Gail's Blog

The Fatal Decision to Retire!

For the past 20 years I have been writing and speaking about the foolish notion of retirement.  My old adage is that the Soul

What happened to my retirement?

What happened to my retirement?

doesn’t come here to retire.  It is a man-made construct and gives people the false sense that somehow they can stop working, planning, being productive and creating new careers.  The Soul doesn’t come to earth to retire.  It has a long blueprint even going out 120 years and some of the most productive years are from 60 onward.  Finally, there are some statistics to support this thinking.  Not only have we shortened our lives by planning on retirement, getting monies together so we can live on less, or have enough to last as long as we do–or not, heaven forbid; we begin to accept the deterioration of our health as if that should go along with our ideas about retirement.

In today’s Wall St. Journal is the headline “Why So Many U.S. Men Die at Age 62″ Demetria Gallegos.  Yep, that goes right along with the magical age when you can begin to collect Social Security.  In seems that the National Center for Health Statistics has kept statistics on monthly deaths as men approach and pass age 62.  The reason they focus on men is that the escalation is much more dramatic for men than for women.  The fatal catalyst, they believe, might be the availability of Social Security.

As people retire, they believe, there is a huge change in people’s lives.  It doesn’t just affect your financial health, it also affects the physical and psychological health.  A lot happens by age 62.  First of all, you have just finished your 2nd Saturn return.  This is a tiring and challenging 3 year period for people and begins around 58, sometimes 57, and is usually over by 60 or 61.  This is the review of your life over the last 30 years and assessment of what you haven’t and have done.  This is usually when people think that the best years are behind them.  Their talk is about retirement or how many years before they can retire.  Their friends are doing the same thing.  There maybe fewer financial resources at this time and one-third (wow) of Americans immediately claim Social Security at 62.  10% of men retire in the month they turn 62.

Even though retirement can bring benefits such as taking better care of your health, in the long run retirement has a negative effect.  We stop looking at new careers, we expect to deteriorate as we watch others do the same, we slowly withdraw from the world because there seems to be not much reason to engage.  We might be paid a pension so we don’t have to engage in the world as much.  We become more sedentary and increase in size.  We basically become subsidized into our later years.

Now, pretend that we don’t ever expect to retire.  At age 60- to 62 we have new career plans that are just as exciting as when we turned 30.  (Remember a Saturn return happens every 30 years and is a review of your life looking back over those years). We took better care of ourselves up to age 60 so we have energy, time and drive to create new opportunities for ourselves.  We know ourselves better, we stop doing stupid activities that waste our energy, time and money.  We are better with money and we stop worrying about will it last because we know we are resourceful.  We stop depending on a pension, Social Security etc.  We bank it, give it to charity and continue to go forward and create more prosperity for ourselves.  We get our emotional house in order so we don’t develop some of the chronic diseases that come with today’s aging population.

The takeaway from all of this is that retirement may be bad for the health of men, particularly for men who retire at age 62.  Woman, who for many have been delayed from entering the work force, do not seem to have the same profile.  They do, however, need to have career plans for ages 60 to 90 years of age.  All of us need to do this.  So if you are cruising around these ages, get a grip on your future.  Plan on working into your 60′s, 70′s and 80′s.  It is only when you are in your 90′s should you entertain the thought of retirement.  Anyway, our wisdom years are in our 70′s.  We get wiser by the time we are in our 80′s.

Some of you may balk at this idea and are worn out and need to retire.  Why did you wear out?  Assess yourself and your decisions and choose again.  The body needs to be relevant here on earth or it will unilaterally make the decision to leave and prepare to do so.  If that happens, no matter how much the ego and personality want to stay, the gig if up and ending.  Sometimes that is just a short period of time or sometimes over a few years.  The body is always listening to what you tell it.  Speak to it of dreams, plans and how important it is to you–because it is.  Try hanging around here without one.

14 Responses to “The Fatal Decision to Retire!”

  1. Ken says:

    I never retired. I just started doing what I want to do, when I want to do it. Yes! I left my traditional job.

  2. Sharon says:

    A friend mentioned yesterday she was offended by this article, as she had to retire from dental hygiene because of carpel tunnel, plus also previously had breast cancer so it’s true that for some people, health issues and medical concerns can affect retirement. However, my mentor and former physician, with whom I did holistic discussion panels and dream classes back in the 90′, Dr. Gladys McGarey, is 96 and thriving and is an ongoing inspiration and very active with new contributions and projects every year.

