Who me? Retire?

I’m not saying slow down, I’m saying, change up.

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“I determined that at sixty-five, business, properly speaking, should know me no more.  On my sixty fifth birthday I woke a free man.”

–from  “All Passion Spent” by Vita Sackville West

“When I retire…”  We say these words all our life.  We say them when we are frustrated with our job, our boss, our lack of time, not enough sleep, pining for a creative outlet.  We say, “When I retire” as a threat, a promise, a dream.

Then the day comes.  Whilst there are those who are thrilled, fulfilled and “ready for the next adventure,”  it has become chic to squawk, “Who me? I’m never going to retire!”  Insulted at the notion even.

First of all, lucky are you who arrive at 65 in a job from which you can retire. Many people are downsized, priced out and can’t get back into the workforce. And lucky are you who managed to align your heart with a job that doesn’t feel like work.

But even so, why has retirement become a dirty word?  It’s not cool anymore. Why isn’t it time to stop living at work, and instead, work at living? Isn’t 40+ years at a job…enough? Gulp.

The quote above proposes the idea that you are telling the work world: “you may have no more of me,” instead of being told, “you must leave now.”

In generations past, retirement meant going gently into the good night, fading away into a pastel existence.  Today retirement is an invitation to do whatever you want: start a new career or business, volunteerism, consulting, pursuing hobbies full blast, creating, writing, reading, traveling. There is an emphasis on going for the gusto, pursuing your pleasures.

Some people who haven’t saved enough throughout their working years have to keep on working.  Then begins the complaining about age discrimination.

To that, I say phooey.  There is age discrimination for the young too.  Remember how hard it was to get your first job after college? How you had to take a shit job to get a better job?

To the complainers I say, take a clue from young people.  The work world no longer operates under the rules and traditions we grew up with.  Millenials have had to adapt and so must we. Millenials have changed the way we work and the way we look for work. They start their own micro businesses, they network online, they work out of hubs, they collaborate. They freelance, they consult. They hold a variety of jobs to make it financially.  Or, they go to graduate school…and so might you!

The future belongs to the young.  Let them have at it.

Bottom line:  If you want to keep working, you’ll have to change with the times. Do your homework.  Get online.  Get Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, Linked In. The new resume is an online website for yourself.

Ultimately it’s about having a life and an identity outside your job. Maybe you haven’t had time to develop this, so busy you’ve been juggling all those balls. Maybe you love what you’re doing and are fine with continuing on.  More power to you. It’s all about choice.

Retirement doesn’t happen in one day. It’s a process — a profound transition. You’ve been in a rhythm and lifestyle for decades. It takes awhile for everything to register in your mind and heart.  You need to change the parameters, refigure time, calculate money (your net worth is going to diminish instead of grow), reposition lifestyle, consider friends, pursue hobbies, and live new dreams.

Retirement is not a dirty word.  In Spanish, it’s called jubilation.

xo Liza

Hello my lovelies!  I’m curious whether you agree with me…or want to tell me to jump in a lake. (Which I’ll gladly do. I adore lakes!) Please tell us your thoughts in the comments section below.  It’s the most popular part of the blog.  And participating is a good thing.  Please like and share this post via the clever buttons.  And if you haven’t already, enter your email in the box on the right so you won’t miss a thing.

17 thoughts on “Who me? Retire?

  1. Right on Liza! Retiring soon and joyful to be able to do so!
    Here’s to the next glorious chapter!

  2. Hi everyone! Many of you are sending private messages and posting on FB. It would help me out greatly if you would post your comments here for all to share. Thanks! And, carry on!

  3. Completely agree Liza – the while working life scene has changed- people don’t have – or even want – a job for life. And blogging didn’t exist as a career until a few short years ago. I still need cash for the things I don’t yet want to do without ie clothes and holidays so I work part-time but know I could manage without it if push came to shove. I want to enjoy my Autumn years without the daily grind, so have found something I love doing in blogging. The old saying goes that if you love your job you’ll never have to work again! Couldn’t agree more!

  4. May I say I really enjoyed reading you blog! And also your picture( I don’t know what it’s called as I’m a beginner to reading blog) I look forward to reading more! I’m also a retiree (pensioner we call it) been one since 2009, can’t believe it’s been that long already ! I’m now nearly 68 & time just seems to fly by, I don’t know how I ever even had time to work, though it was only part time! Now I give myself permission to just do what I feel like, in between of course the things that got to be done , the everyday humdrum jobs!

    1. Thank you Hilkka! The “header” is a painting done by my Mother, that captures the beauty of life as I choose to see it. It was great fun choosing the right “look” for my blog. I’m glad you enjoy it and I look forward to seeing you at Camp Liza!

  5. Eloise! Just visited her portrait, still available to the public at the Plaza. We stop in when we are in NYC in honor of our Eloise-loving daughters.

