Reframe the Game

Reimagining the “R” Word

Retirement. It’s no longer a “retreat” from life (if it ever was). As we’ve explored multiple times, people are retiring later or downshifting from full time to part time employment, or moving into a consulting role or some other line of work, rather than simply leaving the job market altogether. And those who do fully retire from the work world are still fully engaged in life — sometimes so busy they wonder how they ever fit a job into their day.

Here are some suggestions gleaned from a retirement workshop for how we might reframe “retirement”. Ideas take their inspiration from sports, advertising, and plain old ingenuity. Reverse mortgage professionals who enjoy creativity, consider these concepts:

  • Act 2
  • Between jobs
  • Bonus years
  • Continuum
  • Creative aging
  • Downshifting
  • Encore
  • Field of Possibilities
  • Growing bolder
  • Inspirement
  • Life 2.0
  • Living more
  • My time
  • Next Chapter
  • Next stage
  • Post-grads
  • Prime time
  • Protirement (it’s not for beginners!)
  • Rebalancing
  • Re-engagement
  • Refirement
  • Regeneration
  • Repotting (in new soil)
  • Retreads
  • Rewirement
  • Sage-ing
  • Seasoned
  • Success to Significance
  • The Creative Age
  • The Gifted Years
  • Third Half
  • Third Quarter
  • Unstoppable

My personal favorites for many years have been “chronologically gifted” and “over the speed limit”.

Attitude of Gratitude

Becoming chronologically gifted is about more than a date on the calendar, obviously. Dorothy Sander, whose website is Aging Abundantly, exemplifies the attitude of gratitude that defines seniors who become elders, not just elderly. On her 65th birthday this past summer, Sander penned a post entitled, “65 Things I’m Grateful for On My 65th Birthday”. Her gratitude bowl begins with her family: a loving husband, motherhood to “two sons who make me proud every day”, a beautiful daughter-in-law and good health.

Those take up the first eight spots. Then Sander branches out to embrace the wider world: the kindness of strangers; Nature: green grass, sunshine, the ocean, the wind, mountains, sunrises and sunsets, rain and roses; music that lifts her spirit; massage that restores her body; long walks, birdsong, delectable foods, technology that enables her to stay connected to loved ones near and far — and yes, challenges that provide opportunities for growth, resilience and wisdom to blossom.

Dorothy Sander is an elder.

No regrets

The sage-ing, seasoned, repotted, unstoppable seniors who comprise the above list will not look back at the end of their lives and wish they’d gone farther, forgiven sooner, taken that risk. Your role as a reverse mortgage loan originator is not necessarily to encourage your senior clientele to live full out — and yet, in a sense, a HECM can be the means to do just that, since it helps seniors relax about where the money they’ll need in their later years will come from.

The twenty biggest regrets of those close to death all have to do with wishing they’d lived larger on life’s canvas: “I wish I’d…”

  • Taken more chances
  • Persevered
  • Expressed love more often
  • Appreciated what I have
  • Listened better
  • Released a grudge
  • Traveled
  • Stayed in touch with friends
  • Trusted my intuition.

Protirement takes moxie. It’s a little like the delightful message on the Bag O’ Rags™ I bought recently to wax my car. The package insert reads, “Warning: This product is not for wimps! These rags have been used in industrial settings. Although they’ve been commercially washed, there might be stains and junk on them. If you want to pay 10 times the price to wipe up your muck, buy the other stuff. You’ll find those in aisle 13, next to the quiche pans.”

Life is messy and unpredictable, and by the time we get to be 60, 70, 80, 90 and beyond, we have stains and junk on us, metaphorically speaking. That’s part of aging, and washing doesn’t remove them. Seniors whose “life stains” spring from love and loss and listening and refirement and growing bolder are truly over the speed limit, driven to “re-tire” who they were and tread a new path, without regrets.

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