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Old 07-27-2014, 10:20 AM
 
Location: Glenbogle
730 posts, read 1,030,377 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newenglandgirl View Post
What are we doing, really, other than checking out and pursuing leisure?
A thought provoking question indeed. But I can't help but ask: What did our parents and grandparents do when THEY retired? Other than, in many cases, moving to Florida and spending their days paying bridge, canasta and golf? Perhaps the super-rich continued to contribute, but the vast majority of middle-class people of both those generations did "check out and pursue leisure".

That's what my grandparents (born in 1900) did. My stepgrandfather was a colonel in WWII but my grandmother never had a profession. They moved to Florida and played cards and golf, and were happy as clams.

As soon as my dad (who was a repairman) retired, he took vacations. My mom, too, never had a job other than working in dress shops or department stores part-time. My dad was happy with what he did, but was even happier when he had the time to do what he liked best, which was to travel, read, and watch television. They both died before computers became commonplace, by the way.

I don't see that our generation is doing any less in retirement than the generations preceding us. And in our day, we did a heck of a lot more in terms of social progress.

Personally I think the world will have suffered a net loss when our generation is finally "history". But that's just me. :-)
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Old 07-27-2014, 01:14 PM
 
10,824 posts, read 8,088,333 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newenglandgirl View Post
I don't feel "irrelevant," but I sometimes wonder, as we boomers age, if our whole group is becoming irrelevant to the world. What are we doing, really, other than checking out and pursuing leisure? Of course there are many boomers doing relevant volunteer work, but I'm speaking of us as a whole. I do think that the younger members on the globe will be relieved when the boomer generation has passed. Every aspect of the economy will change, and perhaps for the better.
Pursuing leisure activities - travel, hobbies, eating out, movies, spectator sports, gambling, etc. - contributes mightily to the economy.

edit to add: Just checked an economic overview. U.S. domestic travelers spent $748 billion in 2013 on transportation, lodging, meals, entertainment & recreation, and incidental items. I'm betting we geezers are well-represented among those spenders.

Last edited by biscuitmom; 07-27-2014 at 02:00 PM..
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Old 07-27-2014, 04:37 PM
 
Location: Prescott AZ
6,138 posts, read 9,111,221 times
Reputation: 11591
Default Not my Mom !

Quote:
Originally Posted by Never2L8 View Post
A thought provoking question indeed. But I can't help but ask: What did our parents and grandparents do when THEY retired? Other than, in many cases, moving to Florida and spending their days paying bridge, canasta and golf? Perhaps the super-rich continued to contribute, but the vast majority of middle-class people of both those generations did "check out and pursue leisure".

That's what my grandparents (born in 1900) did. My stepgrandfather was a colonel in WWII but my grandmother never had a profession. They moved to Florida and played cards and golf, and were happy as clams.

As soon as my dad (who was a repairman) retired, he took vacations. My mom, too, never had a job other than working in dress shops or department stores part-time. My dad was happy with what he did, but was even happier when he had the time to do what he liked best, which was to travel, read, and watch television. They both died before computers became commonplace, by the way.

I don't see that our generation is doing any less in retirement than the generations preceding us. And in our day, we did a heck of a lot more in terms of social progress.

Personally I think the world will have suffered a net loss when our generation is finally "history". But that's just me. :-)

My Mom spent 40 years as a bookkeeper for a hosiery business in the Chicago Loop and when the co. closed down, she was the last employee to shut out the lights and lock the door. She was retired.

Then she started organizing stuff in her community such as the Women's Club (she was Prez), the Girl Scouts cookie chairman, the publicity chairman for the Scouts, and ultimately the Senior Citizens organization which she ran for at least 20 years. She planned meetings, did fund raising, found entertainment, took bus trips and at age 100, was sadly wondering what she would do with her time if she resigned. She was concerned the club would fold cause no one else wanted her job. She was right. She passed on at age 102 and the club is now extinct.
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Old 07-27-2014, 06:02 PM
 
Location: Near a river
16,042 posts, read 19,014,482 times
Reputation: 15649
Quote:
Originally Posted by Never2L8 View Post
A thought provoking question indeed. But I can't help but ask: What did our parents and grandparents do when THEY retired? Other than, in many cases, moving to Florida and spending their days paying bridge, canasta and golf? Perhaps the super-rich continued to contribute, but the vast majority of middle-class people of both those generations did "check out and pursue leisure".

