Marlene, a school social worker, gradually realized that she had the luxury of many options. She could, in fact, retire and decide how she wanted to spend the rest of her life.
A Sandwiched Boomer, her elderly Mother had been diagnosed with dementia and needed more daily support. Her two daughters were having babies at opposite ends of the continent. She wanted to be able to spend time with them after the births and to be with the grandchildren as they grew. Her son also lived away and was embarking on a new career. All in all she intended to be more mobile and accessible to her family.
"After quitting my job of 30 years, I was often asked how I was enjoying my retirement. My reply was always: Are they talking to me, what's retirement?
Here's the reality. I spend a lot of time in airports. I stay in my pajamas until after 10:00 a.m. on many weekday mornings. I've become more active as a volunteer, involved in both urban renewal and heritage aspects of my city. I sit on a hospital board and am learning more about the healthcare system. I have become involved again in local politics and helped an old friend get elected. I've been to lunch with friends four times and knitted 1 1/2 baby sweaters.
I still have not met my husband for lunch in the middle of the week, cleaned out my drawers, put photos in albums, exercised regularly, mastered the computer or the game of bridge, read enough books, or browsed the many corners of the city that I promised myself I would.
So, where am I now? I'm still very much in the process of learning what retirement means to me."