When one is working, some external entities claim one's present time, future schedules, and the intellectual capacity. One is obligated to be in certain places, at certain times, and perform certain activities that are not chosen by him. Critically, he is denied being in other places during these times, performing activities chosen by him, and his planning is curtailed by the obligations....
Um, this applies to so much more than paid employment, though. Commitments to family (immediate and extended) and volunteer organizations also make those same kinds of demands.
About the only way for some of us to reach that state of uncommitted nirvana would be to divorce and give up all interests. Oh wait, isn't retirement supposed to allow more time for those very things?
I assumed that when we reached the empty nest stage of our family, my weekly schedule would totally go away, we would no longer have to have dinner every night at a certain time, and I would be free to attend a 6 p.m. lecture on campus or go to a 5:30 aerobics class or various other fun things that I had been looking forward to... Well no, people in the family had different assumptions, and since we feed extended families some nights, it isn't so simple. We are working this out (oops, pun!), but I find these negotiations about our dreams and priorities to be more emotionally exhausting than it would be to pick up a few shifts of part-time work, which is what I plan to do after retirement from my professional job.
Since the family commitments will remain as long as grandparents and children and grandchildren live, does this mean that I will never retire?