That's what my grandparents (born in 1900) did. My stepgrandfather was a colonel in WWII but my grandmother never had a profession. They moved to Florida and played cards and golf, and were happy as clams.

As soon as my dad (who was a repairman) retired, he took vacations. My mom, too, never had a job other than working in dress shops or department stores part-time. My dad was happy with what he did, but was even happier when he had the time to do what he liked best, which was to travel, read, and watch television. They both died before computers became commonplace, by the way.

I don't see that our generation is doing any less in retirement than the generations preceding us. And in our day, we did a heck of a lot more in terms of social progress.

Personally I think the world will have suffered a net loss when our generation is finally "history". But that's just me. :-)
Well that's sort of my point. Our parents and grandparents didn't try to change the world. They lived their lives and worked hard but most went along with what was. Most of the boomer folks I know were involved in education, innovative artistic expressions, bringing multicultural events to their communities, experimenting with and developing technologies (from computer programming to solar power, etc), being aware of the earth's resources and getting involved in that and environmentalism, influencing consumerism around food and local food production, etc etc. We did so much in our 20s through 50s and now retired, yes it's good to pursue leisure but most I know have dropped all other pursuits in favor of it. I'm not judging it, just thinking about it in wonderment. Where did all that ebullient energy go?
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Old 07-27-2014, 06:04 PM
 
Location: Near a river
16,042 posts, read 19,014,482 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by biscuitmom View Post
Pursuing leisure activities - travel, hobbies, eating out, movies, spectator sports, gambling, etc. - contributes mightily to the economy.

edit to add: Just checked an economic overview. U.S. domestic travelers spent $748 billion in 2013 on transportation, lodging, meals, entertainment & recreation, and incidental items. I'm betting we geezers are well-represented among those spenders.
Yes, that too—passive contributions.
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Old 07-27-2014, 06:46 PM
 
1,981 posts, read 2,734,716 times
Reputation: 3559
Quote:
Originally Posted by gentlearts View Post
When the children are grown and gone, the pets have died, and you don't have a job to prove your worth, what coping skills do you find successful?

Us:
Kids and grandkids live far away
We're always watching our weight, so I have lost my urge to cook and bake
Our old friends are spread around the country, so frequent socializing is over.
We have both retired early(against our will), although DH has a part time job.
We live in a new state where we don't know anyone to hang out with.
We choose to be pet free right now, so we're freer to come and go, but our travel budget is limited.

We keep pretty content by the fun of working together on home improvement projects, but really, I'm not sure how we'll fill our time when we run out of them.
We have each other, enough money to get by, and fairly good health, but the things we do just seem like filler. They aren't really fulfilling. We miss being important to our kids and our work.
I understand completely. Really. I felt that way for the first 3 years of my retirement. Then I got really sick and was pretty much homebound for about 3 years. And it was the best thing that ever happened to me: I was forced to come face to face with myself, and I was forced into relative silence and solitude.

I know I've said this before in the Retirement threads, but I'm going to say it again: Very early on in my illness, I read a book entitled Celebrating Time Alone by Lionel Fisher. I loved the book -- it's been on my night stand for years now. When I finished my initial reading I e-mailed the author and asked, "Are you going to write a sequel?" (It really begged for a sequel.) He replied, "I'm X years old. I'm preparing to die. Is there anything more important than that?"

I really was shocked by his reply. He wasn't old. Why was he just preparing to die. And suddenly the lights went on and my life was changed forever. For the better!

We don't have to be relevant anymore. Oh -- I volunteer and I do Tai Chi and I do aerobic exercise and I take an on-line math course (and other courses on line) and sometimes I do some initial editing for writers. I have recently become a little too busy so I'm going to cut back. But, anyway -- I'm preparing to die. And I love it.

Preparing to die has nothing to do with throwing in the towel and sitting on our behinds until they rot, in abject depression. For me -- my whole world has lit up, because I know I'm not going to be here much longer. There is SO much I still want to see and do -- and read. (I may even write a book -- because I would love to -- about New Mexico architecture -- how many people know that New Mexico is full of gorgeous old Victorians?! LOL) But I'm not at all concerned about being relevant, not anymore.

