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What Does Retirement Mean to You?

retired woman

Article by Jaki Scarcello

What do you see when you look past the edge of the work space you now occupy? Many of us are rethinking our retirement plans these days.

There are economic imperatives. When I look at my post workforce financial situation I have to admit the IRA’s or RRSPs or any other acronym you want to use to describe what should be my leisure year savings account, is not quite up to par. But putting aside the Maslowian needs, I am so full of ideas I just can’t quit yet.

Or maybe I just don’t want to quit yet because now that I am not so concerned about what people think of my crazy ideas—there just seem to be so many more options.

We are 3 girls…same genes…different lives

I know I caught this attitude in the gene pool. My dad was still inventing in his 95th year. I am one of 3 sisters. My sisters are both are retired from long and successful careers as educators.

Classic Model Retiree

Sister#1 is in her mid sixties and is what I would label as a Classic Model Retiree.
[Please note: there is no preference indicated by the numbering system, I am just trying to be organized and the vague age assignment is my feeble attempt to not out my sister’s ages.]

The Classic Model is deeply involved in caring for her grandchildren and her aging mother in law. She lives in the same home where she has lived most of her married life. When she is not at home she is skiing at her winter holiday home or gardening at her summer cottage on the lake. She fits in a little travel and some golf in between these activities, with her hubby who has been the love of her life since she was 16.

Neo Modern Model Retiree

Sister #2 is in her mid seventies. I label her a Neo Modern Model Retiree. She completed her Masters in Divinity a few years after retiring from education, was ordained as Anglican minister and now works full time in a ministry mostly to the aged. She divorced shortly after retiring and has owned 3 different homes since beginning her new work and life journey, indulging in each, her hobby and considerable talent for interior design. Both my sisters are happy, contend and fulfilled in their very different lives as I am happy in mine. We are simply different in the choices we have made for our retirement years.

There are no age limits to creativity

Life in Retirement Years

Here are three more examples of life in the retirement years. These ladies work in the arts. June and Elaine having achieved their 10th and 9thh decades respectively, trump my family retirement examples in inspiration and tenacity.

•    June Schwarcz makes fabulous enameled vessels. She is 91 years old.
•    Elaine Badgley-Arnoux is an accomplished painter. She is in her 80’s.
•    Elaine Madsen is a film maker whose most recent project will inspire us all. She is 74 years old.

I particularly like how Elaine Badgley-Arnoux’s website tracks her work over the years reminding us that no matter what we do when we are 80 or 90 it is still a product of what we have been doing and being all along.
How you chose to fill your time in retirement is a decision best informed by self knowledge. When I take a look at how my sisters and I live today I see the girls we were many years ago at play in our decisions and I see that what we have learned about ourselves in the years in between has also shaped today. In my research for Fifty & Fabulous; The Best Years of a Women’s Life I found that many women in their 50+ years have more courage, more confidence and a stronger ability to sound out and  follow their own voice. These traits may take you in a very different direction in your retired years than you ever imagined.

So bring that girl inside you to the decisions of retirement and check in with yourself and see what new self knowledge you can add to the mix and then look out—who knows where you will end up!


Jaki Scarcello is author of Fifty & Fabulous - the Best Years of a Woman's Life and can be contacted via www.Fiftyfab.com

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  1. Bonnie McFarland

    November 22, 2011

    This is great, Jaki! Each woman doing retirement in a way that suits her. We need to know ourselves, be clear about what we want, and go for it. It’s up to us!

  2. Jo Carroll

    August 8, 2013

    I thought I was retired. Now I discover that I’m a travel writer, and it’s Wonderful!!!!!

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