Some of you lovely readers have already made the change from full-time employment to non-employment, and some are a long way off. For others, the finishing line is almost in sight. This is where Mr D and I are. We have just turned the final corner and can see the finishing flags waving in the distance.
Yet it doesn’t seem that long ago that retirement felt like a long way off. The very mention of the word filled my head with images me, silver-haired and chilling on a rocking chair with knitting to hand. With one word I’d aged myself by at least a couple of decades. Then I thought about my parents. Both of them were lucky enough to have decent ‘golden handshakes’ for pensions and be comfortable.
But what did they do with their time? My dad, for all intents and purposes, has fossilized at home in front of a computer, rarely venturing out unless he has to (even pre-COVID). My mum, while she was still with us, was more adventurous. Circumnavigating the world, snowshoeing, ice fishing, mushing with huskies, etc. It’s a long list. In fact, I’m going to need to put some effort into my own retirement if I want to live up to her standards.
My retired friends, who are close in age to us, are more adventurous now than they were in their employed years. This is why I think we need to rebrand retirement. The word itself is loaded with negative connotations. For example, here’s the first few results I got when I checked an online thesaurus:
Hmmm? These aren’t the most inspiring words I’ve read, and not what I had in mind for our post-employment years. Mr D and I have no intention of stepping down… handing over the baton, yes, but a downwards move, absolutely not. As for giving up… giving up what? Life? Not on your Nelly! Departure? Not for a very long time if I can help it. The only departure I’m prepared to entertain is when we head off somewhere fun. I’d like to become well acquainted with departure lounges around the world.
Further research on how to rebrand retirement shows I’m not alone in thinking we need to retire the word ‘retire’. I found this article in the Financial Times which looks into this very subject. The author describes how his American friends coined a new term, Life Two. Life after full-time work. LAFTWO. It was a bit of a mouthful but morphed easily into Life Two. I like it. Life One is the bit where you do all the adulting stuff like career, child rearing and home making. Life two is whatever you want it to be… no more Monday morning alarms, not unless you choose to set one.
Personally, I’m happy to be on the home strait. I’m relishing the last few miles, but Mr D is not. As he’s two years younger than me, he isn’t quite so close. In fact, he can’t touch his pension fund yet, but I can. He’s not happy to see the finishing line at all because he wants to have crossed it already, not interested in enjoying the view. That’s the fun of being a couple, yet two separate people.
If you were in charge of retirement, how would you rebrand it? For those of you already across the line, do you have any advice for those of us on the last few miles? Share your wisdom in the comments section … please!