Category Archives: Reconstuct Retirement

The Working Retirement: 7 Things To Do Within 5 Years of Leaving Your Job

IMG_0547It’s no joke. You intend to create a different kind of life in the future.

In this imagined life, you cease responding to texts and emails that waste your time. You’ll never again endure a narcissist’s rant.

No long commutes, improbable targets and boring, stupid meetings.

No way.

In this new life, the day unfolds just the way you’d like. You’ll ditch every person who really doesn’t matter to you because that’s what people do when time is precious.

Imagine that.

Ahead is travel, moments to stare at a river running, tea on the porch with old Aunt Phoebe and sharing gourmet strawberry-blueberry popsicles with a four-year-old grandchild who makes you swoon.

You’ll work.  Oh yeah.

This work beams enthusiasm and engagement into your life because you choose it. Best of all, you’ll make some money and avoid the #1 reported worry of running out of money in retirement.

Life will be grand, believe me.

IMG_0691Lights, Camera … Now What?

If you are mid-50s, 60s or 70s and don’t think this way, you should.

Just ahead is a big chunk of freedom, time and more than enough choices to create a life doing more what you want. It’s the last shot at getting it right which makes it different than other times in life.

This new life that heads straight for us but seems far away gets little of our bandwidth.

We make no firm plans. We prepare nothing in advance, put nothing in order nor concoct even one hair brain scheme to test the premise that the last third of life could be our very best.

It’s pure madness. (more…)

Posted in Craft a Post50 Lifestyle, Productive Longevity, Reconstuct Retirement, Self-Management | Leave a comment

Ten Ways to Transition into Paid Work Instead of Retirement

2014-10-04 15.37.08Yesterday outside Publix, I ran into an old friend. We talked, caught up and then he asked about my work.

“I’m helping people uncover possibilities for being productive in work until they want to retire at 85!”

He smiled. Gene is in his mid-sixties and lost his administrative job for a successful land developer when the economy sunk the business several years ago.

“Barbara,” he said, “I’m pretty much wasting away in front of the TV and doing social stuff. I would give anything short of bagging groceries to have work for 2-3 days a week.”

Gene isn’t depressed or unhappy with his life. But he could be happier if he were involved in work that utilized his talents.

If you are unemployed, already retired or looking ahead, the journey to discover work you want to do can confuse and overwhelm even the smartest, creative and most successful individual.

We are in the midst of a cultural shift – creating new paths for work and careers in this age of longevity – where many of us will have an addition 25-30 years of potential productive living ahead.

The good news is the world of work is opening up many possibilities for a late-in-life work-groove that fits the lifestyle you want to create.

This post is for you, Gene. (more…)

Posted in Craft a Post50 Lifestyle, Endless Careers, Productive Longevity, Reconstuct Retirement, Self-Management | Leave a comment

Stuck? Confused? Can’t Find Your Late-in-Life Groove? You Need a ‘Tough Cookie’ Voice.

There is no old age. There is, as there always was, just you.                 -Carol Matthau
There is no old age. There is, as there always was, just you.
-Carol Matthau

Getting stuck in a life transition isn’t fun. Even smack in the middle of a lull when we feel something’s bound to come along to move us forward (we’re not sure what) is enough to make us think we missed a step we should have known about.

The situation prompts us to ask, “How did this happen to me?”

In the last two months I met three people baffled at their current lot in life who did want to talk (quietly) about being lost and stumped. They also disclosed how surprised they are to find themselves stupefied by the future.

With long and successful careers, each established firm future financial footing and chose traditional retirement in January of this year. If you think they were euphoric leaving the rat race behind to fill their Google calendars with what they wanted to do, you’d be right.

They were excited and exhilarated. But it didn’t last long. Their forays into freedom and wellbeing had a shelf life less than those onions you keep in a bin in your garage.

  • As a district manager of sales at Sears for over twenty years, Sara, 60, left in January when new management was at odds with her values. “It was time to go,” she said. By mid-March she’d done everything she ever wanted with a block of free time – clean out the garage, swim off Maui, paint the guest room, and visit old friends. “Now what am I supposed to do?” she asked. Friends tell her it’s time to volunteer but that doesn’t excite her at all. “I’m way off course, no idea what’s next and to be honest, a little dazed.”
  • John, 57, ended his 22 years as a school principal with a celebration. “I’m very pleased with my decision to retire,” he told me. “My heart just wasn’t in it anymore.” John said he was very restless after six months of not working and is concerned that his time ahead isn’t filled with more meaning. “I guess I’m shocked that I’d still like to work at something.” John also thinks about moving from Florida to Arizona. “I always dreamed of living in the desert.”
  • Penny, 59, left her position a small accounting firm in January then found the bliss of not working wore off in a mere 60 days. Her husband has no plans to retire. “He comes home from work full of things to talk about,” she said. Penny does yoga, goes to the cleaners and unloads the dishwasher. “It all makes a life that’s mighty uninteresting,” she whispered.

