The subject of retirement has been written about and addressed by many, but in my view it is an issue that differs from person to person.
In my case, when I retired it came like a bolt from the blue.
I had been working for the same company for 37 years and I thought it would be extremely difficult for me to take.
I was extremely attached to the place and it was there that I gained all my experience, knowledge, personality and built relationships.
I loved my place of work and wondered how I would be able to manage without it.
However, on my birthday a few weeks after retirement I received a call from my erstwhile boss, who asked how I was doing.
And I immediately responded by saying I felt 10 years younger.
I was not exaggerating.
All my fears of retirement were just a delusion.
Now I am free as a bird – no worries, no tension, no follow-up of daily work, no reading or responding to e-mails.
Above all, I am far removed from the fake courtesies and hypocrisy so prevalent in the workplace.
Many of my friends who had already retired told me this, but I could only fathom it once I hung up my boots.
However, there is another aspect.
In just a month I discovered who my real friends were.
The friends with whom my relationship was based on love, respect and sincerity.
Many masks came off when so many of those I had worked with suddenly wanted nothing to do with me. They were well and truly exposed.
In society we unfortunately think of our social status more than anything else.
Even our health takes a back seat and we postpone our medical appointments.
We do not think about our own happiness and our life.
Let’s be realistic. The retirement age of 60 leaves us without much time to enjoy the rest of our lives.
Throughout our careers, we do not think about the day when we can start to enjoy life at our own convenience.
I remember meeting a Western tourist more than a decade ago, when he was on vacation on his own yacht with his wife and grandchildren.
I remember his words when he said that he retired at the age of 55 after he sold his small factory.
When I told him that was too early to retire, he said he had worked for many years, doing long hours every day.
He decided to sell his factory and devote himself to his life, which he had not yet lived.
The bottom line is that the benefits of retirement far outweigh its disadvantages.
Everyone should know that each decision in life has its pros and cons.
But I wish that as retirees, we live a life full of health, happiness and longevity.
Zuhair A Tawfiqi