I’ve always been a fan of Bill Moyers, with his pleasant voice, down-home commentaries and gentle demeanor. He’s like a grandfather, an advisor and a wizard all rolled into one. He’s now on PBS hosting his weekly show, “Moyers & Company.” And though the series will end shortly before his 80th birthday, he and his wife, Judith — a journalist in her own right, and his creative partner — are considering the next big thing. He says it might be a series on aging. I’m hoping so.
Moyers just wrote an interesting article in the AARP Bulletin, “On Not Growing Old.” He says “retirement can be the enemy of longevity.” He goes on to say he either had the opportunity to retire or did retire four times, but he’s still at it, not retiring. I agree with every word he wrote and I’m inspired, even a little giddy.
Yes, this is truly good news for me because it doesn’t look like I will be retiring — ever. Hub Russ has a plan; he hopes to retire in the next ten to twelve years (we’re younger than we look, well, sort of.) But he says since I haven’t paid into a retirement account, I’m on my own. Of course, all of this is a joke because I did work in the corporate world for twenty-five years, but sadly, it wasn’t with just one company.
Retirement: it’s a subject we all talk about. To me, it’s both thrilling and chilling. I don’t know that retirement will be all that different from my life now. I have planned my life in such a way that I work my own hours when I choose to work them. That’s not to brag, but I’ve been self-employed since 1991 — after a layoff from the phone company — for most of these years. I went from being a home-based medical transcriptionist, to present-day author, humorist and speaker, and now I represent a line of skin care products, as well.
My mother told me as a child I was stubborn, hard-headed and didn’t “act” like my sisters or brother. I kiddingly tell her I should’ve been in a school for the gifted and talented. I have no doubt there was some genius mixed in with attention deficit disorder. Just kidding! I never had A.D.D. I’ve always marched to my own beat.
That said, I love to create. So that means wherever I end up, retired or not, I’ll have my laptop with which to write, (or a pen and paper), books to read, music to listen to, and painting supplies. Life really is what you make it, and I’ve been lucky enough to make it a happy and comfortable one for me.
Like Moyers, I don’t plan to slow down. I’m now looking forward to classes: Dancing, painting, jewelry making, bonsai and a host of other ideas. Who knows? Maybe I’ll be teaching some of them. It seems every time I read an interview on an elderly person (which I’ve just defined as hovering close to, or over, 100) they give credit for their long life to hard work, close families, interesting hobbies and an abiding faith. Sounds good to me!
Some of my dearest friends are elderly. I have learned from them old-timey remedies, gardening tips, empathy and most of all, patience. In fact, my parents are 84-years-old, and are two of the greatest people I’ve ever known. I love them both dearly. I know you’re not supposed to correct your parents. But when Mama says, “I’m getting old,” while struggling to get into my car as we head out to lunch, I quickly correct her. “No, Mom, you’re not getting old. You’re getting oldER.” She always laughs, but she knows what I mean. And by the way, that’s our number one communication, laughter. I love to make her laugh and she loves to laugh. And Dad — well, he’s busy with woodworking, his favorite hobby (next to bird watching and feeding.) So he’s definitely not old either, simply oldER.
So when I’m oldER, maybe I won’t need to retire because I’m already living life just the way I like it.