Charlotte A. Tomaino
Retire is a big word. This is change that is life altering in major ways. Usually we think of retirement being from a job that has been held for many years. There is the retirement dinner or luncheon, the gold watch… Sometimes it means selling the family home and downsizing or moving to Florida.
But how many of us actually do that? How many of us have stayed in one place all these years? How many of us have or will stop working? If you stop working or have stopped working what will you do with your life? There are many more choices these days than in the 60’s when we met. Then people retired, lived on their pension, sat on their porch, worked in their garden, played with their grandchildren, had the family for Sunday dinner after Mass. They didn’t actually live that long. The age we are now was old then.
So, what does retire mean today? And, what do you want to do if you have the chance to have that kind of ‘time and money freedom’? Sitting on the porch gets old after a while. Even reading books, playing cards and traveling gets old.
Retirement sounds like it means just leaving some form of work. But, it also means developing a new lifestyle. It is about leaving where you have been but it is equally about starting on where you are going.
All the same issues remain in retirement. Who do you want to spend your time with? What do you want to do now? A different ratio of work and play usually occurs. More play and less work. But doing something meaningful, participating in community, making a difference still matters and is satisfying at the end of the day.
Having time to play, travel, entertain, garden, cook, read, discuss, learn, reflect, pray, hike, bike, join clubs, are all more readily possible. Retirement means there is another life to create and hopefully be even more effective having learned from the former choices that were made.
We are the beginning wave of a huge population called Baby Boomers who have changed the world. In some cases it wasn’t pretty, but we are a specific subgroup of that population who took a spiritual path while others rebelled. We are among those original 76 million born between 1946 and 1965. And in this wave of those that are leading the way there are 65 million of us still living. Knowing what we know now, how could we do it better for others and better for ourselves when we have the chance to start again in retirement?
Have the Baby Boomers, who have so significantly changed our world, made their greatest contribution yet? Or, are the Baby Boomers just coming into their Wisdom Years and actually getting more effective having learned from all the ‘trial and error’? You are the leading edge of the Baby Boomers coming into this opportunity. You have seen the world now. What touched you? Could all of the children of the world be fed each day? Could education be available for all, not just those with money? Who will speak and guide the energies of the young, passionate and clueless?
Some Baby Boomers are leaving careers and going to school for training in leadership or getting involved in local communities to contribute their hard won knowledge in their own way, at their own pace because now they can do what they love and are good at it. And now they know what that is.
Have you retired? Will you retire?
What will you leave? What will you go to?
What calls you? What isn’t finished yet?
What do you love?