(#199) Retirement? Let’s Rename It

Whenever “retirement” comes for me, I know it will not
be a work stoppage or a forgetting of the past but rather a
grand anticipation and embrace of what the future holds.

At the beginning of this calendar year, I received an email from my employer’s human resources department reminding me that this is the year I will hit my retirement age.  Not that I needed a reminder; and not that I have not been planning for this for decades. But the email still made me stop and think.

Wow!  Retirement.  As cliché as it sounds, it really does seem like just yesterday that I started teaching at Stanton College Preparatory School.  And whether I leave the classroom this year or in five years, there is a bigger point I have been considering for most of the previous decade: What will retirement look like for me?  Besides the financial end (which is huge and will have an impact on what I write below), what will my day-to-day activities look like?

For starters, I don’t like the word retirement.  At least not in the sense that it came to take on with earlier generations.  Retirement always seemed like a cessation of work; sitting back and doing whatever leisure activity the retiree wanted to do.  And I had heard that such a retirement—one lacking a real and sustainable purpose in life—could actually shorten lifespan.  I recently heard that successful retirees chase after more than a golf ball or a secluded beach. Retirement is not the opposite of work–at least not in my eyes.

Photo: Steve Piscitelli

Steve Piscitelli

An article in The Wall Street Journal reported on a study that suggested a purposeful retirement accounted for significantly better cognitive functioning.  A retiree who is a regular at my gym always says, “Motion is the lotion.”  He simply means that if a person stays active, he/she will have a better chance of a more limber body and mind—one that will continue to carry him/her forward to enjoy life.

Whenever “retirement” comes for me, I know it will not be a work stoppage or a forgetting of the past but rather a grand anticipation and embrace of what the future holds.  I have loved (and still do) classroom teaching. When I walk off campus for the last time, I will not be walking away from anything.  All those years will have prepared me for what lies ahead. And I have been preparing for quite a while–financially, professionally, and personally. It is not something I want to consider for the first time when I wake up in the post-working world life.

A much younger colleague recently asked me, “Well, what will you do when you retire?”

Image: jscreationzs/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image: jscreationzs/

Below is my shortlist of what I will do. The interesting point for me is that as I review the list, each one of those actions is something I have attempted to do during my “working years” with varying degrees of success.  A retired professor told me that even though he remains busy with professional activities, retirement has allowed him the time to truly reflect on all that he has read and done during the so-called “working years.”  And it has made him a more effective post-working world professional.

Life has a way of firing-hosing us over the years. The so-called retirement years provide a great opportunity to reflect and synthesize those experiences. And then give back to our community in new ways.

With that mindset, maybe we should not think about retiring. Here are a few thoughts—and I would be interested in yours as well. Consider:

  • Reflecting
  • Reinventing
  • Repurposing
  • Recalibrating
  • Refreshing
  • Redesigning
  • Renewing
  • Reinvesting (beyond dollars and sense)

Make it a wonderful week— H.T.R.B. as needed.

Check out my website (http://www.stevepiscitelli.com/programs.html) for programming information as well as details about upcoming webinars (http://www.stevepiscitelli.com/webinars).

Information on my newest book, Choices for College Success (3rd ed.), can be found at Pearson Education.

(c) 2014. Steve Piscitelli. All rights reserved.

About stevepiscitelli

Community Advocate-Author-Pet Therapy Team Member
This entry was posted in change, Choice, growth, happiness, Integrity, legacy, Making a Difference, resilience and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to (#199) Retirement? Let’s Rename It

  1. marianbeaman says:

    When I’m asked, “Are you retired?” “No, I’m a writer!”


  2. Michael Holtfrerich says:

    I too have been reflecting of this “retirement” concept. I have currently moved to the dark side and am the Dean of Instruction at GCC. I could retire according to the retirement system method of calculation. But, I see myself moving to a different job rather than retiring. I will not retire from education unless I’ve got something planned as a “job” to do. From what you mentioned above, ” Retirement always seemed like a cessation of work; sitting back and doing whatever leisure activity the retiree wanted to do.” is not my idea of the correct thing to do. Good luck figuring out your path. I know that I’m curious to see where mine is leading 🙂


    • Hi, Mike! Good to see your name pop up here.
      I agree…I don’t ever plan on stopping work. I want to remain vital and making a difference. I have been planning for sometime now. I pretty much know the WHEN and the WHAT of my “recalibration/reinventing/renewing/refreshing/repurposing.” Currently nailing down the HOW!
      Hope all is well in your world. Let me know if your institution ever needs a speaker or facilitator….been some time since I have been to Arizona.
      Make it a great day, Mike!


  3. Pingback: (#240) A Blogger’s Retrospective: 2014 In Review | Steve Piscitelli's Blog

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