A good friend told me about a coworker at my last company who passed on.  His name was Ralph and I enjoyed his personality and working with him a good deal.  He was practical and knowledgeable about what he did.  He was sometime surly, but basically everyone in that business was and it was understandable.  Ralph was about two months away from retiring–he had worked a solid 25+ years at the company and was just about to ride off into the sunset.  It sounds as though Ralph had a heart attack and passed away in his home.

I hope that Ralph’s family is doing alright, its very hard to lose anyone close in your life.  I also hope they realize that he was loved at the company and valued.  On a personal level it’s tough for me to see people pass on in general, but especially someone like Ralph who worked hard and was just about to start enjoying his retirement.  I know he cared about his family and had plans to do lots of things with friends afterward, so it makes me sad to hear it happened so fast.

A few things come to mind in light of this circumstance:

  • You really never know when you’re going to go – it’s important to live your life in a way that you can be proud of in the case of the unexpected
  • Planning for these events is critical, making sure your family is taken care of or at least has clear direction on what to do if you were to pass on is important regardless of age
  • Retirement sooner than later is probably a good strategy – I truly love working and building things with teams, but it’s not my sole purpose; it seems like the going trend is leaning toward later retirement for folks due to factors like volatility of social security, planning is key to avoiding that if you choose
  • Retirement doesn’t necessarily mean quitting work entirely, but picking and choosing where and when you do

Those last two points are something to consider and develop a working plan for.  What would it take to retire?  How much would you need on an ongoing basis, including insurance for healthcare and any other particular needs you have?  What would you actually do with your time?

After a certain amount of time, sitting around with nothing to do is it’s own special type of hell.  I can’t stand it.  I HAVE to do stuff or mentally get frustrated.  Those things may be reading a book, exercise, writing, or any other set of leisurely activities.  However sitting in front of a television set for hours at a time being broadcast to is not part of it.  Planning that out is not a bad idea–I’ve heard of many people simply growing bored and becoming malcontent in retirement due to lack of activity.

Yesterday was a sad day for this reason, and a stark reminder of how brief a time we have here.  RIP RVH.