What Can.I.Use To Replace The Back Of An Old Rocking.Chair The Colors of Retirement

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The Colors of Retirement

There are two colors for retirement: gray and silver.

What we assume about this stage of life is often the gray matter. That comes from what happened to Mom and Dad or Grandpa. They retired and traveled. They retired and took up woodworking…or carpeting…or golf. They withdrew and took a back seat to what was happening in the rest of the world. They retreated and almost disappeared. Gray is not very noticeable. Or very interesting. Later, they were gone but usually long after they had been forgotten by the culture.

Is this approach inevitable? Is this what happens with people who are now retiring?

Only if they choose it. There are a lot more options than moving to Palm Springs or playing golf five days a week.

The traditional version of retirement is built on the concept of “the Golden Years” that was given to us as culture by Del Webb in 1960 as part of the inaugural marketing for the first Sun City, a retirement community outside of Phoenix. It was a way to put a positive spin on a very negative situation. At that time, American workers were required to retire at a certain age and once they did, society almost forgot about them. Webb and others have turned this invisibility into the idea that retirement is a time to play — that retirees have earned the chance to have fun all day every day. A life of 100% leisure.

For those still working, this sounds like Nirvana, but as a lifestyle, it can be grim. Even children don’t play all day every day. Not having a purpose or a way to contribute creates a vast array of health problems — both mental and physical — for the person and robs society of their talents and skills.

But this way of thinking persists because many believe:

* People old enough to retire are weak – in poor health, without stamina, and physically unable to do much of what younger people can do.

* They are short-lived members of society; they will either die or enter a nursing home (and then die) in a few years or even months.

* They are inept–“Out of it” the vast majority of the time, with no idea what’s going on in the world and no ability to do much about it anyway.

* They are pale or worse, a burden — nothing they do has an impact beyond their own lives. Many of them cannot even take care of themselves.

This is the GRAY version of retired life. Lifeless, dying, dull. Also WRONG.

NONE of this is mandatory, necessary or wise. Most of it is just plain baloney. The truth about people old enough to retire is much less restrictive. But to get to where we plan to use a better model, we have to accept a new set of assumptions:

* AT THIS AGE, WE’RE STILL STRONG. The vast majority who choose to retire are at the top of their game. Physically, they are in better shape than their parents were even ten years younger.

* WE ARE STEPPING INTO A LONG TERM STAGE OF LIFE. Those retiring now will probably be around for at least another fifteen years and more likely twenty-five to thirty. Those who retire at 55 could easily spend more time retired than they did in the workforce.

* WE ARE A SIGNIFICANT SEGMENT OF THE POPULATION. In numbers. In purchasing power. And if we take the time to plan it, in the roles we take and the challenges we acquire for our families, communities and society as a whole.

* WE ARE ENERGIZING. The opportunity to do things we believe in with the flexibility to accommodate all the other things we value is revitalizing. This age group has the potential to recharge both ourselves and our communities — and whatever else we decide to take on. We can have “the good life” and “do good” at the same time. We are in a position to give but also take the time to enjoy what life has to offer.

This version of retirement is SILVER–sparkly and full of energy. Retirement, using this set of assumptions, is the time of life when we really can have it all, do it all, be it all – on our terms.

What color attitude will you choose? WHY SETTLE FOR GRAY WHEN SILVER IS JUST A THOUGHT? What attitude will you adopt as you plan?

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