08.12.16 – Life without work

As I sit here on my farm in Barbados looking out over the semi suburban landscape, I have been asking myself about retirement.

I have been asking myself when I will get to enjoy the life that I am preparing for now and intend to live later.

When would I be in a position to enjoy and fully appreciate the fruits of my labour and those that have laboured to support me?

Must I wait until I am older and greyer before I can sit on this farm once more? Wait until I only have ten years of life left and then not be able to fully appreciate my surroundings due to ill health and failing limbs?

It is strange that most of the houses built in Barbados by returning nationals have the main living area upstairs on the first floor, at the top of a steep and sharp turning staircase. This is not a problem for your average forty year old as they are building the property to take advantage of a view from an upstairs balcony, but the reality is that they will be in their seventies when they finally make the move, and their dream upstairs living area is too much for their failing knees and asbestos or smoke filled lungs.

They then end up living their retirement in the garage that they have now needed to convert into a granny flat, and the spend their days peering out from behind the rout iron bars originally designed to display the new vehicle that they shipped to Barbados in order to enjoy their retirement. This corrugated iron and breeze block accommodation is a far cry from the lifestyle they expected.

At what point do you take the plunge and say, I am prepared to sacrifice the last ten years of working life, in order to fully appreciate life without work.

We work in order to gain financial security in our older years without fully measuring whether we have that security now.

We fear the adjustments required to our known life in order to live a different life now.

I am not saying that work does not provide its own fulfilment, a sense of self-worth, a way of contributing to society, a way of living the lifestyle that we want, or a way of aspiring to the lifestyle we desire. But ask yourself this; What is the number?

What is the number of dollars, pounds that you must have in the bank to feel ready for retirement?

What is the number of years that you wish to enjoy your wealth, and how healthy would you be at that the beginning of that number?

As Barbados begins to shut down for Xmas, and people stop returning my business emails and calls until January, I am finding that I am spending an increased amount of time as I would if I where retired here, and I suck at it.

I have not built any social capital here in Barbados and therefore I live in perpetual solitude. So that becomes the next project over the next few weeks, find my social circle.

Some people define retirement by when their children are no longer dependent on them for financial support. Some have retirement thrust upon them by their employees once their age reaches an arbitrary number.

How will we manage our feeling as the way we have defined ourselves for the last 45 to 50 years of work is stripped away, and we are forced to redefine ourselves by who we are and not what we do?

However if we take there factors away, how would you define when you are ready to live your life, not defined by how you work?

In Barbados I am surrounded by people who have less, but live more.

When will I decide that I am ready to explore life without work?

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~ by jeditopcat on 10 December, 2016.

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