I’m Not a Senior Yet

Back in November I wrote about becoming a senior and some of what that entailed. I wrote too soon.

No I haven’t reversed the aging process, nor have I succumbed to the tranquilizing motto that “60 is the new 40.” Rather I heard Marc Freedman talking about his book Encore: Finding Work that Matters in the Second Half of Life. I read and I endorse the book.

What I want to highlight here is the distinction Freedman makes of “encore” as a stage of life. Typically, we divide life into three general stages. The ages of before productive engagement (birth through an often prolonged adolescence), productive engagement (maturity) and after productive engagement (retirement/old age/seniordom).

Freedman notes that retirement as we have come to understand it, “The Golden Years,” was invented in the 50’s, mostly by Del Webb, the developer of the first big retirement community — Sun City. In those days people worked until 65 and died within the next 5 years. An overgeneralization, yes, but an apt one.

Now we both live and stay healthy longer. The vision of retirement stretches on. So Freedman adds a fourth stage, a stage between maturity and seniordom. This he calls the encore age — old enough to leave the conventional career behind, but too young to enjoy a life of idle recreation. And while most boomers will enjoy this gift of more and healthier years, they face the very real possibility of not having saved enough for their 20 plus years of retirement, and thereby stand in danger of outliving their money.

From these historical circumstances comes the encore stage of life and the encore career — work that matters, that contributes to the life of individual and the life of the community.

The encore years — a valuable distinction at an opportune time.

Click here to listen to an interview with Marc Freedman.

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