Well, its a little new-agey (and maybe a bit borrowed from Masolw) but I like an idea of the Be-Do Have hierarchy. In life most people and virtually all financial issues are* “have” based. And we do need to have things like food and shelter and more. After this material level people focus on what they “do”, it is commonly a job or career although there may be social positions that could apply. The question often thrown around this board “What do you do all day?” applies.
But under this model, we are ultimately about what we “are”. I was think about the recent new poster (TheRev) who was (is) a minister. I think this is often not more of what a person “is” than what they do. My wife is this way, she really “is” a teacher, whether paid or volunteer. I like my job but my identity is not tied up in it the way hers is. And I don’t mean this in a bad way for her or me. I look at retirement as a time when we can “be” who we are and do whatever we want that reflects that. For some folks like TheRev it may be as busy doing the same stuff as working life was. Maybe ideally ones employment would support who we are but in retirement it seems more natural that it would.
It seems to me that unless one has a particularly satisfying work life, that not retiring indicates serious issues at the “being” level. I think a lot of us learn early enough that material things do not make us happy. And work, unless it brings inner satisfaction, well, doesn't make us happy. (The common comment that “no one dies regretting not having spent more time at the office”.) So that leaves “being”.
I think that one of the reason this web board is so successful is that the folks here are really “alive” and people facing retirement are even more interested in that than number crunching.
Old men ought to be explorers