Ray McCabe’s thoughts on Retirement in Africa

Some Thoughts on Retirement

by Ramon McCabe

These days in Musoma it is not only the scarcity of men but also the aging and retiring of those few we have left that we encounter all the time.

An old missioner once said: “Old age is not a privilege; it’s a burden.” I find it interesting how people ask so many questions of a person recently retired. My own answers vary according to who asked and why. Here are some examples of questions asked and some answers and comments.

“What work do you do now that you are retired?”

I have at least three answers to this question:

  1. Actually I’m unemployed at this moment.

  2. I’m just part-time now wherever anyone needs me.

  3. I volunteer to help as a replacement. I used to do the work of two people but now I do the work of only one.

Some people are very curious, especially about priests, another question often asked is “Why did you retire?”

The answer I give is one of many:

  1. I need a long rest.

  2. I’m getting old and bothered much with aches and pains.

  3. I felt I needed a period of discernment.

  4. I’m taking a sort of informal sabbatical.

  5. I have a lazy streak and I’ve always kept an eye out for a chance to loaf.

When asked whether retirees enjoy their retirement most say they do. I think many say so because that’s what they hear from others and don’t want to be called “grumpy old men.”

Retiring is usually not traumatic for most people, but some have trouble adjusting. Some wait too long to do it. Others are forced to retire by a sudden illness or accident or lose their jobs prematurely. God bless those who help in the transition.

“How old is old”? I used to define old age as a certain number of years, but kept increasing that number as I got older. In recent years, I came up with a new definition. One is old when on most days he begins to feel tired even though he has not yet done anything! People tend to judge you as old when you use such words as fetch, Holy Ghost, and icebox. When you reminisce about Fred Allen, Gabby Hayes and W.C. Fields or refer to the WPA and the CCC, or when you play the songs of Kate Smith or Bing Crosby on your Victrola!!

Everyone says, “You’re only as old as you feel.” That may be true. The truth is that life has its milestones which we should respect. Retirement does not mean giving up or shutting down. it means change. It can be the beginning of something wonderful. It is not the end of the road, but may be a chance to follow “the road less traveled by.”

Congratulations to all our retirees!