Don’t let others hijack your retirement

#Middlebury #SeniorNewsLine

For too many of us, retirement doesn’t necessarily mean taking the time for things we want to do and for rest and relaxation. Instead, the word “retire” means that others assume we’ll have lots of time to do things for them. The expectations can start the instant we retire, and our calendars can fill up astonishingly fast, if we let them.

Volunteering, babysitting grandchildren, walking someone’s new dog in the afternoon … their to-do lists for us can be endless. Because, you see, we have the time to help, now that we’re retired. And we don’t want to be rude …

Except, maybe that wasn’t the plan.

We can take the following steps to forestall the tendency of people to want our time, stopping it before it gets started. We have to, if we’re going to rescue our retirement.

  • Don’t make promises when approached. Start with saying “maybe” and add a lot of qualifiers. Maybe you’ll eventually think about volunteering at the elementary school. Maybe next year you’ll consider shelving books at the library.
  • “I have other obligations,” can be your new operative phrase when someone tries to pin you down, and don’t elaborate.
  • “I’ve decided not to do any volunteer work for the first year.” Notice the operative word? “Decided” is a statement that you won’t be coerced. And delete from your vocabulary the words, “I’m sorry, but …” That weakens your position and sounds like there’s wiggle room.
  • Unplug your phone whenever you need to. Maybe that’s every afternoon when you know an employed neighbor will be calling to ask if you’re going to the grocery store. Just don’t be available.

Because remember, your retirement isn’t endless. Write that on a small card and tape it to the mirror where you’ll see it every day.

(c) 2018 King Features Synd. Inc.


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