This is a real people retirement story about grandparenting and a manager who retired early and found the ideal retirement role as a doting grandfather.
I retired from my work as a manager for a large corporation a year ago.
There were changes coming from high up the corporate hierarchy that were going to put my ethics to the test.
Rather than be party to such measures, I opted to retire early.
It’s a decision I have not regretted in the slightest even as my wife and I have had to make some changes in our lifestyle as a result.
We have six grandchildren under the age of five and there is yet another on the way this summer.
Being able to spend time with each of them without the strictures of a work schedule has been without price. Seeing them learn and grow has flooded me with memories of my own children at those ages.
Rather than being a reminder of my own mortality, their presence fills me with vigor and a zest for this life that my career never did nor could have.
I am aware that many in my generation have spent their working lives dreaming of traveling the world or living some place warm once they retired. All of their retirement savings are earmarked for their own pleasures and enjoyment.
Even if had no grandchildren this would be an anathema to me but seems even more so when I consider what a loss it would be if I had little interaction with my grandchildren because I was gone pursuing my own amusements.
Sitting on a beach somewhere feels like a frivolous activity compared to being a witness to a recent exchange between two of my grandsons.
My grandson, Roland, who is two and a half, went with me to visit my daughter-in-law and her son, James, who is a shade under two years old.
Roland is in the midst of potty training and so we had a practice session at my daughter-in-law’s house. For his efforts, Roland normally receives a small treat so I asked my daughter-in-law for a cookie to give him.
Upon seeing Roland receive this delight, James indicated via vigorous signing that he wanted one as well. (James only says a couple of intelligible words at this time and is still dependent on sign language to convey his wishes.)
As young children (and, sadly, some adults) are wont to do, Roland immediately stuffed the whole cookie into his mouth when he realized that James wanted him to share.
Immediately, James gave Roland a look of pure death and spewed some unintelligible invective that would surely have warranted a stiff punishment had the words been English.
I looked at my daughter-in-law and said, “I think we’re all lucky that we couldn’t understand what he just said.”
While I have procured a job acting as an usher at men’s basketball games at the local university, the pay is almost inconsequential.
The time spent with my grandchildren, while not taxable income, has been the most profitable of any of the ventures I’ve been a part of in my life.
I can’t recommend the experience highly enough!