Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Existential Dread of Retirement

Retirement is a brutal business. I know a man who retired recently who had been in business for fifty years. Now he doesn't know what to do with himself. He enjoyed the driving off to work and being involved with people and the camaraderie any work environment brings. He always put work first. It was the most important thing to him and he would always tell me about the projects he was involved in.  He was happy in his work.

But now he is retired and the existential creep is settling in. Most people defer this until the day they can no longer. Staying busy and workaholism is very American. A busy person is a successful person. All those writers staying at home pity them. What they must do all day? And how can they stand not going off to work? But then...then work betrays even the most diligent and vanishes over the next hill like a bad uncle.

And you are left standing there alone. And all those years of never considering your place in the universe come crashing in. It is not just not having anything to do it is the existential dread of the moment put off for years and years. Death seems to be lurking in the closet or the bathroom or the garage. All one can do is take a deep breath and accept the moment.

It has really been there all along. You just didn't know it.
The Pitcher....sometimes a dream is all you have

Books by William Hazelgrove