Thursday, September 02, 2010

After 4 years of retirement

How time flies – four years have gone by since my early retirement and I’m now 58 years old. Time for another reality check on my retired life.

I wrote a year ago that after 3 years I was finally getting comfortable with retirement. Well, that same trend continues, i.e., after one more year I’m even more at peace with my retired status. Retired life seems ‘normal’ to me now and I have stopped constantly comparing my life with that of my non-retired friends. As a matter of fact, I think I'm leading quite a charmed life. If I could get into a time-machine and go back to the past, I’d probably take early retirement even earlier!

I’m writing this sitting on a ship off Bombay where I’m employed as Chief Engineer by the Shipping Corporation of India and I’m earning not insignificant wages. So am I not being hypocritical calling myself a retired guy?

Consider these facts : I obtained the necessary certification to work in the merchant navy 10 months ago. Since then, I have actually worked on board ships for just 7 weeks. Though it is not unlikely that I might do my ship stints a wee bit more frequently in the future, my basic approach to these stints remains as originally envisaged – one more ‘fun’ activity or hobby to add zing to my retired life.

An important fundamental reality about avoiding boredom in retired life (which I have realized after four long years of experience) is that one needs to have multiple hobbies because pursuit of just one or two hobbies (like golf or travelling or socializing or trekking or long-distance driving or painting) month after month can get monotonous. Hence the need to diversify one’s leisure activities. I thoroughly enjoy working on ships as an engineer and getting paid well for something one enjoys doing is a lucky break but the ‘enjoyment’ part will hold good only if I indulge in this activity once in a while. The moment I start counting the money and spend month after month on ships, ‘fun’ will change to ‘routine grind’ and I will cease to be retired. I don’t foresee that happening anytime soon.