Retirement is a paradox of conflicting expectations.
A friend of mine was retiring, and I was envious. Then he called. “What am I going to do now?” my friend asked.
“What do you mean? You can do anything you want,” I answered.
“Yes,” he sighed, sounding as if he was going to a funeral, “but what am I going to do?”
This is a question all of us have probably contemplated as the miles have rolled away into the distance. We all look forward to our dream of having the time we missed with family and friends while putting in all those long hauls that somehow turned into long years. We dream of the time to do all those projects that were put off or canceled “until I have the time.”
Time is the most precious asset we have, but what do we do with all that time once we hang up the keys?
In many ways truckers are no different from most retirees, but we have a particular sentimentality for having been “out there.” The scenery. The people. The challenges. The tires singing about the freedom of the road.
Depending on one’s individual situation, retiring is an opportunity to expand on ones’ home life and do those things you’ve always liked but couldn’t do as often as you wanted. Like ball games. Coach a local youth ball team, or join a team of your peers. One would be surprised how many recreational activities are available.
One retiree told me, “Fun isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.” Just about anything can get boring after a while. So there is a lot to be said for having a rewarding retirement.
Many join others of their age, gender or interests to participate in rewarding activities involving volunteer work. Local charities are always looking for people to help. Habitat for Humanity and Goodwill Industries are examples for someone wanting that hands-on working experience.
If you are a people person, chatting with and helping the aged and the disabled can be very humbling and rewarding.
There are many worthwhile endeavors for which the Veterans Administration facilities are in need of volunteers. It doesn’t matter if you are a veteran or not.
Using one’s professional experience – like driving passenger vans and school or church buses – is always rewarding and much appreciated. Good professional drivers are always needed, and it doesn’t require a lot of your time. Many of these jobs can even become paying jobs that add a little more to your retirement budget.
I can remember a time when my truck was paid for and I intended to hang around home more waiting for a better load. When the spouse is used to running things her own way, one can sometimes seem to be in the way. I always knew it was time to go when my wife asked, “You got a load yet?”
When the prospect of never having to look for any more loads arrives, everyone concerned needs to learn to adjust to the new situation. Hopefully, for the good of all. Let’s face it: family, friends and neighbors are not going to want to eat fresh fish every day.
I’ve met drivers who just could not handle retirement. Unbelievably, they actually got a divorce, a new truck, a new wife and started a new family all over again. But even the diehards have to quit some time. Some like to remain around trucking and take jobs such as teaching at a driving school. Some don’t ever want to see a truck again.
We all have to pay taxes and die. We also have to retire, which I hope is much more rewarding than the other two. LL
Editor’s note: Life Member William “Bill” Boyd began trucking in 1972. A resident of Mount Pleasant, SC, he has been a member of OOIDA since 1983. He served on the Association’s Board of Directors as an alternate from 2002-2003 and was elected to a full board seat in 2003.