If you’re thinking about when to retire you should quit thinking and start partying like it’s 1999, back when you were younger, smarter and better looking.
Putting off retirement because your Social Security check will fetch more if you wait until you’re 72 means you’re looking down the wrong end of the rifle barrel.
Jump. Your check will be a bit lighter but you’ll be a lot younger when you get it. You can always recycle aluminum cans or sell your wife’s car if you can’t afford good liquor.
I feared an endless assembly line of misery: mentoring children or volunteering at the library or going to the senior center to play hopscotch and eat soggy greenbeans. It’s better than that.
When you’re retired you can start drinking as early as you want and your boss won’t say a thing. You don’t have to not get things done until the weekend because you can just not do them period. Was that a sentence?
Retire now. Stay home. Get a hammock and check things from a list:
1) Sell your lawnmower. Tell people it’s eco-something or other, and to prove you’re serious sell your garden hose. Feel the burn! Embrace the drought!
2) Sell your car. You’ll save money on fuel, car payments, insurance, registration and repairs.
3) Better yet, sell your wife’s car and hide the keys to your own.
4) Burn down the garage. All you’ll lose are heaps of rubbish accumulated during the last half century. Do it right and you’ll get insurance money for those autographed first edition collectible books you had stored out there, and the yacht and the gold ingots and the Rolls Royce. NOTE: Do not discuss this plan with your insurance agent until after you talk with your lawyer.
5) Throw away all your clothes except the ones you’re wearing and whatever’s in the laundry basket.
6) With no clothes in your closet there’s no reason to keep a washer- dryer. Hello eBay.
7) Attend a lot of funerals and memorial services. They’re free, plus you can pick up tips on how to run a funeral in case your wife dies first. Afterward there’s free food and single women.
8) Get a dog. You’ll need companionship once your wife finds out you sold her car.
9) Whenever you meet new people be sure to spend a long time boring them with stories about how busy you are. Provide details about all the hours you volunteer at the library, mentor children, pick up relatives at SFO, etc. This will eliminate anyone thinking you might be available to help them make a dump run, clean their garage or pick them up at SFO.
10) Fill out whatever Publisher’s Clearinghouse sends you.
11) Forget Bucket List rubbish. Nothing’s more pathetic than frail baby boomers hobbling around Machu Picchu or having their picture taken at Wrigley Field. Life ain’t a checklist. If you’re worried that friends will review your thin list of accomplishments (visited Poe’s grave at midnight, got Joe Montana’s autograph) you’re better off dead.
12) Don’t bother keeping up with technology because you can’t. And who cares? It’s like trying to keep up with pop music. You spend money and time on new music and for what? Headphones vomiting (c)rap into your ears. Same with increasingly difficult techno advances providing ever-diminishing satisfaction.
13) Make sure when you die they don’t stage one of those rummy Celebration of Life events. Demand a somber funeral with mourners who aren’t wearing flip-flops and Hawaiian shirts. Rent Hollywood starlet lookalikes to weep and hurl themselves atop your casket as it’s wheeled out by guys wearing black suits. Pipe in Brahms. Have a dignified gent read from the Old Testament, throwing in some Latin.
14) Most of all quit worrying about whether you’ll be bored. Of course you will. But don’t fall for silly magazine articles telling you to Make the Most of your Golden Years! They’ll have you playing shuffleboard in Florida, learning French and attending singalongs in the music room on Thursday afternoons.
Please tell me you don’t want to spend the last 600 Thursdays of your life singing Blowin’ in the Wind while standing in a circle holding each other’s warty hands.
Time’s running out. Have fun.
(TWK is an imaginary byline dreamed up a long time ago by Tom Hine when he began writing in the old Mendocino Grapevine.)