Did You Have A Retirement "Ah Ha" Moment?
By Erica and Karen
Retirement, for us, came on suddenly. That’s not to say that we didn’t know it was on the horizon. It’s just that we were busy. And we didn’t really think it would happen.
And then one day, bam! There it was. No office, no title, no business cards, no calendar, no meetings, no calls, no places we had to go, no people we had to see. Just like that, this mantle of “retired” dropped down to hide us behind an outdated image of age.
And, boy, did it hide us. For the first time in a long time, we lost our footing. Without our jobs, it seemed our place in the world was no longer assured. Everyone asked, “where do you work” or “what do you do”? What could we say? We felt awkward referring to the past—we’ve always been very much about the present. But we hadn’t realized how tightly entwined our identities were with our work.
Our contemporaries were struggling too, and taking vastly different approaches to the same status. One friend methodically interviewed dozens of retired folks to see if she could find some wisdom. (She’s always been driven.) Another was thrilled to have nothing whatsoever to do. She had wanted to be retired from work day one. (She was unusual.) Most were perplexed, missing their work communities and wondering how to manage their days.
We knew we had to get out of the “retired” box. We had not withdrawn from anything. And we didn’t buy into the notion of reinventing ourselves. We were proud of who we were, and proud to have had great careers. Coming to the end of those careers didn’t turn us into some some lite version of ourselves.
We kept trying to figure it out.
And then we did. Click!
We are new. New because of our numbers, and our health, and our wealth. And we have a history. We strategized to get a seat at the table when we crossed the male barricades to claim our careers. We became visible as a new force. Now, at the other end of those careers, we have to strategize to find new kinds of seats at the table—to overcome those images of age that create hurdles to continued participation. We must become visible again—no longer working girls, but working women in new ventures that would not be possible without the foundation of our careers.
We are the same people we always were. Nothing about retirement changes that. Shoulders back. Heads up. We were part of a large sisterhood when we started out. It’s time to come together again. We can forge a new picture of retirement if we do it together. We can shape the next decades. Together, we will build a new community—one with incredible energy, experience and power. And that, our friends, is priceless.
That’s what our “ah ha” moment taught us, and that’s what Lustre is all about. To remind us all that together, as active members of a new tribe of powerful women, we can change the world. Again!