This blog post was inspired by a topic posted in the Stitch Member Discussion Forum. The post, “Pros and Cons of ‘Retirement'” spurred an animated discussion around what our diverse membership thinks when they hear this word. A previously positive concept, “retirement” is now somewhat controversial. If you’re a Stitch member, you can join the discussion here.
Sometimes called “dirty,” retirement is increasingly viewed negatively by aging baby boomers who feel that retiring is some form of giving up and knocking at death’s door.
Michael Hyatt, well known podcaster and blogger, associates retirement with murder. He writes, “If you’re looking for a way to murder your heart, then congratulations. That’s it.” He also encourages his readers to remove the word from their vocabulary altogether!
Sound extreme? Well, it isn’t! This concept has gone mainstream. From the Huffington Post blog to the Boston Globe, word has gotten out that congratulating someone on their “retirement” very, very risky.
It’s clear now that “Retirement” seems to have evolved from something associated with living to something associated with dying.
The baby boomer generation, now the biggest in many countries, was born thinking they would live to about 70 years of age. So, retirement at “65” as the standard gave them 5 years to “enjoy” before leaving this earth. But now, they’re living to 80, 90, and 100 and retiring at 65 would give TOO much time off. Baby boomers are terrified of ending up in wheelchairs, of the stereotypes of aging and the old saying “if you don’t move it, you’ll lose it” or in other words, if you retire, you stop moving and die.
More importantly, there are major financial concerns and retirement is no longer an option for many. Living an extra 10, 20, or even 30 years means much more money is needed to sustain life after incomes have dried out. Others become redundant and have a forced retirement leaving them with very few financial resources. Some have to sell their homes and move in with their children. In that scenario, retirement is no longer the relaxing, happy fantasy it once was.
Retirement: Not so Dirty After All?
“Retirement” is not a dirty word. Rather, it is now a rare privilege rather than something that’s expected as given in the Western world. And those that do retire? It’s up to them to make the most of it. It doesn’t mean they’re useless or rotten, or used up. It means they don’t have to rush out of the house to get somewhere by 9am. It means they don’t have to wear uncomfortable jackets and shoes. It means they can take time to exercise and volunteer without sheer exhaustion. This is what the members of Stitch have told us and why they look forward to every day of “retirement.”
Retirement is actually just a transition. A transition from one daily routine to another. Will it be living by the beach like in all the marketing of the 1950’s? Or will it be volunteering in natural disaster zones? Will it be a full-time unpaid babysitting job for grandchildren? Will it be an Uber driver? Or writing and publishing a novel? Or maybe you’ll just continue your current work but on your own schedule!
At Stitch, we support turning retirement into an adventure. We provide opportunities for our members, working or not, to engage and stimulate in online and offline interests whether that’s group travel to destinations they only dreamed of, a global book club to finally read all the books on your list, or learning a new language with another member.
If that sounds like something you’d like to get into, click here and sign up for Stitch today. The “possibilities” are endless…