Retimement: Are You in Charge of Your Time?
"I'm convinced that time has no existence in the mind at all. We partition time out of necessity….Civilization couldn't function otherwise. But our minds are a swirling mass of images and recollections that are connected, and it's the connections that count." Arthur MillerSo…you are ready to jump into the Big R…gulp…Retirement! I would suggest a different approach and perspective, a different set of connections not usual in our 21st Century society. I offer you RETIMEMENT, instead of retirement."Retirement" is a concept derived from a work ethic spawned by the Industrial Revolution, from back around the 1870's. Most of us are brought up to accept a certain work ethic coming from that era that includes 8 or more hours on the job every day, 40 or more hours a week, for 50 or so weeks every year. Then, we get the opportunity to make up for those 50 weeks with a two-week "vacation." Our time is not in our control; it is controlled externally.The concept of "retirement age" was developed as part of Bismarck's German government plan to financially take care of those who reach a certain age. Supposedly, in the last quarter of 19th century Germany, the economy at that time could only afford to support those 65 or older who would "retire," due to the state of the economy. That standard has held through this day, though there is a movement in the US and in other Western countries to increase the retirement age. Many people are remaining healthy and active into their seventies and beyond.So, after all of those years of work, and if you make it through 60 or 62 or 65 years of work (whatever "retirement" age has been set by the Federal Social Security system for folks born in your birth year,) you "get" to retire. If you have never captured your own time…retimed yourself, then that retirement may come as a huge change and possible let down. And today, with the economy the way it is, many people are thinking about their "time" and how it is "used" in this society. Some people, now jobless, have a lot of time to think, and are experiencing a personal involuntary retirement; I would encourage them to see it as a RETIMEMENT, a time to capture time.Everyone supporting the workaday world loves the retirement arrangement because they profit from it. Allopathic medical practitioners, hospitals, mortuaries, cemeteries, insurance actuaries, retirement fund administrators, and similar industries unwittingly, for the most part, love this way of doing things; it provides their source of personal income. When you retire you become part of the "fix-it" model…or you just go away, making way for others to be fixed.Are you in the grip of the Type A behavior and work mode that could render you unempowered as you move into "Retimement?" Perhaps you could begin to look at life in terms of a "personal domestic product" that has a specific process designed to identify for you certain capacity-building opportunities as you re-claim your time. Ultimately, you might begin to look at a measure of your existence by what I call "Personal Domestic Pleasure." Just think what we would gain by slowing down…taking over time and appreciating the moment, living in the NOW. This would be simplifying life and making each moment and day a joy to experience.October 24 of every year is national "Take Back Your Time Day." That date falls nine weeks before the end of the year, making the point that we Americans now work nine weeks more each year than Western Europeans do. This is a national initiative to draw attention to "time poverty," which is rampant in American culture. It is also a time to invite conversation and reflection about restoring a work and life balance. As Henry David Thoreau said in Walden, reciting a Chinese inscription, "Renew thyself completely each day; do it again, and again, and forever again. The notion of "retimement" is not just for those reaching a certain age, but for everyone who wants to take control of their own time for a simpler, happier existence.