The Quote Garden
 “I dig old books.”
 Est. 1998




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Quotations about Retiring &
Wishes for a Happy Retirement


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Retired is being tired twice, I've thought:
First tired of working, then tired of not.
~Richard Armour, Going Like Sixty: A Lighthearted Look at the Later Years, 1976


Retirement: That's when you return from work one day and say, "Hi, Honey, I'm home — forever." ~Gene Perret


Retirement is having nothing to do and someone always keeping you from it. ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com


From all his wearisome engagements freed,
Shakes hands with bus'ness, and retires indeed...
~William Cowper (1731–1800), "Retirement"


The trouble with retirement is that you never get a day off. ~Abe Lemons, unverified


I'm retired — goodbye tension, hello pension! ~Author unknown


There is some chance of my retiring... And yet, though I thought such a proposal when first made was like a Pisgah peep of Paradise, I cannot help being a little afraid of changing the habits of a long life all of a sudden and for ever... ~Walter Scott, 1830


O blest retirement, friend to life's decline,
Retreats from care that never must be mine;
How blest is he who crowns, in shades like these,
A youth of labour with an age of ease...
~Oliver Goldsmith (1730–1774)


Have you ever been out for a late autumn walk in the closing part of the afternoon, and suddenly looked up to realize that the leaves have practically all gone? You hadn't realized it. And you notice that the sun has set already, the day gone before you knew it — and with that a cold wind blows across the landscape. That's retirement. ~Stephen Leacock


Life begins at retirement. ~Author unknown


Hackney'd in business, wearied at the oar...
All wish, or seem to wish they could forego...
Pants for the refuge of some rural shade,
With all their long anxieties forgot
Amid the charms of a sequester'd spot...
~William Cowper (1731–1800), "Retirement"  [A little altered, and yes — literary apologies! — I decontext'd a verb and noun'd it for humorous effect. —tg]


I'm quitting to pursue my dream of not working here. ~Author unknown


O, now, for ever
Farewell... Othello's occupation's gone!
~William Shakespeare, Othello, c.1604  [III, 3]


If he is wise, the retired man will immediately try to interest himself in public duties. This, of course, embraces good work in his immediate neighborhood. When he places his accumulated experience and ability at the disposal of his fellow-man he serves himself at the same time. ~Andrew Carnegie (1835–1919)  [a little altered —tg]


Retirement:  World's longest coffee break. ~Author unknown



...in his arduous enterprize to close
His active years with indolent repose...
~William Cowper (1731–1800), "Retirement"


Retirement is wonderful. It's doing nothing without worrying about getting caught at it. ~Gene Perret


Don't retire… aspire!... Retirement does not mean that you are all through. It means that you have experienced a breakthrough to a new freedom, with the time to do the things you've always wanted to do. Aspire to make the most of each new day... Aspire to serve... Aspire to discover the greatness within yourself that you've never had the time to develop... Aspire to attain an awareness of the joy of living. Celebrate life! ~Wilferd A. Peterson, "The Art of Retirement"


Jack bow'd and was oblig'd—confess'd 'twas strange
That so retir'd he should not wish a change,
But knew no medium between guzzling beer,
And his old stint, three thousand pounds a year.
Thus some retire to nourish hopeless woe,
Some seeking happiness not found below,
Some to comply with humour, and a mind
To social scenes by nature disinclin'd,
Some sway'd by fashion, some by deep disgust,
Some self-improv'rish'd, and because they must;
But few that court Retirement, are aware
Of half the toils they must encounter there...
~William Cowper (1731–1800), "Retirement"


Bildad... had concluded his adventurous career by wholly retiring from active life at the goodly age of sixty, and dedicating his remaining days to the quiet receiving of his well-earned income. ~Herman Melville, Moby Dick


'Tis easy to resign a toilsome place,
But not to manage leisure with a grace;
Absence of occupation is not rest,
A mind quite vacant is a mind distress'd...
He proves less happy than his favour'd brute,
A life of ease a difficult pursuit...
~William Cowper (1731–1800), "Retirement"


