Fear and retirement

Language has many pairs to offer that display contradictory but sometimes complementary feelings. For example:

·      Fear and hope

·      Gain and loss

·      Status quo and risk

What of these things? In the context of work and “afterwork” aka retirement, I think of the analogy of a house on a cold winter’s day – outside it’s cold and hostile, inside it’s warm and comfortable. There’s another pair to add to the list: comfortable and hostile.

For those contemplating retirement and not sure of their next move, perhaps they are inside the house and fear the outside. Why would they do that? It may be that in their minds, perhaps subconsciously, they fear the change from comfort to challenge. After all, despite all its difficulties, work can have an element of predictability that can feel safe: get up at the same time, travel to the same place, work with the same people on the same tasks, go home. 

But I say that outside the house of any worker in their 60s is a golden path that they can walk. That is to say that, in a biblical three score and ten sense, there may not be many years ahead for a healthy and productive life. Maybe 10, even 20, possibly 30 years? 

So, my argument is to get out and make use of those years, walk that golden path, yes it’s uncertain but it will bring many unexpected rewards.

They tell us that we fear loss much more than we love gain. That is probably true in general, but when it comes to retirement the loss you fear is only one possible future. There are others to be discovered for each individual; but you will never know what it’s like if you don’t try.