Post Retirement Blues Life after retirement is much more complex than we think. We like to imagine that retirement is the beginning of a new, more relaxed life. When the realities of that life begin to unfold one begins to wonder if working life wasn't far better. Retirement is generally referred to as retiring from our employment with public or private sector organizations. Most of us plan for retirement as we know the date well in advance. Most of the companies retire their employees between the age of 60 and 65. Some of us have to take up some gainful employment to supplement our meager income and live a slightly more comfortable life. For some it is a great relief. Having worked for almost 40 to 45 years, a major part of life, it is always a welcome relief. Particularly if your children are well settled in life, you have a roof over the head and most importantly have enough savings to carry through for the rest of your life. Such people have lot of post retirement plans. It’s like trying to live life once again from the start. With a feeling of leaving your most productive years behind but full of dreams for the future, you start packing up your personal belongings. 1. You are not indispensable: Finally the D Day arrives. A grand party is thrown. Colleagues shower you with gifts and praises. Some even go to the extent of suggesting that the company or the concerned department will never be the same anymore and you will be missed very much. This fuels the ego further and one revels in feeling how indispensable he is. There is no wonder that some even make discrete enquiries to find out how bad the situation is after he left. Some even visit their old office only to find out if all is well. The illusion dies when one is told that not only the company is doing well but doing better and the junior is occupying the coveted seat. End of myth number one that you are indespensible. 2. Guest of two days: The working days were quite hectic and the official work kept you too busy to have time for anything else. The friends and relatives kept urging you to spend time with them and relax. Now is the time to make amends. You are a free bird now and not a prisoner of schedules and official commitments. The first port of call will be the all welcoming friend in that beautiful hill station. You give him a call more as matter of formality than anything else and convey your intentions to spend some time with them. After a few hmms the other side shows the welcome flag and you are on your way. The first day is eventful as nostalgia takes over everything else. The second day is slightly boring as all has been said and shared. The third day starts with the friend and his better half getting themselves busy in their daily routine. You feel like you have overstayed your welcome. You talk to your better half and decide to return. In the evening you express you desire and after a few hmms and oofs they urge you to come sometime again when they are more free to spend ‘quality time’ together. You start packing.. , end of myth number one. End of myth number one that your friends or relatives have been missing you and will insist to stay longer. NO more experimentation. Good sense prevails and you decide to visit other dream destinations and make arrangements for your stay. At best you will call your friends or relatives in such towns and if they insist drop in for some tea and snacks politely saying your schedule is too tight for anything more. 3.Traveling is expensive and full of hassles; You had always wanted to visit religious places, the ‘Thirthas’ (Seats of our great religious icons) the ‘Dhams’ (Seats of Gods and Goddesses) temples, historical places, beaches, hill stations which you had no time to visit during your working days. Your wife had always been complaining about it. You decide on a religious pilgrimage. You book your train tickets well in advance, take help of the travel agent to book your hotel accommodation and everything seems to be perfect. On the appointed day you resume your journey and land at the hotel booked by the travel agent. The facilities are nowhere near the promises. The food is horrible. The temple is too crowded. There are touts offering to help you for a price. You somehow manage to pay your respects and return to your hotel. You remember the working days when you traveled by air or first class on trains and had never to worry about accommodation as the company booked you in the best hotels. You were on expense account and not counting your pennies. This is the end of the third myth that you would have a wonderful time while on your own. You home is the best place on earth. 4. Your ‘enough’ savings are not enough indeed: Prices are rising. Interest on your deposits is decreasing. Your part time maid servant is asking for a hefty raise. The driver is dropping hints on how much other drivers are earning. Your wife is complaining of how her budget is going tipsy- turvy. Children keep making subtle offers financial help but you don’t want to seem dependent or needy. Visits to the theatre are rare now. Forget about those fancy restaurants and shopping malls. Anyway, outside food does not suit your appetite and your closets are already bursting with more clothes than you need. You do not go out so often any more. The driver can be dispensed with. What is the use of keeping a car too? Whenever required, you can always hire a taxi. Medicals bills are increasing. Every time you visit your family doctor he prescribes one more expensive medicine. Insurance companies are no more interested in you. End of myth number four that you have a healthy retirement fund to take care of everything. 5. Your children need you: Your children want you to spend some time with them as they no more are in a position to visit so often due to office work or children’s school. You find logic in it and decide to spend a few months each turn by turn with your two sons their wives and your four grand children. So the summer is spent with the son living in USA and winter with the son living in a coastal city in India. This will save you from the heat and cold of the North. USA is a great country. Your son and daughter-in-law love you and make sure that you are comfortable. Your grand children love to play with you. The only thing disturbing you is that you have to be your own in the house when your son and daughter-in-law are away for most of the day at work and the grand children at school. It feels so lonely. Next time it will be for not more than one month during the grandchildren’s school holidays. You expect staying with other son will not be as lonely as in your own country you are not a stranger. Come winter you are in that beautiful costal city. Your son and daughter-in-law and grandchildren are equally busy in their work and school and have all the love and respect for you but not time. Here also one month is enough during the winter vacations of grand children. End of myth number five that you can live with your children for as long as you want. 6. Get engaged in social activities: This was in mind at the time of retirement. You wanted to give back to the society. In addition there are many self help books to guide how to utilize time in social service. There are may other ways to stay busy, they say. It does work but then after a while, it looks all meaningless or does not suit to your temperament. End of myth number six, giving back is not that easy. 7. Time for old age home? It’s time to shift to old age home. It is now difficult for your better half to manage the household. She needs to retire too. You rent a room in one of the upscale old age home for trial living. All looks fine. After a month of so, you get discouraged by the wheel chairs and the thought that one day you may land up in similar wheelchair.