Where did the phrase ‘bucket list’ come from? I don’t mean the phrase itself because presumably, it comes from ‘kicking the bucket’ I mean how it just seemed to suddenly appear a few years ago and now everyone knows what it is. Was there a change in the way we see the world that suddenly we all needed to have important personal goals? Well, whatever the reason for it, I think it’s an excellent idea. The notion of writing out a list of things you want to do, see, achieve, or whatever, while you still have time is simply wonderful.
Almost from the start of our working lives, we begin to think about retirement. This a very sensible thing, we should all be considering our pensions for example, and, of course, if you are in business you will need to be, or should already be, taking part in auto-enrolment. Financially we all need to be looking ahead. However, I wonder if the word retirement has the same meaning that it used to. When I was young, I think I honestly believed that people finished their working lives and then just sort of sat in a chair for the rest of their retirement. If they were of an adventurous nature, then they would occasionally risk an off-season caravanning holiday. As a child, I genuinely thought that was what it was all about.
Personally, I have absolutely no intention of ever retiring. I mean to say that obviously, at some point, I will give up working full time, but I will not retire. No, way, not a chance, not going to happen. I have far too much I want to do and see, and some of those things will just be a lot easier when I have more free time to do them. At the moment I have a great job which I love doing, and I am happy, as long as there is a good work-life balance, to make it my focus. Once that is no longer the case, though, I have a long list of things I could do.
For a lot of people, of course, retirement is just another word for career change. Walk around a food festival, visit a craft fair or similar and I guarantee you will see some officially ‘retired’ people doing something they have loved doing for many years as a retirement job. The freedom offered by a pension and the release from full-time work can be a jumping off point into a whole new way of life.
These days we not only live longer but we live healthier lives as well. With careful planning, a good retirement scheme and a little extra care for our health, many of us will look forward to a decade or more of adventures and new experiences after we stop work.
Perhaps then we need to stop using the word ‘retire’ altogether. I think it has far too much baggage with it about pottering down the shops and knitting cardigans for the grandkids on the Bournemouth seafront.
Not, I hasten to add, that there is anything wrong with eventually settling into a good old knitting, tea drinking retirement phase in life, but it certainly isn’t what many people now do after they finish work.
Perhaps we should drop retirement as a word then and use a new one for that phase in our lives. How about ‘opportunityment’ or ‘funphase’ instead? Let’s face it, far from retiring, for the bucket list generation, the end of work is actually the beginning of a fun and exciting new life.