    I think that thinking of continuing to work as “cool” is putting a good face on it. Many, many of us cannot retire, not because we “did not save enough” but because big, unexpected, sometimes catastrophic things happened – medical and/or children’s tuition bills among them –  that make retirement a non-option.

    I find your exhortation to “change with the times” incredibly facile. I have been an old-school journalist for years – one who believes in time-consuming reporting, careful writing, and getting paid (usually minimally) for my efforts – and I think that while a mastery of Twitter/Instagram/Snapchat/LinkedIn can help me continue working it is no longer the work that I want to do; it is simply getting harder and harder to find publications that align with my journalistic values that also pay. I don’t thin of myself as a “complainer” but a realist. I am willing to admire milllenial journalists who has to reduce a complex story to 140 characters. Friends who are doctors and educators are facing similar problems and it is not just a matter of “changing with the times.” Core values are in play.

    I find your tone a bit hectoring and your perspective lacking empathy and a tad unrealistic.

    Having said that, I admire your work and I agree 100 percent that retirement is a process. i am working on it myself, thought not 100 percent by choice.

  6. MariaLisa! So nice to hear from you. Thank you for your comments. You are one of my most respected journalists…I have followed your writing and adored it for years, and was always proud to say, “I went to high school with her.” I agree with you that unexpected, catastrophic events can make retirement a non-option, and I’m sorry if I sounded glib. I was downsized from my job of decades and couldn’t get back into the official workforce due to age discrimination. It was so subtle, I didn’t even realize it. Now, looking back, I do. So I was “retired” at 61 and not by choice. That’s when I changed careers. I asked myself, “What is a job that is marketable, where my age and hair color are irrelevant? I got certified as an ESL teacher. No one cares how grey my hair, how old I am…they just want a good teacher and there are jobs all over the world. It wasn’t easy, but it’s what I had to do. It has taken me a long time to even say the word, “retirement.” So maybe I’m not retired…I’m semi retired? I tutor from my home.
    If you would like to write a guest post/rebuttal for Camp Liza, please do!

    1. Thanks, Liza, for taking this so graciously. I had meant to refine/tone down my response before sending but, as sometimes happens, the response “got sent” before I meant it to. I make it a 100 percent rule never to comment on ANYTHING, but because of our shared history I felt it was more of a conversation. Sorry to hear about your travails in the workforce; teaching ESL is a worthy and creative response. On the whole, we are so lucky….and I know we both know that!

  7. Thanks for your blog. I look forward to this conversation as I need to hear from others about retirement and how to still find purpose and meaning. I just retired this year and am still stressed about it. Money isn’t my issue – that will be okay. I am doing some volunteering, gardening and lots of reading. But time seems to have slowed down and I want to learn to connect again very differently with people and life.

    1. Hi Colleen. Thanks ever so much for writing. Retirement is not a one-day-you’re-in situation, as I’ve and many other people have learned. No one teaches us to be retired…but life sure demands of us to be busy and needed and important. So…it’s a transition. Be gentle on yourself and explore. I don’t have the answers…I’m in it with everyone else. Let’s see where it takes us!

  8. Hello Liza, I love your blog and am so happy I found it. I am finding it very difficult to go from a life in advertising of high stress and constant activity to a world where I can do whatever I want every day. My brain won’t accept that it’s ok to relax and take it easy. I feel a sense of constant anxiety over the feeling that there’s stuff I should be doing. I dream about it. I look forward to reading your posts and finding my way toward a new way of life.

  9. Hi Mary! I hear you loud and clear! Thanks for writing. Isn’t it interesting how we feel guilty about relaxing. Like…we’re supposed to work ourselves literally to death? Retirement is a valid institution. We just need to figure it out. As I said in my previous reply to Colleen, above, I don’t have answers. I find myself in this situation and thinking out loud about it. Let’s keep our communication open and share thoughts and pave our way.

  10. Mary, your comments really struck a chord with me because that is exactly how I feel about retirement. I just retired last week so this is all brand new to me. I have always had a mental list of things that I will do when I finally have lots of time like get old movie film on DVD’s, clean and organize lots of cupboards and drawers, and the list goes on. Now I feel like I don’t know where to start, but I also feel the need to hurry up and get these things done.. I need to give myself permission to slow down and relax a little too along the way which is what I never had in my very busy, demanding job. It’s a whole new way of thinking I guess. Just need to put one foot in front of the other.

  11. I just turned 65 and still continue to work, I love my job of 36 years and I am blessed to get a lot of time off, For me, it is a mind set. I will miss the people, the challenge of the job and routine of life, therefore I have set before me the next couple of years to get mentally prepared to leave one chapter of my life and start the next. As I love to travel, I am researching international house sitting and have started up several pen pal connections world wide. I find myself starting to look forward to my next adventure. One day at a time, with a plan in place, I think for me will help the transition.

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