“re-tirement”

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From the OED:

The action or an act of falling back or retreating from a place or position (now chiefly in military contexts). Also: the action of receding; movement back or away.

1536   King Henry VIII Let. 1 Nov. in Camden Misc. (1992) XXXI. 56   In what sorte the said rebells thus retired do use themselves now upon theire retirement.
1598   Shakespeare Henry IV, Pt. 1 v. iv. 5,   I beseech your maiestie make vp, Least your retirement do amaze your friends.
1644   Milton Doctr. Divorce (ed. 2) 19   Against reiterated scandals and seducements which never cease, much more can no other remedy or retirement be found but absolute departure.

 

This retirement business is not what I thought it would be.

Oddly, we have all sorts of social narratives that guide our way through variations on life’s stories. Example: how to be a good student; how to make friends in school. How to date/get married and on and on. What we don’t have is stories about retirement other than those that fall into this category: “did you hear about XXX?! He retired and two weeks later he was DEAD.”

I have begun to think that the reason for this absence of stories is that retired people simply go off the grid.

Because they can.

The grid keeps us literally inside lines that others make. Being off the grid means I can recreate myself.
The choices are bewildering, actually.
There are, of course, limits.  No more babies–at least of my own. Fortunately, my daughters have supplied me with a regular crop of newborns.
No more running. My knees are shot.
No more school–my husband will kill me if I go after one more degree.

No basketball.
For obvious reasons.
Having a nearly infinite number of choices sounds lovely. And it is. But it is also disorienting . . .