and scheduled meds, wash the cup and plate I used, bag my baon (packed food) for lunch, check the stove, then out the door. That’s the routine for work days which, I admit, I’ve gotten the hang of and which I miss during prolonged vacations. This routine could all flow in a rush or in a slow, pleasurable progression. Either way, it’s rooted in my system.

What I’m saying here is, partial retirement seems best for this baby boomer. While having some days off is necessary for errands, appointments, personal chores and rest, maintaining a regular work schedule on other days provides variety and challenge, two ingredients to sustaining vigor, interest, positive outlook and the excitement of anticipation. Work can be a motivation to stay healthy, for what good is determination if the body is not able or lazy. But knowing there are urgent matters to complete or deadlines to meet can goad the body to move and overlook the pain or the tiredness, even the laziness. Work is good for the soul, mind, body — and yes, the pocket.

When full retirement happens, and there will come a time for that (though just not yet), I will find activities – mainly volunteering, I expect. Already, I’m thinking of the community library and the church nearby, essentially office kind of work, or perhaps, newsletter writing or writing correspondences. But volunteering is not the only way to occupy time. There, of course, are myriad chores that I can attend to at home, and which I have postponed for quite a while now. I’m not embarrassed to say that closets need to be tidied up, old clothes need to be sorted and some to be donated, or skirts to be hemmed, or kitchen cabinets to be straightened out, or the garage cleared of junk. There are old picture albums to be completed, and digital photos to be organized.

On the creative side, stories half written are waiting to be continued, learning to play the piano and ardent practice I vowed I’d go back to when I retire, studying gourmet recipes and cooking them with my own artistic flair, more blogs to be done for, and surely – my musical that I abandoned last year when I received a long constructive critique from a professional New York critic. Ah, that’s what I would love to do – back to my script, music and songs … a very amateur musical writer on the rise, I’d like to think of myself … or rather, I dream of becoming (when I fully retire?).

So, what’s the verdict? Continue on with my part-time job? A few years back I retired from full-time work and soon after, took a part-time job.  My relatives in the Philippines would like to know. They hope I spend long vacations with them, for us to travel to far provinces to tour beauty spots before they’re commercialized, to restaurant and department store hop, to visit kins we hadn’t seen in years, to attend and hold frivolous parties, to try each other’s clothes, or together roll out the nights with strange or funny stories and bubbly catching up — that really is the intent of the question. Bless their hearts (said in a good way). I thank them for thinking that I need the good times and the rest. I try to explain to them that retirement is not really rest. It’s just switching from one kind of activity to another, or even, to more kinds or variety of activity. But come to think of it, their idea of retirement for me sounds fabulous and groovy (loved that word when I was younger).

So, when I do fully retire – don’t expect me to be idle. This Lola will keep plugging away.

Linda P. Jacob