Retirement: Status Report
By Karen and Erica
Our change in status--from being employed to being retired--made us uneasy for a while. Who were we, now? Had we disappeared when we left our jobs behind? Had we become different, lesser, people? Why were the only products we saw advertised for women older than 50 targeted to failing bodies and minds? Why do only silver haired men get the fast cars? Would we be irrelevant for thirty years?
Luckily, we had each other to talk to, and of course our families and friends, and we realized that the weird images we saw were an outdated construct of a time long gone--the 1950s, when retirees were mostly men, men who had retired from hard jobs they worked at during hard times, men who would live only a few years after retirement, men who looked forward to a couple of years of fun in the sun with people like themselves. That was no precedent for us. Indeed there was no precedent for us, so we found ourselves in a place that always energized us when we were working: a place where we had to create the future.
Where to go with that insight? We began to realize we could design the retirement we want. And we could do it with lots of other women who took the same route we did--women who like us were among the first career women to work until retirement, women who changed the working word. There are few boundaries. We can design how we spend our time, what we wear, how we shop. And because as a group we have huge financial clout, people will do what we want if we make sure they see us.
So we founded Lustre and started blogging. And did more talking, and thinking, and observing. We got people to help us build our website and our social media presence. We started a Facebook page--Lustre Staying Power--where women like us can speak for themselves. We started to get noticed--to give speeches and to get publicity, And we began to feel the stirrings of a movement--the logical continuation of the movement we were part of when we entered the workforce.
We have a long way to go until we all feel we can have the retirements we want, for sure. But we are way farther along than we pictured when first we retired. It is all very exciting, and being part of change is one of the best things about our new status. Thanks, everyone, for joining us. We can't wait to see what happens next.