    One of my favorite books on this topic is by Angeles Arrien entitled, The Second Half of Life: Opening the Eight Gates of Wisdom. She takes you step-by-step through each gate to deepen your most valuable relationships, reclaim your untended creative talents, and shift your focus from ambition to meaning to grow into the exceptional elder you’ve always imagined you would one day become.

    Personally, I don’t care being referred to as “elder,” but Arrien’s book is a GEM, filled with wisdom and an introspective guide and workbook to savor and appreciate and return to periodically. I’ve had it for years (2005) and dip back into with new insights as life unfolds. At 78, I love having a meaningful life, but I also experienced that in my career in IN. before moving to Az. When my husband and I ‘retired’ here in 1989, I pursued a master’s degree, he took up watercolor painting which became a passion, and 10 years later I wrote a book that became a best seller in 1999. I think having a ZEST for life makes a huge difference whether one is “retired”or not. However, it’s lovely to have the gift of time and not be on a schedule to have more BEING time.

  3. Priscilla says:

    Thank you Gail! I have always felt the pull to continue in my career beyond the “retirement age”. I do joke that they will have to drag me out of here but it’s the journey I am on and one I want to remain on for as long as I can. I did enjoy some of the suggestions in the earlier posts but for now it’s full speed ahead.

  4. Bob Malone says:

    Right on!

    And a thought to add. YOU DON’T HAVE TO RETIRE ALL AT ONCE. You can retire one day a week at a time, even one hour at a time. Job sharing, reduced hours/day, delegating responsibilities, moving to a position near your home (reducing commuting) – all can ease the transition from meeting the goals others demand from you to a life you chose for yourself. Many employers will be glad to have you phase out instead of leaving all at once – particularly if their markets or businesses are maturing. They can keep your experience and expertise on the payroll at the same time as they they’re reducing costs.

    Just ask, or better still, suggest the changes you want.

    “Retired” at 55 – Working at 86

  5. Gerry Fightmaster says:

    I retired at 65. I was totally fed up with untrained coworkers, supervisors with no experience, and the general inability to think ahead. I was considered a bad influence on the younger workers, because I would tell them how to stand up for their self against corporate abuse. I am overall much better off, emotionally, mentally, and physically. I do continue to be of service to others, and am now free, to toil in the garden or not.

  6. I have never forgotten the first time I heard you say this 10 years ago at Unity in Lake Forest. It is the ONLY thing I remember that long ago, and even though I have had several careers and keep reinventing myself each time, it is my mantra. At age 66 years young I just launched my newest website, my animal rights activism keeps expanding, and I am writing my third book,This Side of Midnight:Homeless Doesnt Mean Hopeless. I made the decision to spend the second half of my life to being of service to others,right up until my last breath. Carry on, dear sister!

  7. Janet says:

    Hi Gail,
    Your article really resonates with me… I’ve always loved my work, but at 50 I’m making plans to ‘retire’ from my job at 55 so that I can redefine myself. If I share this with my colleagues (I don’t any more), they’re shocked and I have to resist that self-doubt that creeps in because I’m not following the norm. Most of them are just working away their time until they reach retirement age and then they have no idea what they’ll do after that. It’s unfortunate because women (especially) have so much to offer the world. And this is a significant time for us to collaborate and get more involved with politics etc. and adopt a more global view in changing the future of our planet. I am so excited as I enter this next stage of my life as I see big things on the horizon. The idea of working a job until 62 and then retiring frightens me. There has to be more to life than that? I don’t know where my path is going to take me but I don’t plan to stop ‘working’ until I drop. Only it won’t be a ‘job’, it’ll be serving my higher purpose on earth.

  8. Gail Minogue says:

    Hi Lorinda,
    I have great empathy for your situation and hear it often. I know this will sound corny but get the book “Open Your Mind to Prosperity” by Catherine Ponder. Written in the 60′s and pushed aside, I have found over the year if you really follow the steps/wise words from this book, your situation will/is improving. Read 2 pages every day–every day. Keep watching what you say and know that “Divine Wisdom and Love are blessing all your situations” All of them. Thanks for writing and commenting.

