At your age? Wow. by Bill Storie
Last week I wrote about the changing face of retirement. It seemed to trigger many emotions and thoughts of days gone by in many of you.
Then I thought a little bit more about the retirement phase of our lives, and while we have written hundreds of articles on the subject (as published in Olderhood), I realized that in many ways we are scratching at the surface.
One thing we have found after thousands of hours of research for Olderhood initiatives and speaking with hundreds of “Oldsters” around the world, is that the “concerns” of retirement are universal. There are no places that we cover (and Olderhood is in over 20 countries) where there are completely peculiar issues for retirees. None.
We are so alike in so many ways that we are really one big family.
But there is one train of thinking which on the one hand makes us all the same, yet on the other hand, allows us to be so individualistic that the variety of ideas and activities provides millions of permutations based on our personal likes and dislikes.
Let me explain.
In our upcoming book The Third Journey, we say, “We are migrating away from a traditional view of the aging process to a new social reality that is not yet completely evolved.”
This statement recognizes that what we believed to be the aging process (based on our living with our parents and grandparents when we were young), has changed. And changed dramatically.
The notion that we get old, retire, lose touch with work colleagues, do some gardening, then gradually get sick and fade away has been shattered.
Now we say, “I think I’ll start evening classes about computers”.
We realize that this is OUR life and WE decide what we want to do with it. Oh sure there are responsibilities and family obligations and so forth, but we learn to juggle the “must-do” stuff with the “want-to-do” opportunities. We think about doing things that we just never dreamed of ever before.
“I’ve never worn pink in my life”. So, start now.
“I’ve never been to Mexico.” Go now.
“I always wanted to play the guitar.” Start pickin’ now.
“I’ve always fancied writing a novel.” Pick up thy pen.
“I was never bold enough to buy a motor bike.” Be a HOG.
“I always wanted to dance the flamenco.” Start the music... and on it goes.
In today’s age of online surfing there are countless ideas of self-help, or learning, or courses to take with certification at the end. You don’t even have to leave home.
I believe that part of the aging process is to first discard all the recollections of retirement of when you lived with your parents. Those days were routine and standardized. In fairness to them, there were simply not the varieties of things to do and see that we have these days.
Much of that of course was due to financial constraints, and while they were probably comfortably off, their mindset was to preserve what money they had. A minority would go on a world trip certainly, but they became the “talk of the town” – they became celebrities in the village.
Our freedom to break out from those retirement regimens evades many of us. Maybe some of us can’t throw off the shackles of what we saw and experienced when we were kids. Maybe those lifestyles of our parents have become ingrained in us.
You have years and years ahead of you. Don’t wonder how long you will live — wonder what you will do this year and the next and the next. Change from survival tactics to mission-focused.
And yes…. At your age, you CAN.
By Bill Storie