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What does retirement mean to most people?

I need some ideas for a study I am doing. I have asked many people around here where I live, but it is a very small town. Many people are just being sarcastic and saying things like, "it means that I am getting old" I really hope that I can get some honest and thoughtful answers here. Thank you all, in advance. I would like to thank everyone once again for your answers. They are greatly appreciated. I wish I could pick them all as being the best answer. They will be very useful in my study.

Details:

  1. To me, it meant freedom and independence from a routine that I had little control over.
  2. its just another phase of life. the minute you're born you are guaranteed two things - retirement and death. everyone retires - some on their own, some because they just can't continue anymore (sickness, disease, etc).
  3. I tend to think in terms of politics, and so I will provide the political answer. Retirement is a Socialist idea in which a worker who has worked most of his life is given some time to rest as his body begins to slow down. Historically in Capitalism, which in its purest form has no worker protections, a worker worked until he could not anymore, whether because he was too old or had been injured in a major work accident. At that time, he was fired and got nothing. The worker unions did repeated strikes to gain worker protections such as overtime pay, vacation time, sick leave, weekends off, holidays off and holiday pay when asked to work holidays, and so on. Retirement was one of the protections that workers fought for and got. So now when workers work their whole lives, they have an opportunity to wind down and relax and enjoy life for a while.
  4. It means having more freedom from the routine of going to sleep early in order to get up early and go to work and coming home too tired to enjoy the rest of the day or evening. It also means a person can make plans for trips and other things without having to get permission from their manager to make those plans beforehand, making such planning less complicated and perhaps even longer trips. It is easier to schedule anything from car repairs to doctor appointments and being able to shop and run errands when the stores, business and post office is less crowded. And the safety bonus for retired people is that when the weather is bad they can avoid driving in it, no more icy roads or snow blizzards to maneuver due to work demands.
  5. Gladys was right about having control over your life. Since I retired five years ago I am as busy as I was before but I can do as I please. I volunteer at three different locations and began extensively gardening and landscaping at home. I have also taken classes at the local community college. I am basically away from home in the morning until about noon when I can relax at home and take a nap if I feel like it. I also have a hobby which keeps me busy in the evenings. If I start to feel pressured I can rearrange my hours to where I am comfortable. Yes, retirement does mean that you are aging but it doesn't mean that you have to sit home and feel sorry for yourself.
  6. To me retirement is when I no longer have any strict schedule to follow, no more clocking in. I am free to come and go at any time to and from anywhere I desire. A good example is when I want to go to somewhere at a distance I do not need to fly, now I drive even for hundreds of miles taking my time. Doing so I avoid the hassle of airports specially airport securities.
  7. Turn that damn Alarm Clock off and leave it that way...
  8. Freedom to be anywhere I want to be whenever I want. No more timeframes. Today I thought it was Friday when I was buying a newspaper and ask the clerk if he had Friday's paper. The clerk had to tell me it was Thursday. See no more clock or calendar watching.
  9. Retirement mean to do as we please, that means we can sleep late go to bed late,come and go when we want, travel if we have the money..and just have fun!!!..=)
  10. TOTAL FREEDOM !!
  11. A good well deserved rest, and not getting up at the crack of dawn every morning.
  12. A time to LEARN new things community college courses, crafts, arts etc, a time to travel and learn and do new and different things and make new different friends, I have my own business, retired also and so busy now, more than a regular job. retired a gov position. A lot of people lay around, complain, wine, and are just hard to comunicate with, they do nothing but wine that they are aging etc they are sad.
  13. There are variables. Some see retirement as a "death sentence" - as stated by my small-minded coworker. People of like mind are actually afraid of retirement-as though it's the end of life, because they no longer 'serve a purpose.' They love getting up, getting dressed, and going to work Their job is their life. That's sad. Then if/when they retire, they retire into nothing. That's even sadder. I'm with Gladys. Retirement = Complete Freedom. My life is now my own, to schedule/not schedule as I please; I'm totally free to pursue hobbies, I can go on vacation with no time restrictions. Heaven forbid I get sick, I don't have to worry about running out of sick days. My job didn't define me, and I welcomed retirement as another Life door opening.
  14. Now that I have 5 grandchildren I have the time to really enjoy them. I can now let their parents have a date night. My best friend is teaching Spanish & it's great.I take long walks with my 2 dogs.I'm nocturnal by nature so now I go to bed when I want to.I like to dance & listen to music & enjoy a good white wine. My 13yr old granddaughter & I had our nails done & off to a movie. I'm loving this new chapter in my life.I wear my hair short & spiky & I got a 3rd ear piercing I love earrings lol