Retirement May Translate into a New Beginning
The fact is people are living longer.
Attributable to greater health awareness, nutrition and modern medicines, a variety of sources tell me that women are living until their early 80's, while men trail a few years behind them. What to do with all that time?
It used to be that retirement signaled an end to your working years. After 40+ years on the job, often with one company, you were sent on your way with a party and perhaps, a gold watch. But times have changed.
You may well have another 15 or 20 years to fill after the age of 65, and you may require and relish the idea of additional income. Maybe, bocce ball and endless card games are not your cup of tea and you'd like to concentrate on what you always pursued as a hobby. You could never do it before; it didn't pay the bills during the years you were busy raising your family. But now, your family's needs are fewer and your personal living requirements are more modest. It's now or never. You may, as an increasing number of people have, decide to dedicate your remaining years to your lifelong avocation. (see below for Youtube commercial on man who loves to build birdhouses.)
Lately, it's become very trendy to feature seniors diving out of airplanes or bungee jumping (as well it should be.) It's quite an impressive sight to see! However, it's important to realize that not everyone makes it to old age in perfect physical health or strong financial condition. If you're lucky enough to get there with just a minimal amount of complaints, then, perhaps, you should take this opportunity to reinvent yourself.
A new book by Marc Freedman called "The Big Shift: Navigating the New Stage Beyond Midlife" has this to say: "We can see a wave of creativity coming out of a segment of the population that's been disregarded or cut off prematurely for decades." He continues, "We're starting to realize people at this stage can offer innovation, entrepreneurship and creativity, assets we once thought were the exclusive province of young people."
Of course, in other cultures, elders are often valued for their experience and wisdom. In America, youth and beauty have long been revered. We would require a paradigm shift in order to appreciate that the senior years are just another stage in life and one, that could conceivably bear, a considerable amount of talent, intelligence, and know-how in navigating world affairs.
"Dad riding a bicycle" courtesy of woodleywonderworks' photostream via Flickr.com's Creative Commons License