We all read about the postman who is delivering mail at 100 years of age. The lawyer who still goes to the office 1/2 day, 5 days a week, at the age of 98. But they are anomalies. For most of us, life is really going to start going down hill between 70-75 and 80-85 years of age. (My ex-BF is 77 and still down-hill skiing -- again, he is one of the rare ones.) By 85, 50% of us are going to at least have some cognitive and physical impairments which are going to make living without FT or at least PT daily assistance impossible. We are living longer -- but the quality of our lives is not increasing.

I agree with Alfani. Do what we love -- not what makes us 'relevant' -- and I add: prepare to die. It's NOT AT ALL morbid. It's going to be one of the best times of your life! You will live life and see the world around you like you've never seen it before. It is a GREAT time of life!

Last edited by Fran66; 07-27-2014 at 07:13 PM..
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Old 07-27-2014, 07:09 PM
 
10,824 posts, read 8,088,333 times
Reputation: 17038
Quote:
Originally Posted by newenglandgirl View Post
Yes, that too—passive contributions.
Not sure what that means??

Boomers are actively contributing to the economy through leisure and other pursuits, actively participating in politics, in many cases financially and emotionally supporting children, grandchildren and parents, paying taxes (many of us, even though retired, are still in a high tax bracket), and otherwise actively engaging with society.

How is that passive, or "checking out"? In what way is it less active than the generations before and after us?

edit to add: OK, just saw this:
Quote:
Originally Posted by newenglandgirl View Post
Well that's sort of my point. Our parents and grandparents didn't try to change the world. They lived their lives and worked hard but most went along with what was. Most of the boomer folks I know were involved in education, innovative artistic expressions, bringing multicultural events to their communities, experimenting with and developing technologies (from computer programming to solar power, etc), being aware of the earth's resources and getting involved in that and environmentalism, influencing consumerism around food and local food production, etc etc. We did so much in our 20s through 50s and now retired, yes it's good to pursue leisure but most I know have dropped all other pursuits in favor of it. I'm not judging it, just thinking about it in wonderment. Where did all that ebullient energy go?
I understand what you say but I disagree that the activities you list are more active and less relevant than so-called leisure activities. Volunteering is a leisure activity and a hobby for many. Activities like sports, arts, crafts, games of skill, technology, birdwatching, hunting, gardening, etc. are no less relevant than volunteering. Actually many involve volunteer work, directly or indirectly. Many involve concrete applications of environmentalism and multiculturalism, whereas all we had were only abstract grasps of those concepts in our younger days.

That ebullient energy often gets sucked dry by the demands of being the sandwich generation. Some of us are lucky enough to survive those stressful years with time and health enough to engage in leisure and otherwise relevant activities.

Last edited by biscuitmom; 07-27-2014 at 08:05 PM..
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Old 07-27-2014, 07:09 PM
 
Location: southern california
55,720 posts, read 74,728,647 times
Reputation: 48257
its easy let me show you how.
one minute.

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Old 07-27-2014, 07:26 PM
 
Location: Los Angeles area
14,018 posts, read 17,775,806 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Never2L8 View Post

Nothing wrong with being a hermit or a recluse (to any degree), btw. Just because it's different from the societal mainstream doesn't make it wrong or "abnormal". It's 100% right and proper for those whose temperaments make it so. :-)
Sure, if the hermits and the recluses have the right temperament for it, then that's what they should be. But it is certainly statistically abnormal in that only a tiny fraction of us have that kind of temperament.

Medical epidemiologists have determined in numerous studies that being isolated is deadly in the aggregate. (See "Younger Next Year" by Crowley and Lodge, just for an example).

I would never try to convince a hermit or a recluse to change his or her ways because it would be none of my business. But the fact is that VERY FEW people will thrive under those conditions. We are not talking about valuing time alone and enjoying some solitude; I value time alone, and I enjoy some solitude. But that is not the same as living an ISOLATED life. We are a social species by genetic inheritance.
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Old 07-27-2014, 07:48 PM
 
3,279 posts, read 6,623,204 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gentlearts View Post
you don't have a job to prove your worth
I never have understood how so many retired people complain about losing their identity or worth by no longer having a job.

I have always viewed work as a necessary evil. I can't stand being told what to do by another adult, I can't stand spending so much time with coworkers who I have nothing in common with and who would stab me in the back in a heartbeat, I can't stand waking up every day at a ridiculous hour, and I can't stand the mundane work day in and day out.

I know everyone is different, but work has always just been a means to an end for me. It pays for my life. It is not my life by a long shot.

The thought of no longer having to work is bliss. Isn't that why most of us plan for retirement in the first place?
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