Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Flunking retirement

As Garrison Keilor said recently, "When I was younger, I was all in favor of it, and now that I'm at that age, I'm not sure."

Garrison and I are both 68. He has announced that he will retire from his radio show, "A Prairie Home Companion," in two years.

We'll see. After all, he retired in 1987, then came back in 1989. Some people seem more able to adapt to retirement than others.

I have some experience with retiring. I first retired in 1989, but it didn't take. After a couple of years of working on my golf game, I was itchy to get back in the real game.

Retirement had seemed attractive to me after a life of skipped vacations, 11-hour days, and head-down slugging to build businesses. I craved relief from the steady grind of keeping customers, employees and bankers happy.

Then, when all that wasn't there, I missed it.

Idling along just didn't feel right. My sense of self-worth suffered. When I got together with my buddies, they were all talking about their businesses --- problems, opportunities, triumphs. I had nothing to talk about.

Plus I missed the people part of it. Business is a very social activity.

So I started another enterprise, and I was happy again.

Now, 15 years later, with a reduced work schedule and a good succession plan in place, I am asking myself the retirement question again.

That eighth decade of life looms just over the horizon.

Problem is, so much about retirement seems negative. The thesaurus provides synonyms: reclusiveness, remoteness, solitude, withdrawal.

We need a better word.

I'm betting both Garrison and I keep going for a while yet.


  1. Oh how I agree. I also like your idea of a new word to replace 'retirement'. Personally I wish it didn't happened so abruptly. Too bad we couldn't ease into and out of a career, eh?

    So glad to hear that you aren't quite ready to throw in the towel!

  2. My wife chuckles when I talk about retirement - she reminds me that I get bored on long weekends.

    Selfishly, I hope you don't "retire" your very enjoyable blog.

    Junior Geezer,


  3. Thanks, Doug. I imagine that your wife, like mine, has you pegged. Glad you're enjoying my ramblings.

  4. Flunking retirement kind of like "Aceing Life"?