Time. Time keeps on going whether we want it to or not. This spring has been the season for "retirement" parties. Several people with whom I have worked for years have decided to retire. Since I am out to retire the word "retirement," I thought I would blog about some of the steps I have taken to do just that. I will refer to this as the "R" word.
Image via Wikipedia
For example, I had some input on two different invitations that were to be distributed to many people. The "R" word was being used repeatedly in each invitation. So I suggested other language because language is powerful. We ended up on one invitation with the words: Come celebrate their next phase of life. On the other we used: Come celebrate their next adventure!
When I made these suggestions, people automatically agreed that they, too, did not like the word retirement yet that was the first word that came to their mind–because people were officially retiring. Well, not really. They were leaving the workplace with the rights a privileges of "retirement." When I made these substitutions, one person said to me, "You are right. I do not like that word at all." Yet, he was instrumental in the original invitation.
But in reality people are moving onto something else whether they know it or not yet. And when they think of the fact that they may have 30 years ahead of them, then they know they are not retired. Maybe retired from one organization and type of work, but now they have time to explore other aspects of their life or dreams unfulfilled.
When we reframe how we think about this phase of life, then language needs to change in order to open up our thinking. The themes that we focus on in these "R" events change to include some forward thinking ideas and images. Maybe I should design some new cards for this phase of life. If you have ever looked retirement cards, they are pathetic, sad, and depressing. While there is an attempt to be funny, I find them offensive.
You might think I don't have a sense of humor, but I do. What I want is to celebrate what has been and what is left to come. What if the rest of life is the best of life?
Now, that would be exciting and something worth looking forward to!