Let the Good Times Roll: How Baby Boomers Face Retirement - Guest Post by Louis Mack
I met Louis Mack of Boise, Idaho, on Boomer Café (click here) and I was immediately fascinated by this true “hippy at heart” who is getting close to retirement himself. His specialty? As Boomer Café tells it, it’s New Age retirement for the Woodstock Generation.
Here’s his advice:
If you grew up during the “Age of Aquarius” within the epicenter of the 1960’s counter-cultural movement, your memories of the hippie subculture and the society in which they protested may be hazy. Yet those memories remain etched in our memories as a period of freedom and change that revolutionized the world. As children of this cultural phenomenon, we not only broke away from our parents authoritative rules in exchange for non- conformity but set the stage for social change while throwing the rules of sex, drugs and rock & roll out the window. Like with all things though, the natural ebb and flow of daily life has a way of catching up to all of us.
Bob Dylan said it best, “The times, they are a changing.” Today, the Woodstock generation is transitioning once again, and many of us are choosing to go back to our care-free roots now that retirement is upon us. Baby boomers everywhere are reflecting upon their lives by making the decision to make the best out of the time they have left. Seeking the adventure their spirits yearn for, many are choosing to expand their horizons and consider new retirement options. With a natural curiosity and a hunger for discovery, many baby boomers are choosing to declutter their lives, and overcome the barriers of traditional retirement by moving abroad, or tossing aside the traditional concept of retirement communities in exchange for nomadic lifestyles and communal groups.
Who doesn't remember the Jefferson Airplane's 'Summer of Love' song, reminding us pointedly that "even though those times are gone the spirit still goes on..." That's the Boomer spirit!
While young at heart, the journey from one’s adulthood to retirement can be one of life’s greatest transitions. It can be hard to accept the fact that we’ve gotten older. Between the guilty conscious of not watching our grandchildren grow up, along with the burden of the legacy we leave our loved ones, retirement can be full of difficult decisions when faced with the inevitability of new, and often scary possibilities. This often leaves us feeling both exhilarated, and depressed. Not only do the choices we make now affect those around us but the rest of our lives as well.
When planning your retirement, it’s critical you factor in how you will spend your time, and what you want to do. Accept the energy around you.
What are your dreams, and goals? Think of retirement as a process, not an end.
While there are a lot of changes in front of you, there are also countless possibilities. Transitioning into the unknown requires us to overcome our fear of change. It’s okay to be nervous; many retirees find that while they have a sense of anticipation when it comes to the thought of retirement, they also worry about having enough money to sustain them.
Make a plan. Although it can seem slightly overwhelming at first, a little research can go a long way in providing you with basic assessments, and peace of mind when it comes to daunting questions about the future.
Retirement intimidates everyone. Relax. In the process of winding down from our careers we start to question what we’re giving up and what we’ve accomplished.
In time we come to realize that none of this nonsense really matters. We are NOT married to our jobs. Retirement provides us with the opportunity of truly finding ourselves instead of being defined by our careers. It also provides us with the time to do what we really love and what we’ve always wanted to do.
While 44 years may have passed, the spirit of the Woodstock nation lives on. Take pride knowing you are part of a generation that provided the people of America with a voice. Retirement isn’t an issue unless you make it one. Relax and enjoy what you’ve worked so hard for all these years.
Remember the past, enjoy the present, and embrace the future.
Louis Mack is a freelance writer and independent contractor. As an avid traveler he enjoys exploring new places, while dabbling in creative photography and capturing the world through his lens.
One thing he says sums it all up for me: “We are NOT married to our jobs. Retirement provides us with the opportunity of truly finding ourselves instead of being defined by our careers. It also provides us with the time to do what we really love and what we’ve always wanted to do.”
Precisely. That’s what my boomer novel A Hook in the Sky is all about – a retiree-turned-artist to the dismay of his much younger wife. But he pursues his dream of becoming an artist even if it destroys his marriage...How does it all end? With a typical Baby Boomer ending, but no spoilers, you need to read the book to find out! To get it, click here.
Louis Mack told me, and I quote him, “I am very interested in the rising popularity and surge in boomer literature. Perhaps one of these days I'll find the time to write my own novel. It’s always been a dream of mine. Perhaps a memoir mixed with a little fiction to spice up my memories...”
Indeed, Louis, you should write up your memories and tell us how YOU handle retirement in your boomer way, we’d love to hear about it!