I recently facilitated a session for Osher Lifelong Learning (OLLI) in Prescott AZ entitled “Retiring Retirement”, based mainly on a TED Talk by Jan Allen (“Retiring Retirement: A Personal Upgrade for the 3rd 3rd”), but also drawing from the book The 100 Year Life by Linda Gratton and Andrew Scott.
Here are a couple of my takeaways from that session:
- According to a 2016 McKinsey Global Institute report, by 2022 those 65 and older are projected to make up 36% of the US workforce. We “boomers” are working longer, well past the typical retirement age of 65 that our parents were used to (which was based on average life expectancy of 61).
- We are living longer now, many to age 100 or beyond. A gift of more time in our lives. Our later years are changing from a destination to a continuing journey.
Marc Freedman, the founder of Encore.org and contributor to The Upside of Aging by Paul H. Irving, talks about “rethinking the patio life”. He wonders if fishing, golfing, sitting around the patio (“recreation”) can sustain us physically, emotionally and intellectually throughout our extended life periods. Or do we need continued purpose, engagement, stimulation and challenges (“re-creation”)?
Of those people that I have encountered that are “retired” and push-back on the idea of “retiring retirement”, it is usually the case that they have actually engaged in post-retirement activities beyond “leisure” activities, such as volunteering with non-profit organizations, supporting political or civic causes, giving back to their communities. They have found ways to add value, to make a difference; a purpose for their lives going forward that is more than just a “job”.
The plan for this extended period of life will be different for each of us; one size does not fit all. But common elements of the plan probably include (1) staying engaged, (2) staying active, and (3) finding your continued purpose in life, the value that you bring to others.