Living In Collapse
I wasn't going to post this article (from 2017). We all realize I'm sure that for 99% of us there isn't going to be that fairy tale of happy retirement
but I was struck with something the author wrote toward the end on a related matter (living with less):
"In spite of their anxieties about money, one of the things I have been most struck by, in my many conversations with older readers, is the pleasure they take in life. One grandmother told me: “Last week, I swept across a crowded pub to pick up a raffle prize … with my dress tucked into my knickers! A few years ago I would have been mortified. Not any more. Told ’em they were lucky it was cold and I had knickers on!”
Monica Hartwell, 69, is part of the team at the volunteer-run Regal theatre in Minehead, as well as the film society and the museum. “The joy of getting older is much greater self-confidence,” she told me. “It’s the loss of angst about what people think of you: the size of your bum or whether others are judging you correctly. It’s not an arrogance, but you know who you are when you’re older and all those roles you played to fit in when you were younger are irrelevant.”
The data bears out these experiences: 65 to 79 is the happiest age group for adults, according to the Office for National Statistics. Recently, a report claimed that women in their 80s have more enjoyable sex than those up to 30 years younger. Other research has found that 75% of those aged 50 and over are less bothered about what people think of them and 61% enjoy life more than when they were younger.
So what is the secret to a successful retirement? Private companies run courses to help those on the verge of retirement plan for changes in income, time and relationships. I have spoken to those running such courses, as well as those who have retired. The consensus is that there are five pillars, all of which rest on the “money bit” – the basic level of financial security without which later life is hard. Once that foundation is in place, retirees can build up the second pillar: a social network to replace their former work community. The third pillar is having purpose and challenging one’s mind. Fourth is ongoing personal development – exploring, questioning and learning are an important part of what makes us human; this should never stop, I was told. The fifth and final pillar is having fun.
It strikes me that those five pillars are a good basis for how to live not just in retirement but also how to live in collapse.