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Sixty-Two?? Really?? How Did That Happen So Fast???

Sunday, April 07, 2013

OK, it's a bit of a shock.

But sixty-two is the new forty-two, right? Or maybe thirty-two? I'm at least as healthy as I was 30 years ago. And although I definitely don't look thirty-two, I pretty often feel thirty-two.

My dad at sixty-two was retired at least 6 years from a job he'd come to hate. After retirement and prior to his death in 1997, he spent about 30 years doing nothing: watching TV, reading murder mysteries, playing a little golf. My mother (10 years younger, a former school teacher who became a traditional housewife upon marriage ) didn't much enjoy the change to her own routines and volunteer commitments created by dad's retirement. They didn't, frankly, make retirement look appealing. And she died too in 1997, just hours before my dad.

When I was returning to the workplace after time out with a sick little guy (who is now almost 26!) , mandatory retirement at 65 was still legal in Canada. I wanted to retrain for a job where I couldn't be compelled to retire, so I switched from college teaching to law. Which meant that I'd be self-employed.

And it was a good call. If I had kept on teaching (a job where there was a whole lot of grousing and politics and union "entitlement") I'd be retired. But: there is no way I'd like to be out of the workplace. Regardless of legal changes, I'm still seeing people getting pushed out of the workplace at 65 and much younger . . . . But not me. I'm just hitting my stride, really!!

Most of my former college colleagues are retired. And when I run into them . . .yup, they're handling retirement pretty much the way my own father did.

I like working. It can be a tough and stressful job, sure: and I'm not saying I like every minute of every day. But on balance: it's a way of making a difference and keeping the brain ticking over ferociously and keeping me engaged in life.

I'd like to keep working as long as I can.

I like learning new stuff, and my job makes that absolutely necessary. (Also love learning new stuff outside the job. Just acquired an iPhone, for example, and am having fun texting and adding apps, such as the Audobon wildflower site. Really enjoyed that Amy Cuddy TED talk on body language and cortisol levels mentioned in yesterday's blog: the link is there if you'd like to check it out too.)

I'm not remotely ready for interminable vacations on a beach watching the sun set through a glass of wine.

I'm not ready for elastic-waisted pants either. It's fun to dress up for work! For my 62nd birthday I've treated myself to a new soft spring green leather jacket, just about the colour of my new background: so pretty!! It's good to have a (superficial, vain) reason to keep in shape (in addition to all those "better" and more serious reasons, of course!!)

OK, I have many friends ("real" and "virtual", supposing there was a difference) who are doing a way better job of retirement than that. Running. Strengh training. Caring for grandbabies. Volunteering. Consulting. And I'm not being judgmental at all at all. Whatever works.

Here's to sixty-two!! For me, sixty-two my way. At the very least, it beats the alternative which was looming so close in 2009 . . . . yes it does. And I never forget it!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Happy Belated birthday. I have several friends in their sixties and older still working. I am years away from even thinking of retiring. In our region, 65-70 is the norm for retirement and my good friend who will be 62 this year is not looking forward to retirement for all of the reasons you mentioned. I was talking to my hubby about retirement and I told him when I retire, I want to travel the world and volunteer, and that would be in my 70s, My own father stays active by working every day in the town store. He is in his 70s and does this just to stay busy. It helps him feel needed. I couldn't imagine doing nothing when I retire, but I know it does happen. I am glad to see you have a positive additude about getting older.
    1887 days ago
    I will be 66 shortly and still working; I enjoy my work very much. I can feel how my long work experience makes me so much more competent and creative and enjoy it.
    And i keep learning.
    But, i will have to start developing other interests. Losing weight will make it easier to practice sports.
    I also do not feel 66, rather maybe 30 or 40.(only when i look at my face in the mornings, do i have doubts)
    1894 days ago
    Love your attitude. My dad retired from a job he sort of hated too - but he played hard till he died - even had 2 knee replacements so he could keep riding horses. So retirement looked great from his perspective. Like your mom, mine had to do a WHOLE LOTTA ADUJUSTIN' to put up with him being around 24-7.

