Retirement is not a Full Stop

People expect those ‘hanging up their boots’ to take up other fulfilling tasks

“What do you intend to do after retirement,” is a question that those who are about to “hang up their boots” frequently face. It has an underlying expectation and assumption. An expectation borne out of the fact that having put in long years of service, one will not settle down in some corner and admire the fascinating marvels of Nature, however enchanting they are. And the assumption is, of course, in getting to do something or the other.

The question often elicits two types of answers. “Look, I have put in enough years of service, and now it is time for me to put my feet up, relax, listen to music, do some reading or simply admire the beauty of Nature,” is one. The other is, “I haven’t decided … let us see.” The second “non-committal” group wants to keep its options open, though some might end up doing just what those in the first category would do.

Usual palaver

The first few months were taken up in relocating myself, settling down, getting the papers and documents sorted out, and attending to the usual challenges of readjusting in an ecosystem for long forgotten in my long years spent abroad in the Indian Foreign Service. A couple of months after my retirement, I penned my thoughts on the country I had just returned from. Someone advised me to have the same shared with a publication, which I did. And from the time I saw the piece published, I got a “leg-up” and have since been doing some writing.

And with this newly discovered interest and a reasonable “strike rate” (of publication), I not only answered the question “What after retirement?” but also find enough time to keep making forays into the first category, too, enjoying the best of both worlds.

This article was initially published in The Hindu. The views expressed are personal. For Feedback, reach out to the author at

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