Sometimes things aren’t what they seem at first glance. My current life, for instance.
A casual observer – although I don’t see anybody else around here – would look at my life these days and say I am lazing around. Goofing off. Maybe even (and chills run down my arms as I type this) Letting Myself Go.
After all, Casual Observer would say if asked, I’m not working at any job or scheduled volunteer activities. I’m not earning money; I’m living on a modest retirement income. I sit up late reading books and magazines with the TV on. I sleep later than I ever did when I had a job, then take my sweet time about getting dressed and leaving the condo. I spend lots of time online, and have devoted untold hours to editing my digital photos – and wandering around town taking even more photos, which I then sit down and edit. I go to movies and plays with friends, dine out with friends, hang out with family. I’ve taken two serious trips to foreign lands and a few road trips in the USA. And so on.
But our C.O. is – besides being hypothetical – not getting the whole picture.
I am – drumroll, please – working up to my Encore career(s). One of those books I’ve been sitting up reading has given me the words: Encore, by Marc Freedman. I haven’t read it cover to cover, and it’s due back at the library in a few days, so I’m buying a copy.
Although I haven’t found my exact life story in its pages, it comes close enough to many issues to warrant the purchase price for future reference. Generalizations are suspect, but Freedman cites enough research that I think he’s on to something. Boomers (that would be me, right in the middle of that pack chronologically) don’t seem to want to just sit down (or go out and play golf) for the last thirty years of their lives – which is the model of “retirement” developed by our parents’ generation.
Nor do we want to stay hitched into our current jobs forever. Some of us have a desire to go into a specific (and usually different) kind of work. Most of us – even if we don’t have a specific goal in mind – are weary after years of working and need a serious break to rest. But not the rest of our lives.
As for me: I was bone-tired after forty years of nonstop full-time employment (combined for a few years in my 20’s with full-time law school enrollment). So I positioned myself financially to retire about as soon as I was eligible. I retired from that job last March 1. I’m not yet sixty years old. I don’t intend to never work again. But I don’t know yet what I will do next to earn money. Seven months on, I’m still in my phase of R&R: rest and rejuvenation. (“Recuperation” sounds too clinical, “recreation” a little too frivolous.)
I’m not done reading the book and thinking about these things. But I’m so happy to have found this book I’m talking about it a lot. It’s the first book about “retirement” or “career change” – and I’ve read several – that really speaks to me.
And about the Letting Myself Go thing. I’m maintaining my hair care regimen with Mitch the Wizard of Color and Cut. I get pedicures. I’m walking. And I’ve started yoga class again.