Opinion: Cashing in too soon?

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For most of us working stiffs, the space between Christmas and New Year’s Day gives a bit of respite. Many companies slow down. Some even pay for a few days at home. And schools, some government offices and others lock up for the entire week or more. We settle in, sleep later, eat extra and, if we are lucky, think less about our many toils. We find ourselves reconnecting with loved ones and dedicating the afternoon to watching every episode of “I Love Lucy” on TV Land.

Still, there are scores of others not quite so lucky. Public safety, health care and retail see no break in the action (newspapers, too). In many cases, they are busier during the holidays than otherwise. The more lax days are lost to these good folks. Most take it all in good stride, having come to understand the cycle of the business and accept that days off will come later.

Today, the United States is experiencing its largest-ever intentional withdrawal of experienced humans from the workforce. Bolstered by strong markets and fleeing from a litany of modern workplace concerns, many — barely past middle-age — are staying home for good. But with life expectancies for many continuing to rise, how long can we expect to enjoy permanent Christmas break? Is 20 years too long? Thirty or 35? There is no allegation of sloth here. No doubt many will find much to occupy the days. But what drives the decision?

Have we become so fatigued day in and day out that we’ll do anything to stop being re-tired – including retiring? Once we’ve slept in, binge-watched TV and visited relatives, do we reconnect with something that looks like a work cadence or simply embrace the unincumbered lifestyle? Will our savings last? Will boredom overwhelm? Someday, it will be fun to find out.


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