Recently, Major Styles became retired. And during this time, I was reminded of something…

Retirement is an existential challenge.

The extra time will produce an array of questions. What’s the meaning of life? Have I made the right decisions? Will I be remembered when I’m gone?

Retirement forces a man to reflect on the existential; and many people die before they reach that point.

Most of us are rescued from answering, The alarm goes off, we take a shower, and we shave. And then it’s off to work…a set of duties that occupy. We file a memo, we type a letter, and we move a stapler. “One more coffee, please!”

And yet the questions remain…unanswered.

Periodically, a revelation arrives. You smoke a joint on a rooftop in Chicago and the universe is unleashed – like a tsunami hitting landfall. You feel the immensity of time. You see Mayan temples and the pyramids of Egypt. They’re all connected to you…and the emotion is overwhelming.

But it’s over the next day – you go back to work. The feelings you had are washed away by a million details. A machine reclaims the soul.

Until retirement. Then you face the questions again. Like a boxer in the ring, your opponent is after you. He’s chasing you from pillar to post. And you have to face the punches of reality. The existential dilemma.

You have to answer the questions…

See Related Article: Essay Review: “The Turning Point of My Life” by Mark Twain

2 thoughts on “On the Challenge of Retirement

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