Approximately 29 months ago, give or take, a few days; I officially retired after almost 44 years as a member of America’s labor force.  At the time, I felt fortunate that I could quit working at a job, outside of the home, primarily because my loving wife was still working, bring in an income, and I would even tell people that she was my long-term retirement plan.

Occasionally over the ensuing 29 months, I would periodically run into former co-workers and usually some of the first words out of their collective mouths would be “what are you doing for work?”  This always catches me off guard a little because we both know that we are supposed to be retired, but almost all of them have some kind of part-time job outside of the home.  I guess that I am the lucky one because I can stay at home, but the looks of shock and horror are a little upsetting when I tell them that I work at home.  It is as if, I committed some ungodly crime by not remaining employed in this nation’s workforce.

I get even weirder looks when I tell them that “I work around the house,” or worse yet, when I tell them that I write a weekday blog.  Their eyes roll in their heads and they either do not say anything or they say, “That’s nice” and then hastily say, “well I have to go” and “it was nice seeing you.”  And as their disappearing around the next aisle, I am often struck with the feelings that I must have some infectious disease and they need to get away from me in a hurry, before they catch whatever I have.

For most people, there is a perception that if you work around the house…then you are not “really” working.  I find that I am often times very busy and especially during those periods of the year when it is not winter in North Dakota.  If I am not working in the yard or working on projects maintaining the upkeep of the house, then I am often times doing housework.  Since my lovely, wife continues to work outside the home; I think that it is only fair that I attempt to aid her by cleaning the house, doing dishes, doing laundry, and keeping up minor repairs.  I even do some of the cooking.  I also do most of the shopping and other errands during the week days and that can means trips to the mall, hardware store, the bank, the dry cleaners, the post office, and the grocery store.  My wife even tells people that she has a “personal shopper.”

Not to say that there are not positives.  I often get compliments from my neighbors about my yard and I am able to keep my driveway clear of accumulating snow, and my wife enjoys having fresh linen on the bed every three or four days…so, not everything is bad.  But, there persists a perception that you are only contributing to society if you are somehow gainfully employed.

The true shame of this nation is that for many of us “seniors,” they have to continue to work in order to pay for medical coverage.  That is also why many people continue to work…well past retirement age.  So, yes; you can count me as one of the lucky ones, but that does not mean that I am somehow, no longer working.

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