Retiree Reveries

Just to get things clear from the beginning: The title does not refer to the daydreams of any old pensioners, but it is about the preconceptions that people between 60 and 67 have about their own retirement period, which is ahead of them but has not yet begun.  The topic comes up again and again during enjoyable evenings with friends, and the “fantasies” in this regard not only say a lot about the nature of the people involved in the conversation, but also about the challenges of their particular everyday professional lives.

The responses to the issue of what to do with your time when no longer working are as varied as people. Some dream of sleeping in every day as a symbol of new-found freedom, others of an ever-accessible camper van and adventurous tours through Europe. New hobbies are planned, voluntary work considered or research undertaken to see if the previous job can be continued part-time tax-free. One member of my family continued to do what was her job until retirement voluntarily (albeit with fewer hours) without a break in between. And for the sort who need challenging projects for their well-being, you can usually find a large construction site in the house or garden in the first six months of retirement – sometimes much to the vexation of their partners.

Professional “desk jockeys” plan more sport and exercise, physically hard-working people dream of “finally putting their feet up”. And the plan to re-read all your books and listen to all your LPs/CDs again and then sort them out can completely fill the first years of retirement. Among my acquaintances it is noticeable that while some friends, colleagues and family members can hardly wait for their time out of employment, others find the prospect of having to plan entire days themselves in the future rather daunting. People in this category also tend to over-plan – and end up more stressed out than when they were still working.

Learning plays a big role in those plans too. For example, tackling a new language – often this senior subset is identical to the one with the motor homes on hand. There are other favourites for learning in old age.

The German website lists the following courses as “particularly popular with senior citizens”:

Languages: English, French, Spanish, Latin or Ancient Greek
Health/wellness: e.g. aromatherapy, complementary medicine, herbal medicine
Creativity: garden design, jewellery design, home economics
autobiographical writing, photography
Animals and nature: animal trainer, basic knowledge of natural history
Psychology: Practical Psychology, Psychology Basics
General knowledge: Fundamentals of German history, Dietetics, Geography, Ecology, Religious Studies, Theology, Philosophy, New Media
and the Abitur/High School Diploma.

I was surprised about the Abitur, but on the other hand: without pressure to succeed or fear of failure, the Abitur subjects are perhaps more interesting than with them?

And what about myself? I still have a few years until the deadline. I’m looking forward to having more time for books again (because I have a professional life that is very taxing for my eyes) – and I’m already thinking about voluntary work. And I already know exactly what I don’t want in that area: a few months ago, I saw a machine in a hospital that said: “Please scan your appointment card here.” It also said that in English and as a drawing for people with reading difficulties. Next to the machine was a hospital volunteer, and when I got to the machine she said to me “Please scan your appointment card here.” This would not be a suitable job, however charitable, for me!

Original text: BBR
English translation: BCO


Author: bbr

Hello, I am Beate Brinkman, the bbr.harlekin. I am editor and author for Harlekin.Blog e.V. and my “main job” is support coordinator in an international IT company. So far I have worked in German, Dutch, American and Indian companies and have acquired a great deal of experience of multicultural cooperation. I have been living in the Netherlands as a German for many years and have discovered that the cultural differences between Germans and Dutch alone could fill entire books. For professional and private reasons, I am particularly interested in multicultural (mis)understanding. Whether it’s about food, language, official conference calls or the organisation of funerals – when the cultures of several countries collide, things get lively. And that leads to sometimes unpleasant, often very funny, but always instructive situations.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *