Wednesday, August 06, 2014

A Pointless Retirement

The Author At Rest On Some Pointless Beach
I have been thinking recently about retirement. Perhaps I had better rephrase that - I have been thinking recently about the subject of retirement (after all, you can't really retire from retirement, but let's not get caught up in that tautological whirlpool). My thoughts were stimulated by some recent research carried out on behalf of Skipton Building Society. To those unfamiliar with this country, Skipton is a rather pleasant market town in North Yorkshire and a Building Society is a rather pleasant mutual association owned by its members. Researchers asked some 2,000 Britons what they thought about retirement and which words they most frequently associated with retirement. Most people looked on retirement as a positive experience and the most frequently associated words included "care-free", "relaxing", "holidays", "fun" and "stress-free". 

Although I would agree with most of the sentiments expressed by such happy retirees, there was one word missing from the list, one word which I associate with retirement more than most others : "pointless". Before you start writing me off as some work-obsessed saddo, hear me out, for I do not use the word "pointless" in any negative way, to me pointlessness is a glorious philosophy of life. What we do for the vast majority of our lives has a point and if you were unfortunate enough to work in any environment infected with any degree of the science of management, it not only had a point but it had aims, objectives, targets, and self-fulfilling conclusions as well. Work had a point to it and you had to be lucky if that point was not just earning enough money to put food on your table and money in your pension pot. Life was a process of moving from point to point with little or no time for that most wondrous of feelings - pointlessness; aimlessness; irrelevance.

Now that I am retired I worship the irrelevant with religious-like ferocity. I waste my time with all the passion and energy of a stock trader. I wander down intellectual side-streets in search of whatever may come my way. I take instructions from nobody and report back to no one. To me, that is the point of retirement - it is pointless.

10 comments:

  1. Heh, heh! Retirement, for me, would most definitely have a point - relaxation. But I get your drift; not having a schedule or a list of things that must be done is certainly my personal view of heaven.

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  2. You know, this reminds me of a bit of dialogue in the "Matrix Reloaded" movie, a conversation between Neo and Councilor Hamann:

    Neo: So we need machines and they need us, is that your point, Councilor?
    Councilor Hamann: No. No point. Old men like me don't bother with making points. There's no point.
    Neo: Is that why there are no young men on the council?
    Councilor Hamann: Good point.

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  3. Ha ha, Alan...love your take on retirement...and here's an interesting blog that Ronni Bennett publishes with today's topic appropriate to your pointless retirement. http://www.timegoesby.net/weblog/ The Soft Bigotry of Low Expectations!

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  4. I love this, pointless though it may be...

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  5. The mantra for this pointless philosophy of life?
    Whatever.

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  6. Ah retirement is the time when it takes you twice as long to do something, and other people think you have all the time in the world. Pointless is a good word:)

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  7. I couldn't agree more and I am longing for the chance to do nothing pointed.

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  8. Retirement to me is to be able to have a cup of tea outside on the deck every afternoon with my husband. Not something that we were ever able to bank on before retirement. But the rest of the time I HAVE to have a point to my time. That's just me. The best part is being able to stop and start when I want to and to have no deadlines -- oh and being able to get up in the morning when I want to. Thought provoking topic. I may write an article on it for our retirement community.

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