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Wearing the Mantle of Retirement – or not!

“The future ain’t what it used to be!”

And the same could be said about retirement – retirement just ain’t what it used to be either. There is a quiet revolution happening here.

The longevity revolution is challenging the way people think about work and retirement.

It is no secret that people are living longer. Knowing that increasing numbers of us may live to be 90, or older, has implications for planning how to live a long life that is meaningful and fulfilling.

Retirement used to mean giving up one’s job, ceasing to work at a certain age. Nowadays there are different retirement models. Many people are choosing to keep working or work differently after the ‘magic age’ of 65. For them, the traditional view of retirement and giving up work just doesn’t fit.

Cloaks and Mantles

Harry Potter was given the Cloak of Invisibility with the advice to “use it well.”

Let’s just imagine that there is a Mantle of Retirement.

For many people this Mantle of Retirement is used well and is a good fit. For others though, it is something they opt not to wear – not just yet. Rather, they choose a mantle of un-retirement or non-retirement and wear that to navigate through this life stage. Sunny Hansen is one who resists the retirement mantle but expresses the dilemma that accompanies that. “I am not retired; I am in transition. I know what I am in transition from but I do not know what I am in transition to.”

Here’s something to think about… and talk about… 

If you choose it, what does the mantle of un-retirement look like and sound like? How can you use it well as an opportunity for growth and adventure and to find meaning and fulfillment in life? How can you use it to work differently and flourish in something we used to call ‘retirement’?

P.S. This longevity revolution, in case you were wondering, is not about being old for longer. “It’s about living longer, being old later and being young longer.”