I was downtown the other day - had taken a few Tech wall pics, visited the camera store my fav salesman had moved to, bought a slip-on case for my new Nikon P5000, and stopped at the Lieutenant's Pump to quench my thirst. I sat there in the sun watching the world go by, sipping a Keith's, and mused on semi-retirement. "Semi" meaning I often "do" more than when I was gainfully employed, but is it work? A common definition seems to be:
To exert oneself physically or mentally in order to do, make, or accomplish something
From that you'd think even I- sitting in the sun and wondering if my pension check came in yet- was working. But the assumption seems to be that it has to be a job, employment, someone (other than Canada Pension) has to be paying me. When we are in a full time job, it's a convenient label for people to use to pigeon-hole us - I work for Bell, I work for GM, I'm a broker, I'm a carpenter, whatever. Retirement often means the freedom to lose that specific focus, rather than being controlled by a structure for our 7.5 hours a day there is freedom to blur that focus and throttle back that drive. Which seems to annoy some - they expect people to have the same focus and drive in retirement. Set up a schedule, get down to "work", and master golf, or photography, or that shelf of books, or that home renovation. Doesn't bother me, some days I do get a lot done on a "to-do" list, some days the list gets re-written at the end of the day to be just "hang out and smell the flowers". Putting everything you ever wanted to do on a to-do list can be daunting at first, until you realize very few things on there are "have to do", most are up for grabs as to which you'd prefer to do, with the balance saved for your next re-incarnation.
I've thought of some labels to simplify things for others - Renaissance man, advocate of urban art, social activist, semi-retired gigolo - none are a complete fit. But they do provide a starting point, if anyone is so inclined. Maybe I can suggest my catholic tastes by saying I'm an Eclectic Circus, feel free to join me in the ring. Or take off, eh?
BTW- CBC Radio1 Sunday Morning just had a discussion on book reading, that there are clubs and celebrities and books telling us not only what to read but how to read it. It's apparantly no longer just enough to pick up a book and try it. And supposedly even harder to admit to someone that you tried a book, and couldn't get into it, or didn't like it. The other person often wants to "fix" you, implying the failure is because you're a little slow, or lazy, or didn't know the right way to approach the book. Rather than just let you move on to the next one in the huge pile of books we all seem to have acquired. I joined BookCrossing a few years ago - under the naive assumption that while I would acquire some books to read, I would give away far more from my bookshelves. Silly me. But I did meet some interesting people through the group, and did get some good books I would otherwise have missed. We meet monthly, exchange some books, and chat about not only the books but life in general. And commiserate with each other over the growing piles we all have labeled "to be read".