  9. Gail Minogue says:

    Thank you all for writing. I totally agree with being grateful for better or worse. As we age, we hope to acquire the wisdom along with the recognizing of our talents. The Wall St. Journal I cited for this article came from “The Mortality Effects of Retirement: Evidence from Social Security Eligibility at Age 62″ using data from the National Center for Health Statistics. Retirement can be really enjoyable if we are doing work that is now more of our “true path” rather than the “right path”. We get to choose again at around age 60 to 63 the path we wish to take for the next 30 years. It is also attached to our invisible Soul Cycles which come every 7 years. The 9th and final completion of a major portion of one’s life is at the age of 63. It is important to have a dream, goal or vision for those next 30 years.

  10. Debbie says:

    Ps. I just wanted to say, I always…enjoy your blogs & perspectives & “Thank You”, for them. I basically think you need to be greatful for whatever, it is you have in your life…There is always someone else better off or worse off than where you are & maybe, that’s the difference…not sure, but for me, it always has been. If instead of always complaining, you try to find the tad of goodness, in even the worst scenario…there may lay the difference.
    Like all things in life, it’s just how you look at it & handle it.
    For Me…I’m happy to have a bit more of my inner child back than I had before. And, even w/ all the responsibilities I had, I enjoyed & learne from.
    Is the glass half empty or half full…or does it just have something in it ? That’s for each & everyone of us to choose. Blessings To You !

  11. Lorinda Pollack Donohoo says:

    This article hit me like a ton of bricks. The TRUTH was spoken. Retirement age came at the time of economic decline in 2008. When the business closed I
    had a hard time because life changed so drastically without knowing it. I went to several states and could not find work. I was desperate and took my old job back. When that was over I searched for part time jobs to help. Nobody was hiring, especially a senior. I am still jobless. If you think you can live on social security, good luck. I can hardly afford food.There are no extras. I need a car and found out getting a loan on social security is a nightmare. Money to go to show or any event is prohibitive.
    I hate not working. I am far from wanting to retire. I keep busy in church and socially but it is far from living a better life. Yes, keep your big dreams and do not stop. I know God and the universe hear me.
    Bless all retired people!

  12. Gaye Rehder says:

    While I agree with you in theory, I believe that working into your 80′s is not for everyone. I retired in my 60′s and have a passion for travel. I have been traveling extensively every since retirement. I am still learning by meeting new people and seeing new places.

  13. Debbie says:

    For ME personally & all my friends that surround me & relatives, too. I couldn’t disagree w/ you more !!!
    They & myself, are all retired…some, collect SS, some don’t. They all are Happy, Healthy & Active !! All of them have started on new journeys of their life, travel, a full time hobby (they have turned into a business), volunteering…etc, etc. My Dad, retired at 55 & just passsed away at age 92 & kept himself busy from dawn til dusk.
    I’m 64, soon & LOVE IT !!! I married late, had children late, spent my entire life working, volunteering & doing for others. My kids are still in college & Gras school & for the first time in my life I am free to do exactly as I wish. I travel, adopted more pets, volunteer, write, paint, take classes on line & at the college, joined a Mardi Gras Krewe (that does a whole bunch of volunteering) & I don’t collect SS, yet.
    I absolutely LOVE my life…I am alive for the 1st time in years, as I am doing what I WANT to do…not what I have to do !! There is a huge difference !!!
    Sorry, To Disagree…But, RETIREMENT ROCKS !!!
    & if it doesn’t….your life before it probably sucked, too !!!

  14. Hello Gail. remember me?????
    I totally agree. It never came up in my mind that I stop “working” at a certain age. First of all I have “never” worked. All I ever did to pay my bills, I loved. Even though I have changed jobs over the years, I learned everywhere. I still use some ideas that, I learned 50 years ago. I start to not even mention my age after turning 7…….0 and now it becomes 7…………2 when it comes up and I need to look at it for a moment. My Mother (98) is saying, that she has all retired children. Ha Ha. Not me. There is so much to do and lately I see myself creating more things. Different avenues of teaching yoga, giving a weekend retreat. I love to organize and getting the people together and invest in something that makes you a better person, a better YOU. It is amazing how things fall in place. When I ever have a “dull” moment and think that people may like to go to a younger person for a yoga class. Then again after teaching my next class, I think, why would I stop when I feel this awesome when I do the things I love. The more I can learn about myself the more I can share with people and the better I feel. When I teach I feel, I am the student and everyone else is teaching me. It is wonderful. Thank you Gail. I always love to read your e-mails. Love and Peace to you.

Leave a Reply