Most people who are retired can tell you, the big problem is to spend a lot of time without spending a lot of money. ~Arnold H. Glasow (1905–1999)


Retirement is like a long vacation in Vegas. The goal is to enjoy these years to the fullest, but not so fully that you run out of money. ~Jonathan Clements, "Playing the Right Cards For a Long Retirement," The Wall Street Journal, November 1999


There's never enough time to do all the nothing you want. ~Bill Watterson, Calvin and Hobbes (comic strip), 1988


      Some talked of the right of society to the labour of individuals, and considered retirement as a desertion of duty. Others readily allowed, that there was a time when the claims of the public were satisfied, and when a man might properly sequester himself, to review his life, and purify his heart.
      One, who appeared more affected with the narrative than the rest, thought it likely that the hermit would, in a few years, go back to his retreat, and, perhaps if shame did not restrain, or death intercept him, return once more from his retreat into the world... ~Samuel Johnson, The History of Rasselas, Prince of Abyssinia


Nor these alone prefer a life recluse,
Who seek retirement for its proper use,
The love of change that lives in every breast,
Genius, and temper, and desire of rest...
~William Cowper (1731–1800), "Retirement"


Rose with the odd consciousness of being free of my daily task. I have heard that the fish-women go to church of a Sunday with their creels new washed, and a few stones in them for ballast, just because they cannot walk steadily without their usual load. I feel something like them, and rather inclined to take up some light task, than to be altogether idle. ~Walter Scott


Man is but a creature of habit... For five-and-forty years have I toiled... Truly, it hath been a painful task, yet can I not relinquish it... I am like an old horse, who hath gone so long round and round in a mill, that he cannot walk straight forward; and, if it please the Almighty, I will die in harness. ~Frederick Marryat, Jacob Faithful, 1831


He may possess the joys he thinks he sees,
Lay his old age upon the lap of ease...
~William Cowper (1731–1800), "Retirement"


Go to any sea-port town and you will see that the Sea-captain who has retired upon his well-earned savings, sets up a weather-cock in full view from his windows, and watches the variations of the wind as duly as when he was at sea, though no longer with the same anxiety. ~Robert Southey


Sick of the service of a world that feeds
Its patient drudges with dry chaff and weeds,
We can escape from custom's idiot sway,
To serve the sov'reign we were born t' obey...
~William Cowper (1731–1800), "Retirement"


I try to treat each evening and weekend as little slices of retirement because no one is guaranteed a lengthy one at the end of their career. ~Mike Hammar


Why can’t we get all the people together in the world that we really like and then just stay together forever? Someone would leave. Someone always leaves. And then we have to say goodbye. I hate goodbyes... You know what I need? I need more hellos. ~Charles M. Schulz, Snoopy, Come Home, 1972


In retirement, the passage of time seems accelerated. Nothing warns us of its flight. It is a wave which never murmurs, because there is no obstacle to its flow. ~Madame Swetchine, translated by Harriet W. Preston


...in all the luxury of calm retirement. ~Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol


It is in his pleasures that a man really lives, it is from his leisure that he constructs the true fabric of self. ~Agnes Repplier


      Don Herold once wrote... "Work is a form of nervousness." Just think that over. It has the wisdom of the ages in it. And then think of Dr. Crile's threat that, with proper attention to health, a man can still be active in business at eighty. How are the other people in the office going to like having a nervous octogenarian lunging about the place?
      The thing to do is to make so much money that you don't have to work after the age of twenty-seven. In case this is impracticable, stop work at the earliest possible moment, even if it is at a quarter past eleven on the morning of the day when you find you do have enough money. Then will be time enough to pay proper attention to your health. What is the sense of being in good health if you have to work? ~Robert Benchley (1889–1945)


God loves an idle rainbow,
No less than labouring seas.
~Ralph Hodgson


Retire? That's ridiculous. What does it for you is to have something to get up for in the morning. Now, they say, you should retire at 70. When I was 70, I still had pimples. ~George Burns, 1978


In retirement, every day is Boss Day and every day is Employee Appreciation Day. ~Terri Guillemets


Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some stay for a while, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never, ever the same. ~Flavia Marie Register Weedn (1929–2015), Forever, 1999, flaviastore.archivea.com


Be thoroughly assured of the constancy of your disposition, and the solidity of your motives, before you totally engage in retirement. ~Countess Dowager of Carlisle


A braver, finer, more representative, good old American sport I never knew than Charley Miller. He isn't talking about retiring from business and having a good time. He has a good time in his work. ~Elbert Hubbard


With aching heart and discontented looks,
Returns at noon to billiards or to books,
But feels, while grasping at his faded joys,
A secret thirst of his renounc'd employs...
The man of bus'ness and his friends compress'd,
Forget their labours, and yet find no rest...
~William Cowper (1731–1800), "Retirement"


Those who have graduated with honour in retiring from business, envied as they may be by others still bearing the burden and heat of the day, are too frequently the reverse of happy at finding their occupation gone... Strenuous was Elia in cautioning persons grown old in active business, not lightly, nor without weighing their own resources, to forego their customary employment all at once; for there may be danger in it. Himself, the superannuated clerk, missed his old chains, as if they had been part of his apparel. ~Francis Jacox


A great comfort, it has been called, if, in looking on to future years, you are able to think that you are in a profession or a calling from which you will never retire: for the prospect of a total change in your mode of life, and the final pause of the Occupation which for many years employed the greater part of your waking thoughts, and all this amid the failing powers and flagging hopes of declining years, is both a sad and a perplexing prospect to a thoughtful person. ~Francis Jacox


I'm now as free as the breeze — with roughly the same income. ~Gene Perret


Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under the trees on a summer's day, listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the blue sky, is by no means waste of time. ~John Lubbock, "Recreation," The Use of Life, 1894


Be that as it may, retiring from business has most commonly proved a disastrous operation. There are old men and old women whose work of life is really done, and who may in peace and content sit down and wait their mysterious transit. We love these weary workers, and bid them be happy. But a man who retires from business before the work of life is done, in the full possession of his powers, retires from happiness and health. His stock of vitality is unexpended; and uneasy and discontented must his life be, unless that vitality find an outlet through legitimate channels. A life of active business carves deep channels, and it is very hard to change them. Better far to die in the old harness than to try to put on another. But all may look forward to an age of leisure, lying in the unknown land, where powers, trained to ease of action by labor, will find themselves fed by a vitality immortal as that in which abide the springs of all power. ~J. G. Holland


Retirement can be... a rocking chair or a launching pad. ~William Arthur Ward (1921–1994)


We all think idleness be a very pleasant thing when we're obliged to work, but when we are idle, then we feel that a little work be just as agreeable — that's human natur. ~Frederick Marryat, Jacob Faithful, 1831


A real worker never looks forward to an old-age pension. ~"Poor Richard Junior's Philosophy," The Saturday Evening Post, 1904, George Horace Lorimer, editor


The money's no better in retirement but the hours are! ~Terri Guillemets


The best time to start thinking about your retirement is before the boss does. ~Author unknown


Sometimes it's important to work for that pot of gold. But other times it's essential to take time off and to make sure that your most important decision in the day simply consists of choosing which color to slide down on the rainbow. ~Douglas Pagels, These Are the Gifts I'd Like to Give to You


May flowers always line your path and sunshine light your day.
May songbirds serenade you every step along the way.
May a rainbow run beside you in a sky that's always blue.
And may happiness fill your heart each day your whole life through.
~Irish blessing


There are days in retirement that are the waking equivalent of a dreamless sleep, if you know what I mean. ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com


It is so natural for us to consider our presence as indispensable in the world, so long as we have much to do in it, that the wisdom of retiring wholly from employments in advanced life may be questioned. Certainly, he who does so is in danger of finding, before long, that he has only given up the occupation to which he has been accustomed, for the new business of calculating the period of his decease. Indeed, in every great change of life, to secure an increase of enjoyment — nay, to prevent stagnation, and its attendant melancholy — it is requisite that the new plan of life should still embrace some object to be accomplished, and sufficient provision for agreeable employment. ~C. N. Bovee



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