    I don't have to retire at 66 and I have such a fun job it would be hard to give it up, but my husband is 10 years older than I and though he's fit and vigorous - I'd like to spend some time playing with him too. so right now, the plan is 5.5 more years and then we're gonna do some serious traveling.

    but it's just a plan

    plans are just pieces or paper.

    who knows what the next 5.5 years will open up - I'm sure it will be something fun.

    1895 days ago
    Reaching the age of 62 and feeling as if you are 32 is the best.
    And buying yourself a new leather jacket in your small size is such a treat.
    And how great that you love your work.

    I agree with you about working and learning. I retired from one career --as a gifted teacher at the elementary school level -- and jumped into another: an adjunct instructor in the English department at a community college.
    Just before that switch, I earned a second master's degree at Columbia Teachers College, just before I turned 60.
    My college work requires me to learn new things every year, and I love it. I plan to work as long as they will let me.

    You are also so right about aging and retirement today. We are not at all like our parents' generation. In our sixties (I am 68) we are much healthier and more active than many in earlier generations. We also have many more options available to us.

    Technology, alone, has transformed our lives. Today we can be more connected with others, better informed, and more involved with issues of the day. -- all thanks to the World Wide Web. And as we get older, I think technology will become even more important to us. (My mom, 87 years old, walks with a cane, so she does almost all of her shopping online. She emails her grandkids, designs and creates her own greeting cards, and plays games online. Access to the internet has enriched her life in many ways.)

    Enjoy your new Iphone! And have fun with texting - the new 'phone call.' (None of my kids or their wives answers a phone right away. But I can always get a text response in real time.)
    I guess Tweeting is next....

    Congratulations on your 62nd birthday!
    Here's to good health.
    Here's to many more years in which you are actively performing fulfilling work and participating in life in every way.
    Here's to lifelong learning.
    Here's to being relevant in the world.
    Here's to NEVER retiring in the ways of the past!


    1896 days ago
    Happy birthday!!!!

    And I too loved my job, would have been happy to work a while more - but with DH retired, and a plan in the works - well, it was appealing. I love our travels - but I also miss my students.

    But retirement without a plan?? Nah, no way!!!!!!
    1897 days ago
  • COFFEE_123456
    HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Hope it was an excellent day. 62 is TOTALLY the new 32. It is the age of fun, that is for sure!
    1897 days ago
    Happy Birthday!! How could a year have gone by since the red boots??!? So glad you are thriving in your job. Great that you want to keep working -- and can! Yep, I love retirement, but to each his own. I'm so glad that in your busy, busy schedule you find time to Spark and to exercise and to do all the things you have to do to eat healthy. I admire you greatly. Best wishes for a long, long, happy career and then retirement!! -Marsha
    1897 days ago
  • TANYA602
    Happy birthday!
    I am reading Younger Next Year for Women and it's so refreshing to think that our next 30 years should be filled with as much adventure and living the good life as we were in our first 30 years. It sounds like you are doing it, and with the best attitude!
    I can't wait to see this leather jacket of yours!
    1898 days ago
  • JLITT62
    I retired really early -- in my late 40s! DH may want me to work -/ just to share the misery -- but I'm really happy not working. And no, I don't watch tv all day, either!

    But I think if you love your job, that's wonderful!
    1898 days ago
  • KANOE10
    Happy Birthday! You are happy and enjoying life..enjoying your job. My son is applying to law school and I hope he finds your happiness!

    Have a great day.

    1898 days ago
    Happy Birthday, Ellen! Your real age definitely belies the number and you've got so much life, health and vitality in yours--that's the most important thing in my book! Here's to many more happy and healthy birthdays. I look forward to celebrating them here with you.
    1898 days ago
    Happy birthday! Gosh weren't we just celebrating your 60th? I think it's great that you're just hitting your stride. I feel the same way. I've got so much more ahead of me. And I'm embracing every single day, or at least striving too.

