aging · athletes · fitness · training

The retirees’ advantage? Time to train

I’m coming up on that odd stage of life where I am still working furiously and passionately, but other people in my life, friends, and family, not so much. A bunch of people close to me are counting down to retirement or moving to part-time work. I’m super engaged with my work and on balance, I don’t think I’d want what they have.

Different strokes, as they say. Or, you do you.

I love my job but come spring, there are twinges of “their grass is greener.”

Why? More time to ride bikes and to travel. Our recent post on very old cyclists made me smile. I also wished I had time to ride more than 100 miles a week. I do actually but for the Canadian climate and the lack of winter time daylight. I’ve often thought about how nice it would be to go somewhere warm and ride through January-March.

I wrote about this a few years ago in a blog post called, Silver spoons and the advantage of wealth in the context of time to train and youth sports.

‘When my partner Jeff was young he raced small sailboats, lasers, pretty competitively. But he never had a chance against some of his friends who made it all the way. Not for lack of talent. Instead, the dividing line was money. The wealthy kids had all the equipment, of course, but more than that they had time to train.

There was no pressure to work and they could sail all summer. Now that’s just part of the story but it was striking to watch those who never had to work make their way through university, keeping up in their sport along the way. And it’s true for lots of sports. I once complimented my son for making the provincial rugby team. He quickly pointed out that he wasn’t the best, just the best of those kids whose parents could afford the registration fees and commit to all that driving. Smart kid.”

It’s true in youth but it’s also true in midlife. Again, those for whom early retirement or part time work is a choice there are training advantages.

More from the older post:

“We thought that once parents stopped supporting their kids that the playing field would level out a bit. Not so much. I wrote earlier this week about working part-time and early retirement. I approached the question from the perspective of health and overall well-being but you could also ask it from the point of view of sports performance. Each spring I struggle to balance end of term grading with the start of the cycling season. It’s tough. I’ve got a friend who is a tax accountant and she struggles too. Tax time is peak early season training time.

While we struggle, I’ve also got friends who post their “Retired Guys Rides” on Strava and Facebook. They’re time flexible. They can wait for the sunshine and warm weather. They can ride everyday if they want. Sometimes I’m jealous.

Some of these same people also go south in the winter and ride. Why not?”

I’ve been wondering for awhile how much work is healthy. See Working hard or hardly working?

Retirement is associated with all sorts of bad health outcomes. And I think it’s be very bored. Given the number of dependents in my life I can’t afford it either. My favorite? Less work for everyone. I’d love to see the 4 day workweek.

6 thoughts on “The retirees’ advantage? Time to train

  1. Tax accountant friend here. Definitely. So many things to envy at this point in life. I envy the early retirees. I envy the accountants who work for CRA and have an even workload throughout the year. When I was caregiving the last 15 years, I envied those whose caregiving years had ended (yes, that sounds heartless). I envy those whose teenagers seemingly launch and self-actualize without parental support. I envy the stay-at-home moms whose kids have now launched and are able to train 3-4 hours a day for an Ironman. I envy the lifelong single and childfree women who have the freedom to make whatever decisions they want without consulting anyone. HOWEVER, I work really hard to tell that green monster in my head to be quiet and remind myself of all the things I have to be grateful for …. I hardly work at all in the summer, I have a solid longterm marriage to someone who is very easy to get along with, kids who are getting there, etc, etc, etc. There are a couple of career things I would have done differently if I could do it again, but overall I think I would have ended up right where I am now. I too, feel invested in my career with my solo accounting practice and genuinely care about my clients. I really have no idea when I will retire, for that reason.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. OMG so much head nodding. Children who easily launch? Shared jealousy check. Caring for elderly parents when sick? Yep. Life is so hard and complicated but like you I wouldn’t have it any other way!

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  2. As someone who has the real option and privilege of early retirement and even had the option of resigning when my partner retired three years ago, I can tell you that it’s not so easy a decision to make if you enjoy your work. I chose not to do it because I didn’t feel ready. I don’t have the sort of career where you can just leave and then easily return if you change your mind. I love the idea of a four-day work week but have absolutely no idea how I could have my career AND a four-day work week.

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  3. At work, we do have a 4 day work wk. ….vs. a 3 wk. work cycle with 1 day off per cycle. I chose the latter. Right now, the 4 day work wk. is too rigid: I can’t move /swap the fixed day off for another day. Doesn’t yet meet my personal needs.

    I’m with a partner who retired over 16 years ago at 58. Yea, sure I see how richly he uses his time on cycling, solo trips on his own and also intellectual fitness for various passions in cycling advocacy, online accounting for his son’s butcher-sandwich shop.

    For sure, he is fit and still cycling except for a wonky knee (old skiing injury from decades ago) which slows him down at times.

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