Why? Because in an effort to save time for Harley so he can get right to his negative spin and not have to read the whole story, big words and all. It’s a beautiful day and I want to start things off right for our short bus brother by serving one up high with plenty of hang time so he can effortlessly spike his comment ball of illiteracy back over the net of mediocrity.
This July, I turn the Big Six Zero.
That’s right, sports fans. Your well-coiffed scribe is aging, but – I’d like to think – doing so with style and grace.
Maybe not Craig’s version of grace and style, but grace and style nonetheless.
I never gave much thought to turning 40 or even 50. So maybe this is tied to the loss of my mom in October. So I’m giving 60 some serious contemplation. And I suspect some of you are in a similar boat.
We all know more than a few examples of people who, metaphorically, died at their retirement party or shortly after. They worked a lifetime to reach their so-called years of relaxation then flamed out shortly after.
I’ve mentioned my grandfather here before, an executive with Coke who retired and moved to his home on Grand Lake. I begged him to not go there to die because he was too important in my life. He had a full, active professional and personal life and my biggest fear was him settling into fishing, hanging out at the marina and passing away before his time.
Because he well could have had he not kept something very important in his life; the Japanese call it, “ikigai” – that which gives life a sense of purpose.
His vacation home became his permanent home, leaving his Plaza condo in the rearview mirror. But he immediately became involved on a bank board, in civic organizations and his church, telling me frequently, “I don’t know how I ever had time to work, I’m too busy being retired.”
My plan was to retire earlier.
However I was awakened by a study Shell Oil conducted on their employees which found those who retire at 55 are 89% more likely to die in the 10 years after retirement than those who retire at 65.
The study went on to find that people working until the age of 65 were 89% more likely to live 10 more years after retirement even though they were 10 years older than their early retirement counterparts.
So what are we to conclude?
The only difference between the two groups was their age at retirement.
I think it’s all about “purpose” and “self-worth.”
Too many of us males find 90% of our identity in what we do – our jobs. For Craig, it’s more about who he does maybe, but for many of us, it’s our job. When we retire, that sense of identity, that sense of purpose is gone. And the let down often manifests itself in the same manner we see when one loses a spouse.
Our spirit surrenders and we die.
Is work your purpose in life? If so, I’d encourage you to find a more meaningful one. In today’s world, jobs are a fickle mistress that can change in an instant. If it’s the only place you find value you could wake up overnight feeling pretty vacant.
For me, I spend an increasing amount of time preparing for that time.
Writing has become one of those new found friends that I intend to take up a good deal more after my retirement. With two books on the drawing board and an increasing number of small town newspapers running my essays, writing and volunteering is going to my “purpose” but still not the source of my self-worth.
I guess that’s what I found news worthy this past weekend when President George Bush held his first art show with portraits of world leaders. GW has never been the typical prez, his time off was spent in Crawford Texas chopping wood and cutting grass.
Stop and think, after you’ve been President, what’s left?
Seeking a new passion is what caused Bonnie Flood’s phone to ring. Flood is a Florida artist and teacher who got a surprise phone call from the POTUS saying he wanted art lessons for both himself and his sister-in-law, Maggie.
Was this passing fancy?
No, Bush tackled it like chopping wood, taking lessons for up to 6 hours a day for a month straight.
He then graduated from his first 50 paintings of dogs and landscapes to his opening this past weekend for “The Art of Leadership: A President’s Personal Diplomacy” at the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum on the campus of Southern Methodist University. Bush’s first public showing of his newfound talent involves 30 oil-on-board paintings of world leaders. Are they masterpieces of portraiture? Hell no. Still they’re a good and decent effort for a true outsider ingenue with no prior training.
We live in an investment driven world, it’s the only retirement advice we get; the importance of saving enough money for a comfortable and secure retirement.
But it seems if the self-worth component isn’t in place, we’ll do nothing but die with our millions, soon to be inherited by our kids.
What’s the point?