What do you fear about retirement?

Nov 28, 2007

Early Retirement Means a Well-Earned Casual Lifestyle

Betty Sullivan, 69 at the time, was one of the Miami Beach retirees featured in Marian Marzynski's PBS documentary My Retirement Dreams. Unlike some retirees, she has had no major problems dealing with retirement.

Before Betty retired, she was an administrator at the Department of Animal Pathology at the University of Miami for 17 years. Prior to this, she and her husband owned an appliance and sewing machine store in Amherst, Massachusetts. To Betty, retirement was a liberation from years of tedious responsibilities associated with work and family. "Before I left," Betty stated, "some of my co-workers had warned and joked about the perils of retirement: boredom, imaginary health problems, lack of purpose, and possible depression. None of these things has happened to me. Why? I exchanged a grueling 9-to-5 routine for a well-earned casual and carefree lifestyle."

Like the other self-actualized retirees of this world, Betty found that retirement can be an enjoyable time in life. She added, "Do I miss the challenge of the workplace that had once been so much a part of my persona? Heavens, no. My days are filled with healthy activities — swimming, working out at the gym, shopping, bicycling, taking classes such as writing, art, and yoga. In the evenings there are movies, concerts, dining and dancing. Soon, I may do a little traveling. And you know what? If I don't feel like doing anything at all except lounge around my apartment, I'll do that too."

"There are lots of good programs on late night TV," Betty continued. "In fact, I feel like having a snack. Maybe I could hop in the car and scoot over to the 24-hour diner for a hamburg. You know what: This is actually a good time to catch up on my laundry. Who would be using the washing machines in our building now? And after the clothes are cleaned and dried I'll put a ton of cold cream on my face and nestle down in a soothing bubble bath for a half hour or so. Maybe I'll be sleepy by then, but if I'm not, it's OK. No problem."

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