Did I Just Get a Glimpse into My Future?

I had some school work I had to get done today, so I decided to go to our local library instead of working at home. This way I wouldn’t be tempted to visit the fridge or snack closet every 15 minutes…

It turned out to be a fairly productive day (I was there from 10:15-3:45) and a potentially enlightening one as well.

As I sat in a chair doing my work, I couldn’t help but notice how many guys, just slightly older than me it seemed, who came into the library for various reasons.

One of the more popular reasons was to read newspapers.

Our library has a decent selection of local and national newspapers, and I noticed some of the guys would read a couple of different newspapers while they were there.

This observation struck me for a couple of reasons.

First, my wife and I have said that if we move when we retire, one of the priorities will be living close to a library. We have been blessed to have a great local library (Radnor Memorial), and I hope we can find one just as nice if we move. I think we both envision a retired life filled with lots and lots of reading, the books generously supplied by the local library. In addition, since I’ve usually been too cheap to have a subscription to a newspaper, a library would offer me the opportunity to stop in every day and get caught up with what’s going on locally and around the world. I know I can do that on my computer, but it always seems more enjoyable to actually page through a newspaper.

So it seemed as if these guys I spotted today at our local library were living my dream retirement. Coming into a library and taking as much time as they wanted to go through the newspapers.

But then another thought came to me as I watched these guys.

I hoped this wasn’t the highlight of their day, because looking into the future, I realized I don’t want reading a newspaper to be the highlight of my day.

Yes, it seems like a great way to spend an hour or two out of the house, ideally early in the morning. But it seemed pretty inward-focused; reading a newspaper doesn’t seem to contribute much to society.

It made me realize that when I’m retired, I want to feel like I still have a purpose, whatever that may be. Yes, I want to live a more relaxed, carefree life, but I still want to feel like I’m productive in some way.

Maybe it will be volunteering, maybe it will be writing the great American novel, maybe it will be a part-time job.

Sure, I’ll still plan to go to the library and read the newspapers but hopefully, it won’t be the most productive thing I do all day.

And please note that I am not suggesting that these men I observed today were not leading fulfilling lives. They simply served as a catalyst for me to think about my future, and how to make the most of it.

*image from behance.net

18 thoughts on “Did I Just Get a Glimpse into My Future?

  1. I’ve been living the retirement dream for three years now, and I still wake up happy and energized each day. I loved my career, but this part of life is amazing . I do think you’ve nailed an important componentโ€”we need a purpose. Of course, that will be different for everyone. I get a lot of satisfaction from volunteering for causes that are important to me and trying new things I’ve always wanted to do. I visited the last of my fifty states (Alaska) earlier this year, wrote a book, started learning the guitar, and rededicating myself to my fitness. Blogging is one of those new ventures too, and that was never on my list of things to do.

    1. thanks for making retirement sound so appealing, Pete! I like the idea of visiting all 50 sates, especially since I’ve already got the tw hard ones out of the way! I look forward to trying new things as well during retirement.

  2. First of all, don’t wait for your retirement before you start working on the greatest American Novel of all time. Draft it now. You’ll be surprised at the revisions you’ll be doing before it becomes ready for publication.

    Also, I like working at home for the reason that snacks are close at hand. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I like dropping by in the library to read the papers, too. Haven’t done that in a long while, most specially after I have graduated from college. Although I now work really close to the library.. Hmm… It might be worth making a visit just to get to read those papers. I hear the comic section is a nice place to start.

    While you can see yourself being an old man hanging out in the library, don’t forget, you’d be an old, retired man with a blog to maintain. ๐Ÿ™‚ I doubt that library visit will be your day’s highlight.

    Have a nice day!

    1. thanks for your thoughtful reply, jomz. I’m hoping my novel will be ready to go after its first draft ๐Ÿ™‚ and yes, I do like the snacks at home, but sometimes I like them a little too much! Have a great day.

  3. it is an eye-opener to look/think ahead. I think you’ll find. your space in retirement quite easily. I’m assuming that my summers off from teaching are practice runs and i don’t have problems adapting –

  4. Having tested the waters of retirement Jim, I can assure you that your later years will be as fulfilling as any. Volunteering is a great idea, but I have been save my money to by your first novel, so definitely get to work on that!

  5. I’m surprised you didn’t hit upon another reason – were these chaps having a break from the missus? There is a great British tradition of sheds and allotments for retired gentlemen to get away from under their wives’ feet, though modern retired ladies are unliely to be at home – more likely doing aquarobics or art classes. However the time is spent in retirement, some time on separate activities is best for most couples – otherwise you have little to talk about. All our retired friends are busy doing all sorts of things , but we still have time to get together for lunch etc
    Yes you.must write a novel!

    1. I didn’t want to say that in print in case my wife was reading my blog, but I did have that thought as I watched those guys. I love that doing so is a British tradition, it must work obviously! As a writer – do you ever really retire? And at this point, the novel is on the back burner – but it’s there…

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