It’s not surprising that as we boomers get older, we get reflective. Are we kidding ourselves that somehow, we’re younger than our parents were at this age? BoomerCafé co-founder and publisher David Henderson doesn’t think so. But what he sees in his own life is, we only stay young by going in different directions than our parents did. Retirement, he finds, is an outdated concept.
One thing I hate is to find myself repeating — or to hear someone else repeating — is some slogan or phrase we’ve heard on TV or in a movie. You know, things like, “Make my day,” or the sarcastic use and tone of the word, “Whatever.” We’ve all done it but I think it shows a certain lack of independent thought, and I kick myself mentally when I fall into the trap.
That said, there is some reality, I believe, behind the concept for some TV commercial where we see, say, Dennis Hopper — looking good at age 72 by way of cosmetic surgery, no doubt — hawking some company’s product by saying something like, “50 is the new 40.” I might still have no idea what the company or service is, but I am struck by the meaning of the phrase.
Here I am in my early 60s now, and not a day goes by that I don’t wonder to myself, “Where did all the time go?” I don’t look or feel like I’m in my 60s. I feel 40. Well, I’ve got a bum knee from bicycling but that could happen to anyone. But here’s my point: I am at the age when my parents were about to retire, and I have no interest in retiring … not soon, and maybe not ever.
Sure, my wife and I talk about how much fun it might be to find a nice place somewhere in Europe to escape the chaos and hostility of the nation’s capital, where we live. But with the dollar in such an incredibly weak and devalued state against just about every currency in the world, including Canada’s (can you imagine that?!!), we can no longer afford our fantasy of living abroad. Even if we could, the thought of just kicking back and doing nothing … i.e., retiring … feels boring, even repugnant. There’s too much to be done!
Besides, maybe Europe can better and more affordably be enjoyed through vacations there, like our annual visit to a remote valley where we hike though the breathtaking natural environment of Switzerland.
This is perhaps the most exciting time of our lives. For me, I am drawing on years of experience and contacts in my consulting practice; I’ve just finished writing a second book, which will be published next January; and I’ve self-taught myself more about today’s exciting online blogosphere than many nerds in Silicon Valley. If it weren’t for the darned knee, I’d be racing around on my Trek bike. But, I remember … that’s what caused the knee issue in the first place.
I keep thinking about a really neat email I received the other day from a young technology developer in Bath, England, who is clearly wise beyond his years. He wrote, “You sound very much like my parents. They have reached what used to be considered retirement age but are both busier than ever and seem very happy with it. My personal belief is that retirement per se is an outdated concept. Perhaps it just changes to undertaking less paid or more non-paid work.”
“Retirement per se is an outdated concept.” Wow, that’s really cool and well said from a young man who made a conscious and smart decision to leave the chaos of London for a different and more satisfying lifestyle in the beautiful English city of Bath. For me, perhaps that is the phrase to live by at this stage of my baby boomer life: retirement is an outdated concept … because it best states precisely how I think, what I am doing, and how I feel.
So, my thanks to Keir, the young man in Bath, for the gift of my new motto to live by. His words are far more in-tune and valid with who we are as baby boomers than anything we might hear on TV or at the movies. Even if Dennis Hopper says it!