Is Retirement a Bad Word?

    Back in my hammock next to the river, I’m reminded of the importance of showing up in all phases of one’s life. Rivers can provide us answers to our questions. All too often rivers prompt us to ask better questions. What are you leaving on the court of your life?   

    Turning on my side I ask my question directly to the river. Is retirement a bad thing? That’s what my eleven year old niece thinks, information she shared on the way to a friends retirement party. Snow slowly melts off tall pines filling up deer tracks below. Hooves make miniature mud puddles which form trails crisscrossing the property. Many would argue retirement is a bad thing; it is after all the final phase of life here on earth. 

    I disagree; this sounds like the old retirement which meant working for the same employer followed by a company pension, severe health issues and short retirement. Retirement today means working for multiple employers followed by 401k’s, manageable health issues and long retirement. Today the object is to stay mentally and reasonably physically active all throughout one’s retirement years.

   This new phase of your life is no different from previous phases of your life. You bring to the table your strengths and weaknesses, you face challenges and have opportunities. Now as you have before, plan accordingly. I encourage you to be forward thinking and as busy as you want to be creatively!

     I love the game the basketball so please indulge me here. I use the following analogy as opposed to say the ever popular fine wine or a late-blooming flower analogy.

    The game of life here on earth (your earth life) consists of four quarters.

Ages 0-20        1st  quarter Learn stuff- everything needed to fit into society

Ages 20-40      2nd quarter Produce economically – manage family & work

Half – Time

Ages 40-60      3rd quarter  Produce economically & plan creative work

Ages 60-80 +   4th quarter   Perform creative work – fully develop & integrate


    Naturally you slow down in the fourth quarter; perhaps you forget a few of the plays, miss a few passes but your wisdom makes up for a lot that you can’t do like you used to. 

    It just feels really great to be on the court in the fourth quarter. Let the magic of muscle memory transport you in time. Freeze the frames and watch the rim open up and swallow the ball. You really can feel the supple leather in your palm when you dribble. You take a shot and you hear the swish…… your sneakers squeak on queue. How sweet it is!

   Tired you bet; you gave it you’re all. You left everything on the court. Inside you regret nothing. Your passion and personal energy is on full display. You’ve fully developed yourself and integrated your life. You are comfortable in your own skin wrinkles and all. You and your teammates smile in a way few can understand.

    When the people you’ve loved throughout your life vote you into the Hall of Fame your jersey is framed and hung for future generations to see, and learn from. Staring intently into crystal clear, braided pocket water, I smile, recalling how yesterday I was getting lost in what I love doing. Tomorrow I will awaken excitedly to the prospect of creatively filling one of my 6,000 blank pages. What you are looking to do with your 6,000 blank pages?


About Roger O'Keefe

My background is in education and finance. I'm a published author and photographer, former radio talk show host, and creative retirement planning expert. My work is a love of labor, I do not sell any products of any kind. I've appeared as a guest on more than 50 national and local television and radio shows. With a Masters in education, I'm a licensed educator and author of the “Future Bright Program” and the California State Department of Education “Teacher Appreciation Program.” I'm a member of the American Association of Retired Persons and the National Care Planning Council NCPC. I'm currently writing my second book and reside in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. My mission is to reshape retirement planning one person at a time. Please visit my website and take advantage of the many complimentary online seminars, resources, and retirement planning tools.
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