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Monday, January 21, 2013

Who will I be when I Retire?

Retire or Not Retire That is a Question[i]

         This article talks about things that many of us avoid.  During the latter part of work do we begin to think about all the things we can do that we haven’t during the years of employment to “freedom” to do what we want.  “There will be time to travel, take holidays, and develop creative activities such as art, music, theatre or academic pursuits.”  By doing this the authors ask if we are resisting “…the prospect of aging and eventual death
         The relationship between work and identity is discussed  “Work and identity are closely allied. Laboro erfgo sum; my work is me; who will I be without work?   What will I lose?  My power, control, sense of importance and omnipotence, my need to be needed…”
         On a more optimistic note James Garner[ii] says:
“…many people are able to use later life as a time of positive development. Although for some retirement from work closes the door on creativity, for others the increased time available is put into further education, and the realization of undeveloped skills and talents and keeping and making relationships . . . perhaps aging itself can, for those with sufficient internal resources, be a creative process in developmental adaptation. Although a number of new experiences at this time of life will be negative ones, even these may strengthen the internal world. Development may be stimulated by changes and losses.”
         The article closes with an observation by Carl Jung who reminds us that older people in primitive societies were “…usually the guardians of mysteries and the laws and it was these that the cultural heritage of the society was expressed and preserved.  He goes on to ask where is the wisdom, the precious secrets and visions of the older adults, in our present-day societies.”
         Well, I just turned 73.  I’ve found a way to remain a “non regular” faculty (substitute teacher) at Kwantlen.  At the same time I have been practicing acrylic painting and next week will be entering 3 of my paintings to a gallery.  I’ll let you know if anyone purchases one.

[i]  Kelly,M. & Barraat, G. (2007) Retirement: Phantasy and reality - Dying in the             saddle or facing up to it Psychodynamic Practice 13 (2)  Pp 197-202       Contact E-mail:   
[ii] Garner, J. (2004). Growing into old age: Erikson and others. In S. Evans & J             Garner (Eds.) Talking over years (Chap 6 pp. 71-86). Hove, Brunner- Routledge

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