Second careers? We’ve run countless stories by baby boomers who’ve had them over the years. As writers, we especially like this one, by Ron Katz of Palo Alto, California. He just wasn’t ready to retire.
The problem with a so-called “retirement age,” which was devised way back in the 19th century, is that nowadays many people are not ready to retire. Basically, because our society has not set up meaningful paths forward for those who are now reaching 65 in record numbers, many baby boomers, myself included, are all dressed up with nowhere to go.
Luckily in my case, at age 70, after a 40 year career as a trial lawyer, I was accepted into the Distinguished Careers Institute at Stanford University. This is a place where 40 or so people per year who have had other careers can prepare for a second act by taking any course that Stanford offers.
Like many others, I entered the program contemplating a new career that was somehow related to my previous career. My specialty had been as a sports lawyer, and I anticipated forging new ways to connect law and sports with leadership and ethics.
In some ways it made perfectly good sense. It’s what I knew.
In other ways though, it made no sense at all. I was at a new place with many new areas of study. Why stick to a decision I had made at the age of 22?
It takes time, however, to shed the past and discard old ways of thinking. That is really what a college education is all about, but you can appreciate it much better the second time around with 50 more years of life experience under your belt.
After about half a year at Stanford, on a lark I took a course on the mystery novel. I had read many mysteries in my life, but I never before had had the chance to analyze them with the guidance of a learned professor.
About halfway through the course, I thought that I might be able to write something myself— if not a novel, then mystery short stories. Of course I had to choose a subject about which I knew something, and that was being a baby boomer.
So I decided to create a baby boomer detective couple, Barb and Bernie Silver— aka the Sleuthing Silvers— who took only cases where age was an edge. For example, their first investigation— The Mystery of the Missing Reading Glasses— involved going undercover at a retirement facility that was experiencing an epidemic of opioid use. Younger detectives obviously would not qualify for such an assignment.
I’ve now produced nine Sleuthing Silvers stories online, and already they have thousands of followers on Facebook, many of whom write comments like, “I enjoy seeing heroes of my own age.”
So do I. I enjoy writing about heroes of my own age.
Check out Ron’s book here — https://www.thesleuthingsilvers.com/