So, you ask, how’s my perfect gig at the Halfway House at the golf course in Florida? (Jewish Rhode Island, March 2021.) Done. It ran its course (cute, huh?). Done, I say.
Working at the restaurant was wonderful – fun, interesting, certainly very different from my great life in the challenging world of investments, and the perfect answer, at the time, to my total frustration with the new, wholly unaccustomed world of the newly retired.
This year’s totally changed, difficult, crass management style at the golf course couldn’t have been more different, and all the employees, who are mostly new, worked in fear of being unnecessarily yelled at, or sworn at, and definitely not the least bit appreciated for all of their endless hard work.
With the entire workforce a microcosm of behavior and attitudes modeled at the top, there was rampant dissention, rudeness and blatant unkindness displayed by most of the employees, all of whom were endlessly fearful of losing their jobs.
At the risk of repeating myself: I’m done. In the middle of January, my “retirement career” in the difficult world of food service came to its conclusion. Exit, Stage Right.
Oy, again with the retirement anxiety? No, I don’t feel anxious about it at all!
So, nu? What’s different?
I came to the outstandingly brilliant observation that retirement is not something that happens over a weekend, or from Monday to Friday, but it’s a whole process, not unlike a death, having children, getting divorced … and all of those other extremely significant life-altering events.
Retirement issues, however, are exacerbated if you loved your career. You’re not needed anymore, not important, not making serious decisions … your phone doesn’t ring all day ….
Boys and girls, here’s an illuminating fact: if this describes you, it’s all about your ego and our never-ending quest to be necessary, needed, relevant … and, yes, important.
As in all cases (see divorce, death, etc., above), it is time that’s the great healer and the pain-reducing element.
And here’s Barbie’s Great Shout-Out to Florida as an amazing place to be whatever you define as retired: Eighty is the new 60, you’re outside all the time – beam me up to that glorious Vitamin D sunshine, Scotty! – walking outside at all hours, either with Fluffy or dogless, biking, golfing, fishing (there’s a beautiful 500-foot fishing pier right in front of me, full of sheepshead, red snapper, etc.), playing cards, mahjong, etc.
I’ve never seen so many intellectual, cultural, spiritual (huge Jewish community) and interesting events, and gorgeous fine arts and crafts festivals, every weekend.
For instance, in one week I saw Noa Tishby talk about her excellent book, “Israel, a Simple Guide to the Most Misunderstood Country on Earth” (do read it!), saw a superb play, went to an extremely high-quality arts festival, attended a gun show (!) and did lots of other things with a wonderful Chabad group.
Bored? Are you kidding me? I still haven’t had time to play golf!
So you want to be important? Pack meals for Meals on Wheels, make Purim boxes and help deliver them, take elderly folks to their appointments, teach English to immigrants, or put yourself out there in some other way. Every day is such a precious gift to be treasured!
You haven’t heard the last of me! But, for now, I’m cherishing this lovely freedom that I was previously so totally unfamiliar with, since I have worked and had other commitments that left me virtually no free time since I was an ambitious, hard-working teenager. And freedom is what retirement is about – and in this blessed country that I love, isn’t freedom what it’s all about? It’s boring people who get bored.
Embrace your retirement and freedom and be the best that you can be for yourself while going through this challenging, but so satisfying, stage of life
BARBARA KENERSON (email@example.com) was first vice president of investments at JanneyMontgomeryScott LLC for almost four decades and wrote the Investment Column for the then Jewish Voice for many years. She also was a motivational speaker for women and wrote Broadway reviews for years. Never bored.