It’s that time.
Not for breakfast or coffee or my daily walk. It’s time to think about pulling the plug on the workaday world. Events (health, desire to write, et al) have conspired to bring me to this threshold. But those events make me think about it, not actually do it. The gold watch ceremony (hey, I work at a bank so that’s a figure of speech) is still a gleam in my eye and the market will need to continue a rebound in order to forestall social security as long as is possible.
But as the financial planners say, at least I’m thinking about it (albeit late) and the idea of riding into the sunset has some appeal, and if I do so, at least it will be on an old man’s Harley.
April 18, 2011
Ellen/Reid: Nothing much earthshaking to report from this past week; heavy rain, work pressures, bad golf, early snoozing on the couch Saturday night. Pretty much routine.
I’ve been giving some extra thought to retirement. For some odd reason, the age of 64 has jumped into my thinking. No particular rhyme or reason, it’s just there. It is almost unfathomable that there is light at the end of the tunnel on this work thing. It wouldn’t be so much a train light but more like sunshine.
I’ve been looking at the Social Security Administration updates it mails out every so often and even though I’m far, far, far from a math wizard, I could get by on some of the paltry sum that would come in the mail box. Your uncle is counseling me to ride things out until 70 and before February that might have been the best path. But I want to live now while the living is good. A few more years and the house will be paid off along with the small home equity loan (don’t use your house as a piggy bank) and the Toyota. Not that I’ll spend my time playing checkers and rocking on the front porch, but I’m sure there are plenty of opportunities around here. I look at the retired people at church who say they’ve never been busier. Even the word “retire” makes my blood curdle a little bit but I suppose it would only be in the corporate sense. Maybe I could be a greeter at Wal-Mart or some other part-time stint. I’d love to be a senior housing columnist for the Observer as they keep reminding me to turn in columns. I suppose if I wore the label of ‘retiree’ that would give things a little more credence. I look at the things that ostensibly would keep me busy and there would appear to be a fair amount; church newsletter, golf (if I haven’t already quit by then and donated the sticks to some good cause or thrown them in the irretrievable bottom of some lake) and riding the bike (if I still have the rig, which I think I will).
One of these days John and I have to have the “talk.” He keeps telling me things aren’t half bad, it’s just the other half that I worry about. As your uncle keeps repeating to me, retirement isn’t all about trips to Italy or a month in Bali. When the job situation was in the balance last year, John had worked on some approach to bonds that would have yielded a passable monthly income but thankfully that was pulled off the table. It might be time to resurrect that approach, or at least get him thinking about it. He’s sort of gravitated in that direction already. I guess he doesn’t think someone in my age category should take unmitigated risks. Jeez, I don’t feel that old. One of the factors behind all of this, I suppose, is that I will never achieve the bank’s formula that combines years of service and age that allows you some degree of benefits once you’re out the door (alas, no gold watch either). That would only kick in if I worked here until I was about 80. But I thought it might be time to at least fill you in on what’s circulating in my dense noggin.
Got up pretty early yesterday and planted the year’s first, and only, tomato plant in a huge pot just outside on the front entry way. A Better Boy. As it grows, it will be anchored in place by some bamboo rods I salvaged from a nearby bamboo grove and some of Felicia’s worn pantyhose. Last year was okay in terms of harvestable fruit, and this year the larger pot should let the roots roam free without constriction. Ellen, I paid handsomely for black dirt you take for granted in your backyard. The lettuce is really producing right now and the arugula is becoming a force to be reckoned with in the lettuce pot. We’d better eat while the eating is good because it’s going to be brutally hot here soon enough, then the lettuce will go kaput for sure. But that’s just when the sweet basil charges full steam ahead. Oh, but for a little patch of red raspberries.