These spontaneous conversations with each individual at different social gatherings were clandestine in nature. Why? Because who wants to shout out, “Hey, come on over and hear me discuss how adrift, bewildered and stumped I am about what to do with my life.” (more…)

Posted in Productive Longevity, Productivity, Reconstuct Retirement, Self-Management, Uncategorized | 4 Comments

The #1 Myth of Midlife Change: How It Holds You Back and Ways to Bust It Up

IMG_3403“Roll up your sleeves – midlife change is your best and last chance to become the real you.”

Thus begins the article, “The Existential Necessity of Midlife Change,” in the Harvard Business Review OnPoint, Your Next Move, Summer 2015.

I was puzzled momentarily. The term “real you” is odd, isn’t it?

Who are you now if you’re not the real you?

Here’s the answer: You are the “everyday” you.

Most of us have two selves – the everyday self which gets all mixed up in living a life and your true self (also known as the “real you.”)

I read a description of the ‘true self’ as a beach ball submerged beneath the water.

  Because your true self is a like a beach ball pushed deep under the water—you only need to take your hands off of it, and it will explode to the surface. 

 Oh baloney. Most people are not holding their beach ball down.

They can’t find their beach ball.


Posted in Craft a Post50 Lifestyle, Productive Longevity, Reconstuct Retirement, Self-Management | Leave a comment

Expand That Career Arc! The Wonderful Work of Odyssey.

2014-02-01 15.05.52-2Welcome back to Part 4/5 on crafting a remarkable Post50 Life. We explored Geography of Place and Freedom. Today, it’s about being productive in our longevity. We move on to Career Arc Extension, the third of the Four Elements of Post50 Lifestyle.

The purpose of a Post50 odyssey is to discover what the next stage of our life will hold – to find out what’s ahead. The journey is a series of experiences that gives us knowledge and understanding.

At the threshold of finding ‘future work’ for the last third of life, expect to feel dizzy.

  • Should I continue my current profession? (Career success or ‘loving our work’ often makes this seem a good idea when it’s not.)
  • Should I begin to learn skills for a different  industry?
  • Do I have time to build a new career?
  • Why not be content with past career success and become a volunteer?

With longevity available, most of us are set to do some kind of ‘work’ through our 70s and 80s.

Spike Lee said, “As an artist you have to want longevity because longevity allows you to do your work.”

To label myself an ‘artist’ always seemed inappropriate and far-fetched. Maybe you’ve felt this way.

I don’t paint or sculpt. I don’t ballet or write songs. Actually I require professional help just choosing fabric for throw pillows.

But as I ended my transition, I changed my mind. I am an artist.

No higher artistic expression exists than creating a life.

I own my first fifty years and dare myself to crave more and more from my time left. I marvel at my stops and starts, successes and failures, good fortune and bad luck. I am an illustrator and designer who collects stories of my past merging them into a collage of pictures of a future – my future.

I create a life – mine.

It’s the same for all of us. The craft and design of your Post50 life – where a new working identity is vital – is your ‘art.’

Marvelous and a bit heady, isn’t it, to be an artist? We could do wild things with our lives.

Let’s temper that for now.

A carefree focus on ‘art’ can impoverish future wellbeing. And in my mind, the phrase ‘starving artist’ has no charm. (more…)

Posted in Craft a Post50 Lifestyle, Endless Careers, Productive Longevity, Reconstuct Retirement | Leave a comment

Be Dangerous Again: A Renaissance for You in Post50 Freedom

Within us, beneath the noise is the source and core of everything.
Within us, beneath the noise is the source and core of everything.

Welcome back to Part 3/5 on crafting a remarkable Post50 Life. We explored Geography of Place last time and today, it’s all about getting our time back. We move on to Freedom, the second of the Four Elements of Post50 Lifestyle.

Retirement isn’t being retired. It’s already retired. You know that by now, right?

The old idea of “retirement”—a word that means withdrawal, describing a time when people gave up productive employment and shrank their activities—was a short-lived historical abnormality lasting approximately 70 years.

In 1935 a kind of pragmatic judgment using the favorable actuarial age of 65 became the basis on which this age was used for retirement under Social Security.

It’s over.

Poised to live longer in better health than ever before individuals are extending their working lives, often with new careers, phased retirement, entrepreneurial ventures, and volunteer service.

‘Un’ is a prefix freely used in English to form verbs expressing a reversal of some action or state. Unleash this negative force and we have wonderful words such as undressed, unbeloved, unforgettable and undone.

Today, we’ve uncorked the word ‘unretirement’ to explain this seismic change now in its early stages. (The word,’unretirement,’ first used in 1966, is now thriving.)

The ‘unretirement’ you’ll choose is not life as you know it.

You can look forward to a newfound sense of freedom- a freedom that’s been missing from your getting-educated-child-raising-finding-time-for-sex-career-consuming life.

Many smart people squander and misuse this parcel of time – often decades of it. Some people volunteer it away.

Will you be one of them? (more…)

Posted in Craft a Post50 Lifestyle, Reconstuct Retirement, Self-Management | Leave a comment

Midlife Plan: Start Over with Four Elements of Post50 Lifestyle

Gate sign in Lakes District of England.
Gate sign in Lakes District of England.

