At times when I chat to my wife about how I can’t wait to retire so that we have more free time, play more badminton or do more traveling, she would say that I am wishing my life away. She says we already have lots of free time, and that we play badminton 3 times a week, and we travel 3 to 4 times a year.
Not that she would get bored after retirement, but she feels that she still enjoys her work at the office, the social interactions with her co-workers, the recognition she gets from doing a good job, and the vibrant atmosphere of working downtown. I guess I cannot argue with that. I feel the same most times at work, but there are times when I day-dream about spending more time outdoors (especially during sunny days), more badminton (to improve after entering a competition), or more travels (when I look at my travel wish lists).
When receiving a paycheque is no longer the prime motive for working, then one must decide whether the time spent at the office is better off in spending on pursing our passions. Perhaps your major passion is work, then there is no need to think about retirement. To most people though, it is a trade-off of how best to spend the remaining time we have on this earth.
I just finished watching a TED talk about “Want to be happy? Be grateful” by Brother David Steindl-Rast. He talks about how every moment given to us is a “gift”. He says: “By experiencing, by becoming aware that every moment is a given moment, as we say. It’s a gift. You haven’t earned it. You haven’t brought it about in any way. You have no way of assuring that there will be another moment given to you, and yet, that’s the most valuable thing that can ever be given to us, this moment, with all the opportunity that it contains. If we didn’t have this present moment, we wouldn’t have any opportunity to do anything or experience anything, and this moment is a gift. It’s a given moment, as we say.”
So, it is probably time to retire when your job is no longer bringing you happiness, or if you think pursuing something else will bring you more happiness. Is spending 8 to 9 hours a day at the office the best use of our given moments?