My father is 79 years old and can out work most people I know. So, I wouldn’t call him old. And if you were talking to him, I doubt that you would have the nerve to call him that either. He’s a big man. Literally.
When he was in the workforce, he had a pretty important job. People from several attended his retirement party. My kids used to watch him on TV. He never made a big deal out of it, it was just what he did. He didn’t pass around the magazine articles written about him in the trade journals or anything. It was no big deal to him, but he worked hard to be good at his job. All of his life he worked hard.
Then he retired.
And he did some things he loved like volunteering at the Museum of Natural History. He earned his certification in paleontology and was always talking about stones and bones.
Recently he purchased a home in Gruver and he’s about to close on the house and moved from Denver to be nearer to family. It makes me happy. For 10 years I have been trying to get him to see the sense in doing such. But what I want and what he wants don’t always happen to be the same, or at the same time. That’s true of so many things with our parents.
As we visited last time he was here, I told him how happy it made me. He said it made him happy, too. He was glad that he would be living around family and would have the great grandkids games to go to, family BBQs and whatever other reasons we find (almost weekly) to get together.
“You don’t know how bad it is to not feel relevant anymore,” Papa said.
Pondering this statement for many weeks now, I think it is important that I listen to Papa.
If you make your job your definition of yourself, what happens when you retire? You don’t just disappear. Or do you?
If you have not gotten to know your children and grandchildren and built a relationship, what happens when you retire? You may feel like you missed your chance at a relationship. Or can you build one now?
If you have only cultivated friends through work, who do you do things with when stop working?
If your job gives you a feeling of importance, when you retire do you become unimportant?
My conclusion for today because we all know that it might be a different conclusion in a month or two, is that it is important to do a good job. There is self – respect in knowing that you have given value to your employers, to your community. But there is family that needs an equal or more amount of your respect and energy. Know them, work together so that you are a team and friends.
Treasure and treat your life long friends as you would gold. If you don’t have any friends outside of family and work, find some. Join a bridge club. Become a Scout Master. Join the church. Invite a friend to go to a play with you. Or better yet, be in one of the plays.
Find your worth in several places. At work, at home with the family, with your friends, and out in the community.
And while doing this, I think we become more interesting. More fun. More versatile.
It’s never too late to improve ourselves or our lives. Let’s get on it.
See you on the bricks!