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Well What Are You Going To Do When You Retire?

I am not an expert in retirement; I am not a psychologist, I am not anything but a normal guy who started thinking about "what happens if no one will offer me a job once I reach a certain age".

You see I was scared of not doing anything that will keep my mind active. I was considered a computer guru before anyone even coined the phrase. The first computer I ever worked on was an Elliott 803. It was a serial computer and took 20 minutes to work out one-year mortgage repayments.

I left home at the age of 15 and joined the British Royal Air Force. I travelled the world for 14 years courtesy of them. I went to some spectacular Air Force postings. (Shetland Isles, Mount Troodos Cyprus, Singapore, Germany etc.,) before I left and immigrated to Australia.

I had a heck of a transition changing from a coddled environment in the RAF to "civvy" street. I suddenly had to do every thing myself. No one was going to provide me with accommodation, arrange my travel or find me a job.

I found this terrifying and suffered from headaches and a sense of dread whenever I woke up each morning.

This continued for years before it just left me. I never understood this, as I had no problem finding a job when I moved to Australia. My wife and I had our own home and two beautiful children.

I quickly got a job with Honeywell Information systems working on their mainframe computers. I progressed rapidly to become one of their senior mainframe engineers in Australia which cumulated with me being invited to work on one of their first "Super computers" spending much time in the USA.

By this time the feelings of dread had disappeared, but I often thought back on that transitional period and wondered.

Nearing official retirement made me think about it even more. Here I was after a pretty active life both job wise and home wise. I had progressed from engineering to management to consulting to retrenchment. Yes retrenchment.

It was after retrenchment that I seriously considered what I would do after the official retirement age.
I decided I was not going to retire. I was not going to work as much but I was going to fill my life with all the kinds of things I did in the past plus have the time to do new things.

Once years ago not long after leaving the RAF I read a study on long term army, Airforce and Navy people retiring. This primarily concerned itself with the senior non commissioned officer ranks (The Station Warrant Officer in the RAF, the regimental Sergeant Major etc).

The study found that after retiring, (mandatory retirement age was 55 years) the average life span afterwards was 5 years. The primary reason given was that their lives were suddenly empty. Their whole world revolved around their life in the forces.

The Station Warrant Officer for example was the person who virtually ran the administration of the air force base. He was the one who laid down the law to all junior ranks (and even at times the officer ranks. (The person he reported to was the station commander) His whole life (I had never come across a female SWO in those days) revolved around the base, including all the happenings at the sergeantís mess.

The developments of long-term relationships were few and far between because of turn around of people on the bases.

This is the danger people should try and avoid. One should think, "what is there I do now that I can continue into retirement". "What is there occupation wise that I have always wished I had done". "What is there that will not be all encompassing", "what is there that I can start and stop at will if I want to"

Don't be put off with "I am to old to start or learn anything new". Colonel Sanders did not start his "Kentucky Fried Chicken Chain" until he was 65. And he was broke at the time. He also ended up living to be over 100 years old. Keeping himself active certainly did something for him.

I shudder when I hear about all those people looking forward to entering retirement homes and such.

Well one of my "non" retirement jobs is starting a retirement article directory. This is one way of using some of my previous experience in the technical area setting it up.

What are you going to do waiting for your 100 to come up in 35 years time? Have a 35-year holiday, just sit in a malaise waiting for the grim reaper or do something about it?

Submitted by:

Wilf Staton

Wilf Staton moved to the country where he and his wife built a cottage from old (like us) parts. (see it at http://work-from-home.seniors-directory.biz in the header ). They also own the heritage hall next to it which they are restoring. Their main article site is at http://seniors-directory.biz




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