The other day a friend of mine made an interesting comment. "I'll be glad to turn 65 as then I don't have to go back to work. I can be retired." This is a friend who left the workforce 4 years ago in a combination of circumstances about government downsizing and her health. She but has felt the not-so-sublte pressure of 'aren't you consulting? or here's a good job that fits your skillset.' Her declaring that 65 was now safe to say one is retired. There is a lot of jockeying and competition amongst colleagues and friends about who is still working and for how long. Then there are those that circumstance have favoured and have left the paid workforce sometime before 65. Even though choices and legislation have made working longer possible, it caught my attention that 65 was still a significant demarcation line in the sand. If not in terms of work vs retire, certainly as marker of our next stage of life.
Going back to the 80's and 90's I remember the sparkly days of 'Freedom 55' being championed and desired. Watched a whole generation aspire, indeed take up the cause, of endless playtime. My folks sure wanted this but circumstances precluded them from leaving their jobs that early. That said they were 'outta Dodge' before age 65. The cache of saying you could retire sooner was a desirable thing.
As my cohort has been facing this time the situation is now reversed. For those considering leaving the workforce before 65 I hear the inevitable "What will you do with your time? I couldn't just sit around!" Wow! conversation goes from a discussion to running defence about your choice. Boom, judgement passed that retirement means turning into a slacker. Working on and on carries a big badge of honour - proudly worn. I have several colleagues who profess to be somewhat or semi-retired. Then they take great pride in telling you the extensive hours and number of clients/ projects they have. The numbers don't add up to semi anything! Heck be thrilled you still like the game and indeed are thriving. Don't couch it. You're still working- period!
My wander around this, is this. We have choice, maybe more choice than any other generation. People will chose what feels right for them and their journey. Be curious. Invite a sharing of how someone can to their choice. Applaud what they have come to. It would be a wonderful place not to feel as my friend does. That hitting a number - what ever the number, means get folks off your back. Surely we've earned the right to simply travel by our own lights!