June 24, 2014 by Jean
Quite a few of my Maine friends have recently retired or are planning to retire in the next couple of years. This week, my friend Anne, who was the first of my friendship group to retire, organized a lunch gathering for several of us to celebrate our newfound freedom and compare notes on our new lives. She named the gathering W.O.W. for “We’re Off Work!” and suggested that “It could be a one-time event, or an occasional or regular one. And it could include more folks too if we’re so inclined.”
Four of us gathered at Anne’s for our W.O.W. lunch. Anne has been retired for several years, Judy retired last year, and Sharon and I have just retired this spring. After spending some time catching up with one another’s lives and with some recent events in our friendship group, our discussion turned more explicitly to the topic of retirement and how we want to live our lives in retirement. Judy shared the two rules she has developed for her own retirement living: (1) do no harm and (2) savor. Another important topic of conversation was how to balance responsibility to others with taking advantage of retirement’s freedom. Anne, for example, has a great deal of daily responsibility for a disabled sibling who lives nearby and is looking for resources that would allow her to travel more. We also compared notes on volunteer activities – what we are looking for from these activities and which ones we have tried or are thinking of trying.
I think all of us found this opportunity to compare notes on our experiences of and plans for retirement living enjoyable and helpful. For Sharon and me, it was particularly helpful to hear about Anne’s and Judy’s experiences of retirement. We ended with a loose plan to get together once a month, rotating responsibility for hosting and allowing for the possibility of varying activities (e.g., hiking as well as eating). I thought this group might provide the nucleus for my imagined book club; but that idea wasn’t met with much enthusiasm from the others, so I’ll need to look elsewhere for kindred book club spirits.
I’m looking forward to further activities with and support from my W.O.W. group of retired friends.