A Reflection on “Retirement” By Resident Martha Stewart Smith

Ninety Four year old Collington Resident Martha Smith penned this Reflection on Retirement.  Thanks to Dorothy Yuan for facilitating its appearance here.

What did I imagine was the meaning of retirement? I found (in my stash of old papers!) a definition from an old Webster’s Dictionary. To retire is “to withdraw from action or danger; to retreat; to betake oneself for the sake of seclusion, as to retire from the world or to one’s home; to disappear; to vanish; to move back or away, or seem to do so; to withdraw from office or a public station, as having made a large fortune he retired.”

Now I said this came from an OLD dictionary. It seems to me retirement to Collington has a different explanation. We haven’t been able to betake ourselves for the sake of seclusion. Not when we have friendly neighbors who ring the doorbell and drop by for a daily chat. Invariably the phone rings from a child or grandchild to interrupt the visit, inquiring of our exciting day.

How can we vanish or disappear? Our treks down the long corridor for dinner or to the fitness center, to classes or lectures are when other residents are venturing out at the same time. We might sneak out if we chose to walk down the halls after nine o’clock at night when everyone else is watching his favorite TV program or snoozing with a book in his lap.

In daytime those fortunate (or unfortunate) residents who have windows overlooking the parking lot would be sure to notice that bent over old woman out on her own. If she had a dog and stopped to pick up the dog’s droppings she would be safe. And those dedicated flower arrangers have a reason to be out when clipping vines for the flower room.

Where would you disappear? Not past that keeper at the gate. The Weed Warriors have cleared the paths so it wouldn’t be easy to hide. If you did happen to stumble, security would be chasing you down, especially if your Sara sounded the alarm.

Why would one want to return to the place she left? We loved our big home in Virginia but I certainly don’t regret leaving all the stairs which once kept me active, nor the grocery shopping, meal making and housekeeping. So I’m content with retirement at Collington. With the conveniences and quantity of irresistible food I may outlive the expected longevity.

I’m not sure I“retired” until I moved in to my second floor apartment “with all the windows”overlooking the Lake. I’m really not alone. The neighbors on this Corridor are the best.

That part of “having made a large fortune” to retire was not true for me. The good fortune is finding this community of wonderful caring people who have experienced a variety of lifestyles and professions.

Thanks.  Good thoughts to inform our strategic planning.  This site welcomes additional such reflections.