I was not surprised when a Scotiabank study released in January 2011 showed that roughly two-thirds of adults say they plan to work past the age of retirement to keep mentally and socially active.
Remember what happened to one of Canada’s most celebrated senior citizens, Leonard Cohen? In 2005, the media reported that the then 70-year old singer had been bilked by his former manager of more than $5 million, reducing his retirement account to $150,000. Left with little for his “golden years”, Cohen was forced to go on tour for the first time in 15 years. But Cohen came out of retirement with an energy and drive that would put many of us to shame. In fact, by the time his world tour ended in December 2010, he had played more than 240 shows, each an astonishing three hours in length.
Recently, I watched “Piece of Work“, a documentary about Joan Rivers. It was a brilliant and honest glimpse into the life of the now 77-year old comedian who still works and who says her retirement will occur “two days after my death.” I admire her chutzpah.
I guess what I am trying to say is this: “retirement” is a word that doesn’t mean very much these days. And here’s the evidence – we are surrounded in the workplace by active, happy senior citizens who are living proof that turning 65 is no longer an invitation to hang up one’s hat and retreat to a rocking chair.