When Social Security was introduced in 1935, the concept of “retirement” was essentially new. It was a bold move to protect older people, many of whom did backbreaking manual labor and needed a way to stop working.
The U.S. government knew that most workers wouldn’t even make it to age 62 and, therefore, would never collect benefits at 65. Plus, there was the added motivation of moving older workers out of the labor market to make room for the young.
Fast-forward twenty years, and white-collar workers of the 1950s still hadn’t taken to the idea of retirement, despite the fact that they were flush with cash from generous corporate pensions. At the time, people defined themselves by what they produced and contributed, a very different mindset from our current hyper-consumer culture.
In the late 1950s, marketers – including the founders of the new American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) and Del Webb, who started the very first retirement community in Arizona – started to rebrand “retirement” as the golden years. And that’s how our current conception of what you’re supposed to do in your mid-60s happened.
Fast-forward another 20 years to the creation of the 401(k) in 1978, which caused corporate pensions to largely disappeared. We became responsible for our own retirement savings, which made our investments vulnerable to multiple financial crises and other life circumstances.
So basically our modern idea of retirement was created by marketers based on a temporary set of circumstances that hasn’t existed in over four decades. And now, Generation X may be the first group that can’t afford to retire en masse in our 60s, even as we feel that’s what we’re entitled to do.
But is it really a tragedy, given that the entire concept of retirement had to be sold to who we now call “knowledge workers” in the first place? Plus, the expected time frame to stop working simply doesn’t make sense now that we’re living much longer and healthier lives than people did in the 1950s.
It’s easy to see the unraveling of traditional retirement as Gen X getting screwed over once again. What I’m proposing is to look at it differently, and defiantly.
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Your age — among several other factors — can have a big effect on how many calories you need to maintain your body’s weight and basic functions. Here’s what to know.
How Do My Calorie Needs Change as I Age? (New York Times)
People who live to the age of 100 are the fastest-growing demographic group of the world’s population, with numbers roughly doubling every ten years since the 1970s. Researchers have found that those who make it to their hundredth birthday tend to have lower levels of glucose, creatinine, and uric acid from their sixties onwards.
The media tells you that to start a business, you have to raise money. For some businesses, that’s true. But for many, there are other ways to make it happen. This article explore those options for older people starting up their own thing.
The Japanese concept of ikigai is near and dear to me. It’s basically “the reason you get up in the morning,” which is another way of saying your purpose. This is exactly what many retired people are missing, and that’s why Baby Boomers are returning to work. For us, it’s important to define our purpose right now.
The Joy is in the Details
By Trudi Roth
I recently dined with a colleague and his friends at a tony seafood restaurant. Cutting through the center of the space was a “fish market,” loaded with glittering fresh catch artfully arranged on shimmering ice pearls. As we gathered before the opulent display to snap a group selfie, my colleague’s friend said, “Look, there’s a diffuser!”
Buried discretely below the table was indeed a diffuser, pumping out the scent of “fresh ocean breeze.” And now we knew how a table full of dead sea life wasn’t stinking up the joint.
My meditation teacher often says all we have is our intention and our attention. After a lifetime of multitasking, we’ve become well-trained in taking in the big picture quickly and skipping the details. But this cuts off our curiosity, creativity, and ability to learn new things. And that’s just one detail of why it’s essential to notice the small stuff to deepen your experience of life.
A Few Deets About Details
Remember when you were a kid, and your mom said, “Go out and play,” which led to hours of exploration? My BFF and I spent endless days in her backyard, examining every cranny for things to turn into props for our games about magical creatures. (What else do you expect from kids raised on Sid and Marty Krofft?)
In our age of 24/7 screens, societal stressors, chronic sleep deprivation, and other vestiges of adulting, it can feel impossible to focus. But just because science shows kids are naturally more attuned to details doesn’t mean we can’t re-learn how to “zoom in.” As writer David Cain notes:
There’s no need to break everything in life down to molecules. All of those levels of “happening” exist at once. I think there’s a lot to gain, though, by dialing up the resolution a little beyond our default settings, and attending slightly more to the details end of day-to-day life than habit would dictate.
If this sounds like a plug for mindfulness, then good for you! You’re paying attention, and that’s the first step.
Go Into Detail
Cain advocates for using a sensory experience as a gateway — for example, mindfully eating an orange.
The goal here isn’t to steady the mind or gain superhuman focus, only to rediscover that everything in life consists of bottomless detail, that we can attune to those things on a variety of levels, and that perhaps we put too much faith in relatively low-resolution impressions of them.
The same applies to diving deeper into ideas and complex challenges. In other words, bring your conscious intention to pay greater attention to the particulars. This is an eyes-open meditative practice of living in the world vs. your thoughts about the world. The difference there is all in the details.
The Truth is Always Made of Details (Raptitude)
Joan Jett & the Blackhearts – I Love Rock ‘N Roll
I Love Rock ‘n Roll, 1981
It may be a cover of a song by the British band the Arrows, but Joan Jett owns I Love Rock ‘N Roll. And Jett taught this junior high kid that not only can women be tough, they can kick your ass. (YouTube)
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