Saturday, February 2, 2013

Why Retirement was Invented

As I slowly finished my day the other day - I realized how little that I had gotten done during the whole was really depressing.  I can remember when I had 3 rug rats and  a couple of  dogs underfoot and I still managed to do several loads of laundry...fix meals...keep the house up ( notice, I didn't say "clean") all the bookkeeping for the house and a busy dental office...and have enough energy at the end of the day to do something fun.  Today I'm lucky if I can find my bed at the end of the day after doing very little.

One hundred years ago - people didn't retire, they  usually died before they had reached a retirement age.  We were a much more agrarian society, and no matter how old you were - if you were on a farm, you worked.  Even in the thirties when FDR invented social security, our life expectancy was considerably lower than it is today, and not that big a percentage of the population was around to collect...and if they did collect, it wasn't for a long period of time.

Today, we are living longer and supposedly, enjoying it more.  I'm not sure that I agree totally with that statement, but I'm trying to.  This month has been an example of how you don't want to spend your retirement.  We're into the third week here - so there have been about 15 working days this month...we were out of town for three days and I think I've had doctors' appointments on the other 12, or close to it.  I've been to the heart clinic for appointments twice. Had blood taken three times.  I've had two appointments with my G.P.. I've had two dental appointments and an appointment with an endodontist and got the scintillating news that I need a root canal...OH HAPPY DAY! ! ! The days that I didn't have an appointment, my husband did.  This is no way to spend those golden years - I don't even have time to make my jewelry that I love and sell at my online  shop.  This isn't fun - it's work.

I turned 70 this month - so not only am I not having fun, I'm feeling very old. Do you remember when you were a kid and how old 30 - 40 - 50 sounded?  Well, even as a dues paying real  adult, I thought that 70 was old.  And dear God....I am now there.  It is a scary thought. I'm hoping that things pick up soon and we can stay away from the doctor for a few months.  I'm also hoping that life becomes fun again - not just one medical problem, appointment, crisis etc. etc.after another.  I had a friend who used to say that after 50 it was patch, patch , patch....well, right now I'd like to replace the whole shebang rather than doing any more of this damn ( pardon me) patching.

Okay - back to my title - why they invented retirement. No gainfully employed person could have the number of appointments that I've had in the last three weeks and maintain their job. Secondly, no one's production could have dropped  as much as mine has and kept a job. "They" had to invent something so that seniors wouldn't get too depressed...and retirement was it.  It's okay if all you got done today was one load of clothes and a visit to the dentist -  such a minuscule accomplishment  is acceptable because you're retired. So I really think that they invented retirement as a face saving gesture for the older generation  -  can't do that any more???? That's okay, you're retired.

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