The Role of Retired Person II: Some Informal Community Research


October 8, 2014 by Jean

After writing about the role of retiree as an ambiguous one and thinking about the implications of that ambiguity, I’ve found myself wondering if there are areas where we do have clear expectations are about what it means to be retired. As a trained social scientist, my response to this kind of question is to look for relevant data.

I’m hoping for your help in answering this question about our shared social expectations of retirees. Please consider the following two sentence-completion exercises:

  • A retired person should ______________________________.
  • A retired person should not _________________________________.


How would you complete either or both of these sentences? Please send me as many sentence completions as come to mind for you. Don’t worry about how many other people will agree with your responses; it’s really gut reactions that I’m looking for.

You may share your responses either through a comment on this post or (if you prefer that your response be more private) by using the “contact” link at the top of this page. I will summarize all responses in a later post.

Please share this post with others and encourage them to submit their responses. (The more responses we have, the more useful the data will be.)


7 thoughts on “The Role of Retired Person II: Some Informal Community Research

  1. Jean says:

    The first answers that popped into my head when I read the questions were: A retired person should do whatever he or she darn well feels like doing. A retired person should not feel guilty about the choices he or she makes in retirement.

    I’m not saying I live up to those answers—guilt is my middle name—but if I get points for honesty score me 100%.

  2. A retired person should really know and accept what retirement actually is before they decide to do it. It is a lot of unstructured time that needs to be filled with things that will keep you interested and challenged. Easier said than done sometimes. 🙂

    A retired person should not retire unless they have sufficient finances in order to maintain a lifestyle that is comfortable to them. When working there is always a paycheck coming in including performance increases, bonuses, etc. When retired there is a certain amount coming in and then there are savings that are hopefully earning dividends.

    When I was a stay-at-home mom, I had a lot of time for hobbies but not a lot of extra cash. When I was working FT, I had cash for hobbies and no time. Retirement is more like the first. 🙂

  3. Honey Bee says:

    A retired person should live life with relish and discernment, delighting in the gifts of time and freedom and possibility.

    The book The Village Effect by Susan Pinker is most helpful in understanding the role and value of a caring community in the retirement years.

    A retired person should not allow others to usurp the planning, the time, the space, or the energy one has been granted for this new chapter of life.

    Be prepared for surprises of joy and of new adventures. I have never had children, but today I acted as an honourary grandmother for two little school girls. It was a thrilling experience to visit their school.

    I look forward to learning, along with you, about the multiple challenges and satisfactions of retirement living.

  4. Carole says:

    A retired person should seek to achieve inner peace, contentment and happiness. This will mean different things for each person, of course. This can mean serving others, exploring a new hobby, finding new meaning in our life.

    A retired person should not allow negativity to take over their life. This usually suggests that something is out of balance.

    I’m a big believer in the power of the mind to allow us to find “the good life”. So much is related to how we view things. A mental/psychological adjustment can make all the difference in the world.

  5. Been thinking about this and here are my initial thoughts:

    should…plan a bit for retirement and have some ideas of how they will fill their days; have a financial plan for retirement; enjoy their time; view time differently; find their inner happiness and solace; become more connected to what brings them bliss

    should not…..feel obligated or hurried to get things done; let others tell them what to do and when to do it if it is not in alignment with their plans

  6. Diana Studer says:

    Is this a sweeping generalisation They should?
    Or I should?
    Retirees should, put something back into society, keep informed about the world today, keep active busy involved learning.
    Retirees should not be locked in the way things were and battle as society changes around them. It’s going to be a long haul, or not, who knows.
    I have climbed over my resistance and got my first ever silly phone – which is taking better pictures than my camera does.

  7. Jean says:

    Thank you all for these responses. I am also collecting responses through other channels until mid-November. Then I will analyze them to look for common themes and consider what it all means. I will probably post on this again in December.

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I am Jean Potuchek, a professional sociologist who has just stepped into the next phase of my life, retirement, after more than thirty years of college teaching. This blog is about my experience of that new phase of life.

Please join me as I step into my future.

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