Hungry for the Sweet Pineapple of Retirement
Sitting behind the desk in my bland office. Dreaming of retirement. Endless sunny days crisscrossing the Caribbean in our 41-foot Irwin ketch. Adventurous nights caught in a cacophony of winds and rain that catapult the boat like a hungry dragon mouthing its prey.
Beyond quitting work (how hard can THAT be?) and moving to the next phase of our lives, my husband and I consciously remember to manage our expectations, knowing that crystal turquoise ocean sailing can also slump you into a lonely (tropical) depression of boredom and isolation.
We get that retirement won’t be all fruity rum drinks or nights on the dock laughing at shanty tales with fellow expats. We’ve lived that life—almost four years on our sailboat off Andros Island, Bahamas, where we worked on a little-known US Navy base that eavesdropped on undersea submarine sonar sounds.
We know that it CAN be hours slathering sunscreen, glistening with sweat and sandy toes as waves quietly lap the shore. Unlimited time for reading and napping. Exciting to welcome fellow travelers as their vessels sidle up and we catch their line. Fresh tuna caught and sliced on a wet, rickety table and immediately drizzled with soy and wasabi. Meeting the locals and peeking into their culture. We must remind ourselves of the frustration of overseas bureaucracies where nothing happens quickly because island time cares not for our internal American clock. We get that.
Yet it must be better than this 8 to 5 routine where each morning I hear a colleague two cubicles down grousing that she’s not paid enough, and that some other supervisor has fewer responsibilities. (Sometimes she repeatedly crows that one line from a Tracey Chapman song, “Give me one reason to stay here…”)
Alas, for the unforeseeable future I’ll be staring at a computer, sitting in meetings, and toiling away for the “man” (or so suggests my retirement financial planner.)
But today I can almost smell the coconut oil. I can almost swallow the sweet pineapple that messily juices down my chin, drying on my sea salty skin. Parrots chatter in the mangroves, (interrupted only by my griping cubicle neighbor.)
My heart beats like a steel drum in anticipation.
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