Work – a 4-letter word.

Four months ago I quit work.


I do not fancy the term “retired”,
as that is not what I did.
The fact is that I actually quit working.
This decision came from five years of planning,
a choice I do not regret for one moment.

Statistics show that many people today will work after retirement. In fact, “Merrill Lynch reports that THE NEW RETIREMENT SURVEY builds on the conventional wisdom that many baby boomers are not interested in pursuing a traditional retirement of leisure.”

The survey reveals 76% of the baby boomers retiring “intend to keep working and earning in retirement” and the scary part is that they will keep working until age 64 “and then launch into an entirely new job or career.” WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO “FREEDOM 55”? “Only 17% of the baby boomers in the survey reported that they hope to never work again for pay.”

What is going on here?

Not to harp on this amazing report, but I must point out one more fact of this account: “IT’S NOT ABOUT THE MONEY.” So, this begs the question: Why would anyone want to continue working when they can do the things in life they only once dreamed of doing? One last statistic, a sad one at that: “While 37% of the baby boomers in the survey indicate that continued earnings is a very important reason they intend to keep working, 67% assert that continued mental stimulation and challenge is what will motivate them to stay in the game.”

Ah, old George Orwell, my hero, is rolling over in his grave, cursing at this euphemism: “game”. Work is not a game; work is work, and after 1/3 of a century at the game, one must believe the “game” over.

Professor and writer, Nancy Schlossberg, has written extensively about baby boomers and retirement. Her observations are interesting. In fact, she points out that many boomers will “not be willing to give up the money, the power, and the prestige.” Schlossberg goes on to point out that “they [boomers] don’t take stock of their psychological resources” and that ” they didn’t realize what was at stake when they left their jobs…They didn’t think about things like how to structure their lives, their time, and how they might matter to others.”

Today, I am involved, probably a little too much, but that will soon change and there is no room for WORK. One day a week I volunteer at the Imperial Theatre for the performing Arts. I meet new people every day and get to talk about the various plays, something I enjoy. Computers take up a large part of my life these days, as I am the Editor of the Sarnia Computer Users’ Group and earning my Linux+ Certification at Lambton College. I also write a regular column, for Business Trends magazine, entitled: TECH TRENDS, that covers various computer-related issues. I am also working on an English degree from Athabasca University, a challenge I took up five years back.

I suppose the word got out that I used to do Webpage design and now I am the webmaster for Hospitable Toastmasters, Central United Church, and assistant webmaster for Sarnia Scouting (where I am also an active member in all three).

But my real interest today, especially with the warmer weather upon us, is the outdoors.

As a child, I almost grew up in campgrounds. We would camp most of the summers in the various Ontario Provincial Parks. My father would drive us up on a Friday and return to work for Monday. Each week he would make the trek, leaving my mother, my sister, and me camping throughout the week. I never gave this much thought as over the years it became the norm for us in the summer months. Camping is ingrained in my blood today.

In one of my English courses we had a reading called: Once More To The Lake, a short story by E.B. White about a young boy’s remembrance of his childhood camping experiences, now looking back as an adult. Today, I am living my “once more to the lake” trip.

This past winter I have been taking courses in London, Ontario to earn my ORCA certification for Canoe Tripping level I. Next month we head off into Algonquin’s interior to complete the final stage and testing for this certification. Later next month I am enrolled to earn my Wilderness Advanced First Aid certification from Wildmed Associates. This is a four day course, a very extensive one that will help me in my future goal: ORCA Flatwater Instructor. But before that goal is realized, I will be taking my Flatwater ABCD certification in July at the Saugeen River, and then in August I head off to Haliburton for a one-week course: Flatwater Instructor Certification.

Why?

The reason is two-fold. The first one is my love for the outdoors and canoeing. In fact, two days ago my wife bought me my second canoe for my birthday, a 16′ Prospector by Nova Craft…My dream canoe is now realized. And now I will canoe alongside of my two grandkids, instructing them to become the best they can be and more so to teach them how to really enjoy the true and important issues in life: nature.

The second reason for getting my Flatwater Instructor’s Certification is to offer a low-cost training and certification to the Scouts in Sarnia. There is no such training available now, and one has to travel outside of the area for the courses…Not to mention the expensive costs associated with this training. My hope is to be able to offer this training a certification to the Scouts at cost. The cost being the registration through ORCA.

It is my giving something back that backs my reasoning, something that I am able to do that others may not.

As for that 4-letter word creeping into my life…Well, I planned well to be JUST TOO BUSY!

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