When I was a kid I always thought that retirement sounded a lot like Disney World 24/7. As I grew older, and began to dig in and expand my career path, I sometimes wistfully admired retired folks; it seemed so far away I couldn’t even imagine it.
Recently I read an article posted by @Kristine “Kurly” de Guzman about retirement. Ms. Guzman wrote a book where she discusses the idea of what it means to “retire” and she raises some excellent points about what is commonly identified as “retirement”. As I read Ms. Guzman’s article, I was reminded that the magical age of 65 was a lot closer than it had been when I was 25, and I remembered how my earlier wistfulness had turned into downright resentment against those who had retired. I remembered that I often felt fearful that I wouldn’t be able to afford to retire, or that our nation’s economy would no longer support (mythological?) retirement, and it was beginning to look a lot like a unicorn– and we all know that those are no longer around–if they ever were!
When I left my career in education after over 20 years I was driven by a new awareness: if I loved my work, why would I want to stop doing it, ever? This thought motivated my decision to start consulting with businesses to increase employee engagement, because that had always been one of the central joys of my years in education; creating teams, growing community, teaching communication and soft skills to people and showing them how to apply all of these skills in every aspect of their lives.
There is no doubt I am a born teacher– I recall organizing “schools” when I was little, giving everyone job titles and assignments and having reviews with my team about their successes and failures in their positions– and encouraging them to brainstorm solutions going forward, so that the next time we played together we would all have more fun. I really did that! And I still do. I love creating teams and I love building solid, caring work-communities that blend disparate viewpoints and come-froms.
Ultimately, what I have found is that the “dream” of retirement is really just about me creating a life that brings me fulfillment and joy on a daily basis. Studies show that folks that retire (regardless of age) and do not have a purpose and a reason to get up in the morning often begin to suffer from a plethora of mental and physical issues. In the movie Wall-E, a version of this theory is presented: humans are so obese they have to live in mechanized bubbles, scooting around doing nothing every day, as machines cater to their every whim, and earth becomes an unlivable garbage dump.
I am certainly not correlating all our environmental and sociological problems to retired folks! I am saying that currently, world-wide, millions of companies and individuals are re-defining what work looks like, and that perhaps this idea of “retirement” needs to be rebranded as well. To me, rebranding my work means that retirement is a state of mind. I want to make the world a better place, and I have the skills and talent to help people find that place, in any work environment. Based on my track record, I would find a way to employ these skills if I were to retire, so why not do what I excel at, and make my “retirement” what I love to do every day– enjoy my life and create happy communities wherever I am invited?
If your company needs help building employee engagement and bringing happiness back to work, get in touch. You will be helping me live my purpose!
Please contact Humane Resourcing to help you manage the demands of today’s workplace and leave you more time for creativity, and less worry about how to get there!