A great dad.

Tomorrow, my dad will retire.

This will be a great day.  He is going out when he wants and, more or less, on his terms.

He passed along a piece of advice to me that he had picked up from a mentor: When it’s time, you’ll know it.  Don’t be noble or stupid.  Go when it’s time.

Pretty good stuff.

My father happens to be a wonderful guy and a great dad.  He is devoted to his job.  Unfortunately, over the past few years, this love has gone unrequited by his employers.  Oh well, their loss.  In their shortsighted and nepotistic manner, they are missing out on something good and true.

My dad is a human resources guy with a V.P. title for an insurance company.  True to his nature, my dad went in on Saturday to take care of some retirees whom he worried would not receive the proper attention once he was gone.  I admire this.  When I was an Army officer, we learned of the value of putting mission over self at the right time.

Running Girl and I are so glad for my parents.  This is very much a happy ending to a good work career.

This is meaningful to R.G.  Her parents died young of debilitating illnesses.  Although they deserved golden years, they did not get them.  We both miss them every day.

April 2006

I had thoughts of early retirement with Running Girl at one time.  Our respective professions allow for such a possibility.  We would tour the west, while working as volunteers at Zion, Glacier, Grand Canyon, Yosemite.

If the law required it, we would buy an R.V. (a small one).  Although aesthetically challenging, that type of conveyance is appropriate for National Parking.  When you’re spending all day in a wide expanse of American beauty, you can put up with a few hours each night of submarine living.

Of course, we could never rent an R.V. now in light of that hilarious Robin Williams film.

The Kay Nou retirement plan has now been altered.  If you can’t figure out why, I’ll give you a few clues:

  1. Think dreadlocks.
  2. Think math (as in, only 4 years old now) — add a factor 18 to any earlier projections.
  3. Think: maybe there are some things in the world that may require our hands, brains and hearts more than Bryce Canyon (e.g., Haiti or work with needy children here in the USA).

Among America-centric types (who constantly believe that we are under attack physically and culturally), there is often the perception that Americans work longer and harder than anyone else in the world.

However, this week in a piece for the New York Times, Nobel-Prize winning economist, Paul Krugman, dispelled that myth.  In Their Own Private Europe, Krugman pointed out that adults in their prime working years are more likely to be employed in Europe than they are in the United States.

The normal retirement age in the U.S. is 67.  In Western Europe, most countries have normal retirement ages in the range of 65 to 67.  In Germany and Norway, it is identical to America’s.  In terms of the early retirement age of 62 in the U.S., it is the same as Europe’s.  Check it out for yourselves.  America does have more people working in the 65 to 69 and 70+ age groups than other countries.

My dad is retiring a few weeks short of his 69th birthday.

Regardless of where one lives, it is a bonus of life in a Westernized society that most people have the expectation (or at least the hope) of having golden years — time devoted to private, non-working pursuits at the end of life.

However, In many places (such as Haiti) people don’t live long enough to have such expectations.  There, even if an adult  (usually a woman) defies the odds and makes to a ripe, old age, it is unlikely that those years will be full of ease.

Everyone should have the right to retire, if they so choose.

Right now, Running Girl and I cannot imagine ever being “retired.”  We will always want to do something.

Nevertheless, let’s hope that we will be wise enough to heed the call of my father’s mentor, and go when it’s time to go.

— The Major


3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Teresa Lancer on January 30, 2011 at 9:30 pm

    Thanks for writing a great blog about your Dad. He is a great guy and he deserves all the recognition and more. All I want is for him to be happy in retirement and life. I’m sure he is not just going to sit around and do nothing. In the 46+ years we have been married I have never even seen him fall asleep watching TV.


  2. Posted by lisa on January 30, 2011 at 9:53 pm

    Nice pictures! I’m glad he’s finally retiring but can’t imagine him sitting still!


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