Friends in retirement


I think about how a traveller from Venus might regard our approach to retirement on planet earth. I think this Venusian would be concerned to observe such a large and abrupt discontinuity occurring in the life of a retired earthling who had moved from the workplace on a Friday afternoon to the homespace on the following Monday morning; and how we are not well trained to deal with this.

Let’s think about friendship in retirement, in the context of the two pairs below.

Work & Retirement

Duty  & Pleasure

I want to observe that if there is a stark barrier between work and retirement in the top row, there is no need for such a clear division between duty and pleasure in the bottom row: there is a place for a negotiation.

This negotiation is often very hard during a work life because time is then such a restricted commodity, but it is the opposite in retired life, where the bonds of time loosen themselves.  

Each can choose their balance between duty and pleasure. So in retirement you may decide to work for a charity or look after grandchildren. This will build commitment or duty. Or you may decide to lighten up on duty to give more time to pleasure, and this is where friends can be so important.

Then, in retirement, you can spend as much time as you wish with your friends, unlike when you worked and had trouble juggling commitments. And by the way, having a strong network of friends in retirement can so easily compensate for the high level of social interaction that you had in the workplace; that has now vanished on the Monday morning after.

So to return to our Venusian, let’s meet his concern by showing how Earthlings can maintain and build friendships in the move to and in retirement.