Too Old Too Soon?
Are you the type of person who never was able live up to stereotypes? When we think of a stereotype, the classic is the image of your standard senior citizen. That image is as a slowly moving Grandma or Grandpa who is long done working at their career and wants nothing more than to sit on the back porch and wait for the next holiday to see the grandkids. Well, if you are like a lot of senior citizens of the new century, we look at that stereotype and say – forget it!
We are the kind of people who have had the most amazing and exciting lives because we took chances and lived active lives taking on challenges and winning at those challenges. Probably the most puzzling idea of that sweet stereotype of Grandma and Grandpa is that we all are expected to go into retirement at 65 or 70 and stop working because we couldn’t wait to retire. But everybody isn’t exactly like that.
Some of us are in careers that are the calling of our lives and going to work is as much like play as it is work. You love what
you do and the idea of not doing it every day of your life is more like prison than a reward at the end of life. In fact, the very idea of changing how we live because it is “the end of life” seems like surrender as much as it is a long vacation. And we are not the kind to surrender to the inevitability that life will end. The end may come and get you, but it is going to have a fight on its hands.
If you are that kind of person, retirement may not be for you because retirement isn’t for everybody. And just because some people have the image of stopping their careers just when things were getting great as a way to live their last few decades, why should you be forced to live someone else’s dream? That is why we live in a free country. You should not be forced to retire.
If you love what you do, getting up and going to work is as much of what makes your blood go through your veins and your metabolism work right as good food and rest. People by nature are born to work. It’s what defines us and making something to contribute to society and being rewarded for that labor is what makes you tick. So you should not feel bad when you are the senior citizen that throws the stereotype out the window and continues to thrive doing what you love – working at your job.
One way to expand your role in the profession you love is not to step down but to step into the role of senior advisor, chief counsel and wise old owl of the office. Your decades of experiences are a treasure trove of wisdom and a source of teaching for the young pups coming up. This is one reason why in a lot of companies all around the country, management is seeing the wisdom of retaining senior citizen workers rather than forcing them into retirement.
This is a big shift from the mentality that was prevalent for far too long that the old had to get out of the way for the new. Now the old are a precious resource to teach the young how to do things right. By treating senior citizens with reverence and respect, business is learning what many civilizations have known for a long time, senior citizens are a treasure to be prized and cared for, not thrown away.