A Very Terrifying Thing

It isn’t often I get two good blog posts out of just one article, but this feature on Boomers Who Won’t Retire on CNN had been very valuable to me.  Many of us, when close to retirement age are prone to issue statements such as, “If I get out of this place alive,  I am never, ever, going to work again.”  And, indeed, that’s a fine sentiment to have … and I wish you the joy of it … but you had better be sure you know what you are going to do with your time and how you are going to identify your standing in life to your spouse, your family and to total strangers who will come right out and challenge you as to why you aren’t working.

Like it or not, to a large degree we are what our work is.  The day after you retire you are, in the view of a lot of society, a leech or a bum, living on the backs of those still stuck in the treadmill of work.

“So what”?   Indeed you should say “So what” often, because it is your life and you earned the positron you are in today … but I can tell you, from personal experience and from the true accounts of many others in the same boat, time may in fact weigh heavily on your mind.  And even though you might “have enough” in the money department and might have actively hated work when you were forced to be a part of it, the nature of humans is to work and work is honorable, healthy, remunerative and, done right, fun.  Here’s a good example:

Planning for retirement has always been focused on money, Marika Stone and Howard Stone, authors of “Too Young to Retire,” said.

But after people nail down their financial need — their IRAs, and their 401(k) plans — the next thing that comes up is: “What am I going to do with the time?” Marika said.

“And it can be a very terrifying thing to people who haven’t given it any thought at all.”

image Sheila and Letty Sustrin, twin sisters who taught kindergarten and first grade side by side for 38 years, said retirement was not only terrifying, it was unimaginable. “We’d been fighting it for many years,” Letty said.

But a financially appealing retirement package convinced them to leave their classrooms in 1998, and they said they had to find a way to pass the time. “We’d always wanted to write,” Letty said. So they did, spinning out in 2002 “The Teacher Who Would Not Retire,” a children’s tale not so far from their experiences. Surprised by the book’s success, they wrote “The Teacher Who Would Not Retire Goes to Camp,” which was released three years later.

“We go to children’s groups and private and parochial schools,” Sheila said. They read to young children, and teach about retirement. Their second careers are as fulfilling as their first, the sisters said…

You know why I picked Sheila and Letty’s story, don’t you?  A number of time already I’ve mentioned writing …and especially self-publishing, either in eBook form or traditional paper-based publishing as one of the most attractive areas of on-line income a retiree can get into.

My children are all up and grown so I haven’t looked at many children’s books until last years when my lovely wife and I moved to our retirement dream home and “acquired” two dear nephews living nearby.  These are both bright boys, 2 and 3, and frankly the status of children’s literature today … aside from the old fairy tale standbys … is atrocious.  If you like kids and you can tell a story … especially one with meaning and with a moral … you can write children’s books and make at least a non-trivial income from it.  I’ll be your first customer if you can write something that appeals to boys and teaches them something as well.  Where, oh where, is Victor Appleton when we need him?

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