Writer’s Workshop: A Milestone

I’m approaching an important milestone in my life: in two weeks, I turn 65 years old.

65 is the traditional age for retirement, but they changed the rule back in the ’80’s so that there was no set age for collecting your gold watch, packing up your personal belongings and saying goodbye to all the people you worked with for such a long time.

My grandmother was born in 1900 and retired on her 65th birthday, on Bastille Day 1965. We were at her house and my father suggested that the three of us write a note to her congratulating her on that milestone. Mine initially read "Congratulations on your retirement, Grandma. You deserve it: you’re getting old!" Dad made me rewrite it.

There was a guy at the bank who was getting ready to retire. The asked him what he’d like as a retirement gift, and he said a set of luggage. It arrived about a month before his official separation date, and he started bringing clothes from home, saying he was planning to leave for Florida right after his going-away party, so he was just going to pack there. They gave him a big send-off, even hiring a limo to take him to the airport.

A week later, his wife called and asked "Do you know where my husband is?" Evidently, he ran into an old girlfriend at his high school reunion, the flame was rekindled, and they decided to run off together. I didn’t hear how the story ended…

It’s really kind of an anticlimax for me: I’ve been retired on disability for seven years and on Medicare for five, so I’ve gone through all those "rites of passage." I am already getting disability payments, which I understand will switch over to Social Security payments when I turn 66 ⅓. Still, it’s a psychological thing: I’m getting old…

17 thoughts on “Writer’s Workshop: A Milestone

  1. I had planned my retirement for mid-April 2020 before the pandemic arrived. So I am retired and working part time; in fact I’ve worked some every week since my retirement. It’s all good, though. I’m still here at age 68. Enjoy your 65th.

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  2. I recently turned 70 so I’ve got you beat. But you’re catching up since I’ve decided to stay at my current age for the next couple decades.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

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  3. I don’t think of retirement as getting old. It’s just another chapter in life. I retired at 67, but I would have continued working if my company had not shut down the location. With all the stuff that has been happening, I am grateful I don’t have go to a job.

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    1. I was actually hoping for a job where I would work from home, but there’s still this thing that IT managers have against remote employees. Probably just as well. Time to break out the “second career,” I think they call it. In my case, it’s blogging…

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  4. Wow! Definitely a celebration coming up, John! You will be 65 years young, my friend…the only way to look at it!

    I chuckled when I read about the note to your Grandmother; it reminded me of a comment my Grandson, Matthew, made on my 75th last year….”You’re not like other old people, Grandma. You drive a stick shift, listen to Tom Petty all the time and carry a gun. My friends think you’re pretty cool, not old.” I felt pretty damn honored and put Matt in charge of writing my obituary, hopefully years from now.

    Stay safe!

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  5. I reach full retirement at 67, I think. I plan to work until at least age 70. I want to maximize my Social Security.

    But … I turn 62 next year, meaning I am eligible for early retirement if it becomes necessary. There’s some satisfaction knowing that.

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