Is it time to retire?

Illustration Courtesy of Pete Whalon. LIVING THE GOOD LIFE: For Pete Whalon, it’s important to know when to retire. He points at athletes as prime examples of people who work well beyond the time that they should have. Whalon reminds everyone that nobod

I received the idea for this piece from a gentleman who reads my column each week. His name is Ben and we have been corresponding over the past year or so. Ben, my pen pal, (yes, we write letters and mail snail mail) is of the opinion that at some point it’s time to hang up the spurs and make room for an “eager up-and-comer” to have an opportunity. An example he provides is none other than Vin Scully and his unprecedented stretch as the announcer for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Scully is 87 years old and has been with the Dodgers since 1950 (the year I turned one year old). His intriguing letter got me thinking about age (a subject I’m semi-obsessed with) and the difficult decision of knowing when it’s time to trade in your 9 to 5 day job for rum and Coke and a golf course.

We’ve all heard the familiar stories about people who retire and eight months later they die of a massive heart attack while watching reruns of Gunsmoke in their Lazy Boy recliner. The implication being if only he had kept working longer everything would be fine and dandy. Obviously each situation is different, but there inevitably comes a time when we unfortunately become a liability to our place of employment. If we hang on for too long it’s unavoidable. And typically no one will speak up out of respect for the individual who has probably worked there longer than anyone else. I draw similarities to the difficult situation of trying to get an elderly parent or neighbor to voluntarily give up their driving privileges due to the fact that you believe they are no longer safe on the road and present a danger to themselves as well as others.

Often professional athletes are prime examples of those who hang on well past their date of expiration. Anyone remember Brett Favre? Of course Hollywood is well-known for its legions of seasoned actors and actresses having numerous cosmetic surgeries, attempting to cheat Father Time and keep working in an industry unsympathetic to wrinkles and age-spots.  Anyone remember Bert Reynolds? Unfortunately memory loss, facial pleats and gravity force retirement on many of the “beautiful people” of Tinsel Town.

Retirement is an important issue that most people contemplate for years as that crucial decision draws closer with each waking day. Understandably financial consideration tends to be the most vital concern when finally deciding exactly when to pull the plug. I’m certain most people would prefer lounging on a tropical beach with a cold one in their paw reading 50 Shades of Grey. Regrettably, the fact that they have three spoiled kids in high school checking out Ivy League Universities they would like to attend might put that pipe-dream on the back burner for a tad longer. The characters I’ve always found most intriguing were the “I’m never retiring” bunch. I do understand “loving your job,” but give me a break. Hey buddy-boy, there is far much to do and see out there…really! Why in the world would a person choose to stay at their job until one day the janitor discovers him slumped over his desk, dead at the age of eighty-six of a heart attack. Personally, I like to “play” too much.

Anyway, here are some retirement quotes to help you with that life-changing decision, whenever that glorious day arrives!

“Retirement life begins when the kids move out and the cat gets run over,” — Author Unknown

“Retirement is wonderful. It’s doing nothing without worrying about getting caught at it,” — Gene Perret

“Happiness is being retired and spending all of my kids’ inheritance before I die!” — Anon

“My only [retirement] advice is to lay off alcohol, tobacco, and wild women. Any can kill you,” — James Biggs (104-year-old resident in a Dallas retirement-community)

“The money is no better in retirement but the hours are!” — Author Unknown

“The best time to start thinking about your retirement is before the boss does,” Anonymous

“When a man retires and time is no longer a matter of urgent importance, his colleagues generally present him with a watch,” —R C Sherriff.

“Half our life is spent trying to find something to do with the time we have rushed through life trying to save,” —Will Rogers.

“It is time I stepped aside for a less experienced and less able man,” —Scott Elledge.

“Few men of action have been able to make a graceful exit at the appropriate time,” —Malcolm Muggeridge

“A man is known by the company that keeps him on after retirement age,” —Anon

“There’s one thing I always wanted to do before I quit…retire!” —Groucho Marx