I turn 59 this year which means I am just one year away from being 60!
I do remember when I first started work with Department of Social Security, I was asked to nominate the age at which I would like to retire. Why are you asked for this information at the age of 18? The retirement age that you select determines the level of your contribution to superannuation.
Being an 18 year old who could think of far more entertaining pursuits other than work, I chose the earliest possible age that was available – 60.
The past 40 years have flown and the reality of my position is that I no longer have the wish to retire at 60 years of age.
So why have I changed my view from that of a young 18 year old?
As an 18 year old, 40 years ago my biggest influences were my parents and I viewed my parents at the age of 50 as being old… so naturally, I thought by the time I did reach the age of 60 my life would be more sedate and I would be ready to put my feet up, relax and wait for the world to pass me by.
However, as I passed the age of 50 and am rapidly look towards the next age milestone of 60, I am of the firm belief that 50 or 60 should never be viewed as old. In fact, I did read an article that mentioned by the time the year 2050 rolls around 55 will be viewed as the new 21 and 90 will be middle aged – this of course is based on a life expectancy of 150. By the way, by the time 2050 arrives I will be 94 – and therefore considered “middle aged”.
I do not want to be perceived as old, I do not want to be limited as to what I can do, what I can learn, I do not want to limit my goals, I do not want to my own children to see me as old.
You may say I am “vain” not wanting to face the reality of turning 60 and having my body starting to slow.
I disagree, and would argue that if you are healthy, if your mind is active and you still want to contribute, turning 60, 70 or even 80 is not a reason to sit quietly and vegetate. Do not let conventions and perceptions rule the way that you live your life.
I am lucky in that I do enjoy my work and more importantly, work allows more to contribute to a community by sharing the knowledge that I have. It gives me more of an opportunity to meet new people both old and young and learn from them, it provides an avenue where I am can hopefully influence people in preparation for their own retirement not only financially but also from a health and mental perspective – I would definitely view this as “my purpose”.
Work allows me to pursue my own dreams: of travel, looking for new adventures and experiences and to challenge the perception of age and ageing.
I firmly believe that cutting short your one shot at life by limiting your thoughts and action because you are a certain age is a terrible waste!12