Retirement As I See It
Sai Tsang Lee '58

Congratulations, Rev. Cannon Kenneth Fung, our classmate, friend and spiritual leader, on your retirement. From the turnout at your retirement party, your achievement is beyond compare. I wish you a happy retirement and hope the next chapter of your life will be as fruitful and enjoyable as the first.

When did I start thinking about retirement? I see co-workers older than I start disappearing. People put colored stickers all over their monitors and on the wall. I realize I am doing the same, making :things-to-do; lists, writing down appointments, telephone numbers. My memory is deserting me. It takes me longer to recover from any injury, I am trying harder but with fewer results. My personal best is a thing of the past. Then I told myself: it is time for a change. It is time to retire.

What am I going to do with all the time I have on hand? I don・t want to sleep in every morning. I don・t want to find a part-time job, getting back into the same routine, from which I have just escaped. What is my financial situation, now that my income is going to be reduced by half if not more? After considering the pros and cons, I decided to retire.

Now that I am alone in the house, with my wife still working, I realize self-control and discipline is essential, without which I will become a couch potato, sitting in front of the television, watching a Korean lady doctor performing medical wonders. There are good days and bad. Some days I really don・t like getting up, but I force myself to do so by taking my wife to the subway station. This way, I do not waste any time during the day. Now that summer is here, there are always things to do in the garden or around the house.

Financial planning takes a little longer with me. Not being a financial wizard, I do not feel comfortable unless I know what is coming in and what is going out. After retiring for a year, I know exactly how much I・m getting and plan my spending accordingly. There are lots of things to know, such as how to withdraw my RRSP and how to plan my RIF. I have my will and power of attorney all prepared, so I have nothing to worry about, financially at least.

One of the important things they teach us in retirement seminars is to keep the family together. It is reported that, statistically, after retirement, there are more chances a marriage may end up in separation or divorce. With both partners staying at home, there will be more chance for disagreement and argument. This is the time for patience, understanding and forgiveness. My father retired at the young age of 55. He had no hobbies, no special interest and worked until his last day. My mother :retired; only when my father died. Aside from a few complaints, she seems happy. However, time has changed. Nowadays couples have their own careers, friends, cars and bank accounts. Everything a couple should share we do not. I guess it is easier for us to separate when we cannot stand each other anymore. Enough of this modern life style: I am supposed to be writing about retirement.

Someone once told me that life was like a roll of toilet paper. The closer it is to the end, the faster it runs. I wish everyone who is in the latter half of your life like me to enjoy it, especially with your spouse. Do the things you have always dream of doing. Visit places you have never been before. We have paid our dues. We should relax and enjoy ourselves. To those who have retired or are going to retire, have a good one.