Gary went back to work this morning. I know it will be a difficult day for him as he adjusts physically to the cement floors and mentally to the stresses of a day in retail. I know, too, that he has missed some of the people at work and is anxious to tell them about our vacation. Gary likes people and enjoys interacting with them. That’s one of the reasons he is good at his job.
My own return to work is just a couple of weeks away. This has been one of the best summers I’ve had in years, but I’m beginning to miss my colleagues and my students. I miss the structure of the year and the daily routine of my classroom. I miss the challenges of each day. I’m a workaholic at heart and I admit it.
Gary has told several of our friends that this summer has been a “preview of his retirement” and he loved it. However, the reality is that I will probably work for several years after he retires. I worry about him being “home alone” and I’ve encouraged him to work part-time for as long as he is able. I think he will stay healthier- physically and mentally- if he is actively engaged with other people.
As we’ve discussed all of this I’ve started looking around at our friends who are already retired. I’ve noticed that the happiest and healthiest ones are those who are doing community or church work, or are committing themselves fully to a hobby. We all talk about the happy day when we “stop working”, but I think the truth is that when we truly stop working at anything and just sit down, we stop living. And for some people that is literal. I think that’s why we read about men who have a heart attack and die just months after their retirement party!
So, even though I haven’t been idle this summer, I am ready to go back to my real work. And even though Gary will be tired tonight, I think he will also be happy to be working again. We still have a few miles left in us!