    1898 days ago
    Well congrats to you!! and way to go on getting what you want figured out!

    I'm retired but not by choice and a lot of what you said about your parents is right where I am. I'm going to take a page out of Travelgrrl's book and hit the trails. Traveling doesn't have to be expensive if you're adventurous.

    Thanks for a great blog - but then yours are always good.


    1898 days ago
    Happy birthday, Ellen! I'd like to see a photo of you in your new green leather jacket!
    1898 days ago
    Sounds like 62 'fits' you well - I'll be joining you in December!
    1898 days ago
    Love the energy and vitality in your blog Ellen. Everyone needs to find joy in life and your life brims with it. Close calls with death often heighten awareness of the huge gift it is to be alive and it is wonderful to read how much you appreciate and make the most of every moment of your life. Go for it girl, and a very, very happy birthday to you.
    1898 days ago
    Happy birthday!

    Whatever floats your boat, right?

    As long as YOU are happy and are making the choices. My brother in law is a physician, aged 68, and hates the job now that insurance companies practically dictate care based on what they'll pay for. So WHY is he still working? Who knows, can't be the money.

    I'm 58 and quit my college teaching job last year as I'm not eligible for my pension until age 60. I've never been so busy! Hiking, camping, working out. My husband volunteers, belongs to a garden club and hiking club. We travel and truly don't have enough hours in the day!

    Life is good!!!
    1898 days ago
    As one who retired happily at 62 and has never regretted it, it's still refreshing to read a blog like yours. So here's to all of us 60+ ( or even 60+++) who groove on the life we're creating with whatever God has given us!
    1898 days ago
  • PHOENIX1949
    emoticon emoticon
    1898 days ago
  • DALID414
    1899 days ago
  • NANCY-
    To one of the most vibrant people I know. I love that you choose your path... your red boots... your skis... you probably have another 30 years before you MAY be ready for a rocking chair. Until then kick up your heels because You ROCK!

    Wishing you a wonderful birthday and many more to enjoy.
    1899 days ago
    Happy birthday!! I love your attitude, your intent and your joy for life!!

    My mother is 73 and lives like a 40-year old! That's what keeps her young!!

    I love it!!
    1899 days ago
    Happy happy happy birthday, my friend!
    62 IS the new 32!
    Sounds like you have found your sweet spot.
    I had to retire at 54, after 28 yrs of teaching, to care for my mom the last year of her life.
    That turned into my elder care retirement job- which I did 4 short days a week- leaving plenty of free time for the gym and traveling and 'leisure activities' until my 2 grandkids came along in 2009 and 2010.
    Now I babysit 2 days a week and work 3 days a week (between clients right now).
    Full time again!!!
    I'm 61 now and plan on staying this busy until I just can't do it any more.
    Hope your birthday is a special day.
    1899 days ago
    happy birthday
    1899 days ago
    emoticon The greatest gift of all: knowing thyself. Congrats on your re-invention! And many happy healthy years to come.
    1899 days ago
    Congrats and good on you! What a great attitude! Remember, age is just a number.....growing old is not for sissies!

    here's a link to a board I follow


    Stay strong!
    1899 days ago

    Comment edited on: 4/7/2013 12:36:13 PM
  • _LINDA
    emoticon mm emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    Happy, happy birthday!! Expect to live a lot longer then your poor Father and Mother did. Keeping your mind and body active, eating healthy and challenging yourself is the best way to keep your engine running smoothly! Well done on not going softly into the night. Personally, I think its more fun to go kicking and screaming and fighting at the world's injustices! I recently took an age test, very simple and quick questions, and it said I would live to be 100 if I kept living my life the way I do.
    Here is to enjoying the new middle age!!
    You rock you amazing woman, and you truly don't look a day over 39 (never would guess 60's, no siree)
    1899 days ago
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