Thursday, June 08, 2006

The hard part about being on vacation is that by now, pretty much everyone I know has skipped town already while I'm still waiting for my turn to go. And now that June works till late at night, that means that I'm left to my own devices for most of the day. And I'm beginning to get a taste of what retirement is like, after all.

There's a lot to prepare for, considering that there will come a time when we can't work any more. It's not just the financial part, there's also the sense that there isn't much else we can do that will mean anything more to anyone. Physically, mentally, it all just falls apart on us until 3, 2, 1, time's up.

Financially, we prepare ourselves through our insurance policies, investment plans and our savings; but most of us don't think beyond our day-to-day employment. We give of ourselves to our jobs and our companies thinking that's all the time we have in our daily allotted 24 hours, but we forget that regardless of how faithful and loyal we are to our jobs, our employers are under no obligation to be as faithful to us in return. After all, the Company has a longer life expectancy then we do, so all the faster it will replace us when we can't keep up.

When our jobs are taken away from us, we're seriously lost. After all, that's all we've ever lived for over the past few decades of our lives. Suddenly, we have time on our hands, and though that may seem like a luxury to us busy working people today, it's only because no one has time for us any more. Their lives still go on, and our's just become irrelevant, being no longer in the same context.

It doesn't have to be this way, though. The office is just one place to build social contacts, but it has a time limit. There are other places that we can build other social bridges that don't have time limits: family, for example. We can also nurture and develop other interests besides what's immediately relevant to whatever's keeping us busy, whether it's studies or career. And don't feel guilty that it's a "waste of time" because though a career will grind to a halt one day, our lives shouldn't have to.

I'm especially vulnerable to retirement irrelevance because it suddenly dawned on me that I'll be reaching retirement age at least 10 years earlier than the folks I hang out with. So in case anyone asks why I don't give 110% to my job like everyone else in the working world does, I just have the Bigger Picture in mind.

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