After two decades of childhood and three of decades of adulthood you’d think we’d have it all figured out. We’ve adjusted, re-adjusted, modified, adapted and tweaked ourselves from infancy to adolescence through young adulthood past the age of innocence only to smack right into midlife.

Managing life transitions? We got it down.

Unfortunately that kind of confidence and bravado can get you into trouble.

Ahead lies a transition never before awarded a generation or attempted. With a bonus of thirty plus years of living after the age of 65, we are privileged to create a new life cycle.

But crafting a new stage of life is not as easy as slipping into one that’s been around.

What is for certain is that advancing toward us in midlife is one of those delicious ‘defining moments’ – one we can choose to use or not to use.

Ted talker, Meg Joy, a clinical psychologist, insists for her twenty-something audience that 80% of life’s defining moments happen before 35. This is ridiculous.

Have you had a happening or two since your mid-thirties that got you where you are now? Any big damn event helped shape you in your 40s or 50s? (Marriage? A baby? Divorce? Love? Heartbreak? Lottery? Career setback? Dad died?)

No one decade defines us.

With high expectations and time not on our side, we should aim to make this upcoming demarcation – from mid-life to late adulthood- one of unparalleled significance.

Other defining moments of your life slipped up on you to catch you unaware or unprepared. Still, you made it through with time enough to savor or recover.

This one’s different.

You will either use this one to create the life you want to live until it’s over – literally game over.

Or you’ll ignore it. And, likely wish you hadn’t. (more…)

Posted in Endless Careers, Productive Longevity, Reconstuct Retirement | 2 Comments

How to Design a Post50 Life That Matters : New, Inventive Approach Solves Problem

Judi Dench on Retire

It seems Judi Dench bristles at the thought of slowing down.

Obviously Dench tells herself something about the future that’s very different from the  conventional narrative of classic retirement.

Dame Judi Dench, renown Oscar-winning film and stage actor.
Dame Judi Dench, renown Oscar-winning film and stage actor.

Hurrah for her, as well as a growing number of individuals who are not going to be defined by an outdated message of “slow down, your work is done and do get out of the way for the young.”

Classic retirement, lacking a factual basis and appropriateness, is in extreme flux and individuals no longer see this as a solid truth to define behavior.

According to USA Today, the latest buzzwords for Baby Boomers are “reinvent,” “reimagine,” “encore” – anything that suggests a second chance or a new chapter.


Posted in Productive Longevity, Reconstuct Retirement, Self-Management | Leave a comment

Set the Stage for Your Endless Career: The First Four Steps

California Chrome
California Chrome

Art Sherman talks with his hands as if holding the reins, a distinctive trait left over from his first career as a jockey.

Riding for over 21 years he rode his share of winners, but rarely the big horses in the big races. He’d occasionally supplement his income playing “race-horse rummy,” a card game that was popular in the jockey’s room between races, for 25 cents a point.

Fifty-five years later Art Sherman was in the winner’s circle, as the trainer for California Chrome at this year’s Kentucky Derby, hallowed ground for equine greatness.

California Chrome won by 1 ¾ lengths fostering hysteria for The Preakness Stakes, the second race for the Triple Crown. On another gorgeous Saturday afternoon last weekend, Sherman’s horse won again in a magnificent race.

Kentuckians, far removed in time and space like me, watch the Derby the first Saturday in May without exception. Sure we choke up as we sing ‘My Old Kentucky Home’ because at that moment memories flood our hearts, but when a horse like this comes along we can turn giddy.

California Chrome now has a shot at Triple Crown greatness, but you have no soul if you don’t root for Art Sherman too. His story is an advanced class on finding what you love to do and day-after-day-after-day turning it into an endless career.

This unassuming man is the oldest trainer to have won the Derby. “I never made it with the big, big horses…but I’m thankful for my career,” Art said. (more…)

Posted in Endless Careers, Productive Longevity, Reconstuct Retirement | Leave a comment

Travel Unnecessary for Fulfilled Life Post50

2014-03-04 16.20.55For many the first activity of a post-retirement life is to pack up and leave home for a far flung experience. For individuals who plan to continue to work Post50 taking a gap year is growing in popularity.

Seems we all want to be on the move. Travel is a top priority for 59% of retirees according to a 2013 study.

With late-in-life freedom, there’s a romantic notion to the idea of leaving home. We hear a siren song from Tahiti, the RV points westward, Italy beckons, New Zealand’s Milford Track craves our boots or ghosts of past lives plea for a visit to grandpa’s cabin deep in the Nantahala Forest with ten long lost cousins nearby.

Must we go? We must.

Compelled to enter a Post50 life with travel at the forefront, we pocket the AmEx, grab a neck pillow, Ziplock our snacks and set off  on a journey.

What I want to know is ‘why?’

What is to be accomplished or gained? Are we off to capture lost adventures of youth? Will you be happier after you see inside the Louvre? Will finding your center happen after 4 days walking on the Inca Trail?

As for that 40% who don’t have travel as a top priority, do they risk ending up on the low end on the totem pole of life satisfaction?

For the record, it is not documented that travel is necessary for a happy, well-lived life. (more…)

Posted in Reconstuct Retirement, Self-Management | 1 Comment