Rewriting RetirementAug 26, 2015
You didn’t hear it from me but two years ago my mom turned 70 years old. While she may qualify for “senior” discounts, don’t make the mistake of calling her a senior. Even the word ‘grammy’ is reserved for just three people, all of whom are presently ten years old and younger. See, she will not let herself be defined by her age or supposed limitations. She is constantly looking for ways to learn, grow and find new areas of purpose. Take technology for example. Several years ago she didn’t have a cell phone. Now she has a laptop, iPhone 6 and fitbit. She’s ready to Skype on a moment’s notice. She’s even been recruited by an Apple Store to teach a class on genealogy using Apple products.
She plans to rewrite “retirement”; her post-full-time work years will look far different for her than for her mother.
One of the gifts of our modern age is increased longevity. In 1900, life expectancy for woman was 51 and increased by approximately 30 years by the end of the century. Today it is 82. Some predict that by 2050 it will be 87. And, for those healthy today at age 65, they can expect to live at least until the age of 90.
The main stream media has caught a hold of this trend. There has been a litany of recent newspaper and magazines articles exploring this topic. A recent Time magazine cover article featured a baby with the caption “This Baby Could Live to be 142 years.” Feature articles in the Atlantic Monthly have explored the upside and downside of this phenomenon, most notably October 2014’s cover article “What Happens When We All Live to 100?.” The Wall Street Journal has a periodic section and portion of their website dedicated to older adults called Encore.
However, nothing more succinctly captures the implications of increased longevity than the “The Big Idea in 4 min – Coming of Age in an Aging America” produced by PBS.
All these analyses point to profound impact for all us. Our government institutions – including but not limited to Social Security, Medicare and US Housing & Urban Development Department (HUD) – need to change. It also means we will have to change the way we think about financial management, career planning, health & wellness, housing, health care and so on. We will also have to get more comfortable embracing technology and the ever rapid pace of change associated with it.
But none of the implications are more significant than how we view and structure our life course. With good fortune – and a healthy lifestyle – many of us will be granted new chapters in life and opportunities for greater significance and purpose. What we will we do with this opportunity?
Smart Living 360 was created for people who wish to lean into these new opportunities associated with increased longevity. I have spoken with many dozens of people about these shifts. I have met with people in their homes, at coffee shops and at conferences. I have partnered with design thinking programs at Hopkins/MICA and Darden to ascertain insights. I firmly believe that we are on the cusp of new ways of living and being for literally millions of people. People just don’t want to do life the same way prior generations did.
Smart Living 360 is a development and operating company focused on delivering innovative living experiences with a particular emphasis on well-being. We believe that many people wish to rewrite the standard life course, opting for a life of ongoing engagement, purpose and growth. We create inspired homes in walkable, intergenerational mixed-use urban and suburban areas.
This blog will explore many of the dimensions of living an inspired life at any age. We will look at strategies and stories of those who have embraced next chapter living. We will look at tactics for successful well-being. We will report on the ever increasing role of technology. We’ll see how many of these factors play a crucial role in one’s optimal living environment. It's time to rethink retirement. We believe the best is yet to come. My mom certainly believes this.
We welcome you to join us in this journey.
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