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Jeffrey Lant Article Review: Why I shall NEVER retire! A Declaration of Independence
I have seen both sides of the question here. I love my work and will never retire to the sofa. My mother retired 30 active years ago after working 40 years to earn it. And she is one of the healthiest seniors I know because she maintains an active life with multiple generations of her family, with her personal hobbies and her volunteering work for different organizations.
When do you plan to retire? Your answer may predict how fulfilling and prosperous your life will be in your golden years. So much is now available on the internet, it's easy to find somethng you would like to do to maintain your interest in life, or even start a new one.
There are countless examples of going out in style. Winston Churchill rising yet again to power in Great Britain, George Burns entertaining yet another sold out audience, Malcolm Forbes taking flight in his hot air balloon, or more recently Betty White taking one for the team in that celebrated Snickers commercial, these people know how to keep life worthwhile.
As I approach my middle years of life I am very comfortable with this question as it has been asked and answered. I will be working in my business and on my passions until the Lord calls me home. I cannot imagine life without the thought of truly living until the end.
Dr. Jeffrey Lant, CEO of Worldprofit, Inc. Has written a brilliant article which is a true gift to anyone who believes that growing old means you have to retire to a sedentary life void of new challenges and vistas to explore. Regardless of how old you may be, today is a perfect day to declare as Dr. Lant has done, “I shall NEVER retire.” Make this your mantra and intend to live your life as a testament to life long learning and accomplishment.
Why I shall NEVER retire! A Declaration of Independence
by Dr. Jeffrey Lant
I am at the age (64 on 02/16/11) when I am asked one particular question over and over again: “When do you plan to retire?” My resolute answer delivered con brio surprises my questioners: “I shall NEVER retire!”
Because they ALWAYS want to know why… I have decided to write this, a latter-day Declaration of Independence, to provide a ready means of response for myself and all the other people worldwide who are thrilled by what they do and the life they have fashioned and have absolutely no desire to change things, no matter what.
J’y suis, J’y reste.
It was le Marechal McMahon at the siege of Sebastopol in 1855 who memorably barked out this trenchant phrase which loosely translates into “I am here and here I shall remain!” It’s the way those of us feel who are adamant about either retaining our present position or engaging in other constructive work instead of retiring.
You see, we know a secret that the vast horde of the retired either does not know or came to understand too late: work invigorates, energizes, and exercises facilities which otherwise quickly enervate and deteriorate. In other words, productive, meaningful work is essential to staying young, alive, and alert. So, let’s review all the reasons why retirement as generally practiced and understood is one of the worst things you can ever do to yourself.
1) Retirement rots the brain.
If you have work you like, one reason you fancy it is because you have meaningful questions to answer, challenges to face, and labor to do. Work, as Sigmund Freud well understood, is crucial to the well-lived life. Take away work which engages your full attention, experience, and expertise, and you have removed a critical factor of your well-being. Formless leisure can never replace the knowledge that you are engaged in something worth doing.
2) Retirement leads to physical deterioration.
Take a good, close look at the next person aged 65 or older who passes your way. The ones engaged into significant, constructive labor (the only kind of work any of us should ever do) have an aura radiating energy and purpose. They are “with it”. Lights! Camera! Action!
The presentation of our labor less peers is very, very different. Having nothing better to do than contemplate physical infirmities and eternity, they are often peevish, selfish, with vistas narrowing, hope evaporating. In such circumstances, it is easy to see why physical problems and limitations abound.
3) Retirement slashes your income and lifestyle.
As every study grimly shows, the average person hasn’t put away nearly enough money to sustain at retirement their current lifestyle, much less do the extra things (world cruise, anyone?) you desire. Do you want to make do with less? I certainly don’t. Why face the conclusion of life scrimping, having to count every penny and cut back… and back… and back? It’s demeaning and demoralizing. What’s more it’s completely unnecessary… if you keep satisfying labor in your life.
4) Retirement renders a lifetime of experience and expertise superfluous, useless.
The day you leave your present employ, you are at the top of your professional game. You know the most, can do the most, can create the most, and solve the most. You are a person of knowledge, wisdom, and insight. Wow!
Walk out that door… cut the ties with what you have done before and your skill level and all you can do with it starts to deteriorate at once… each day diminishing your knowledge and skills. You are now walking away from everything you have aimed at and achieved for so many years. Does this make any sense at all?
5) Retirement reduces respect, deference, and awe.
Are you good at what you do? Have you worked a lifetime to perfect your skills, to be and do better than others in your field? Are you a master of your craft, with the respect, deference and even awe that that generates? Will you like doing with less and less of this, as the relevancy of what you know and can do inevitably diminishes; as you move farther and farther away from the peak of your skills?
When was the last time you watched a retired person at any event in your field? They were no doubt greeted politely, even enthusiastically. But the conversation quickly moved on to today’s questions, today’s challenges… and as it did so the retired person, no matter how supreme he had been before, became inevitably de trop.
Remember when this happened to former star Norma Desmond when she returned to Paramount Studios in “Sunset Boulevard”? It was, in the truest sense of the word… pathetic. Is this what you really want, to be forgotten… but not gone?
6) Retirement reduces your ability to help others.
The best careers are always about the good you do to others. Retire and that important ability declines day by day, painfully, inevitably.
Have people benefited from what you know and can do? Has the need for this knowledge and skill abated in any way? Or is it as robust as ever? If the latter, then why (except for purely selfish reasons) would you ever want to stop helping? Stop improving? Stop transforming and enlightening? It makes utterly no sense… no sense at all.
How a wily German prince, long dead, is influencing your life.
Prince Otto von Bismarck was probably the most important statesman of the 19th century, conniving as he did at the unification of Germany. But perhaps his even more important (and invidious) legacy is the fact that he determined the age of retirement for much of the world. This determination is having a very definite and pronounced influence on… you!
Prince Bismarck, first Chancellor of the Imperial Reich, wanted to dish the fast-growing German Socialists, alarming people with a very different national vision than his own. Old-age pensions provided him with the means of seeming benevolent to folks whose votes he wanted, without costing much.
German statisticians (then as now superb at their craft) made it clear to him that most people would never live to 65 and that that, therefore, was a most admirable date to pledge pensions. And so a sacred cow was born, with Prince Bismarck’s raucous laugh reverberating through the years, keeping millions enthralled to one of the most cynical of men and his very cynical policy: promise what you will never have to give.
Today, you are young at 65… act like it!
Today’s 65 year olds are completely different from those of over a century ago. For one thing, we are alive. For another, we are healthier, more fit, more active…. and thus in no particular practical need of retirement or the trickle that is Social Security.
It’s time, therefore, to take a new view of retirement; to see it for what it is, not the solution to but the enemy of our well being. Join me: say no to retirement. It’ll be the very best decision you have ever made and will put you in the company of sovereigns and pontiffs, none of whom ever retire either!
About The Author
Harvard-educated Dr. Jeffrey Lant is CEO of Worldprofit, Inc., www.Worldprofit.com where small and home-based businesses learn how to profit online. Attend Dr. Lant’s live daily webcast and receive 50,000 free guaranteed visitors to the website of your choice!
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