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Redefining Retirement

You say you want a revolution? Well, don’t look now, but you may be smack in the middle of one of the largest and most significant paradigm shifts in American history.

The change is in how Americans think about, plan for, and transition into what we once (quaintly) referred to as “the retirement years.” In fact, experts say, the word retirement itself could be on its way to the verbal junkyard, as the nation’s oldest Baby Boomers, now 60-somethings, roar into “old age” in a way that is anything but retiring.

Dr. Lenard Kaye, director of the University of Maine Center on Aging, says these up-and-coming seniors view retirement as “the youth of their old age, not the old age of their youth.” Casting into a future beyond their present workaday lives, they see themselves leaping not into a rocking chair, but a fresh new phase—one that’s more about what “I want” and less about what “I have to.”

And what do they want? Far more, it turns out, than their parents dared dream of. Dr. Kaye says Boomers demand, among other things, access to classes and other learning opportunities, outlets for their hobbies and interests, homes that are comfortable and convenient, and outstanding healthcare. They want emotional and spiritual well being. They want to stay active. They want a continued presence, and a respected voice, in the communities they call home.

Indeed, research suggests, 80 percent of those now 44 to 62 years old say they won’t retire at all but intend to keep working, at least part time. Thirty percent plan to start a business. Legions look forward to launching a second or third career.

How about you? Are you part of the Unretirement Revolution? If so, we think you’ll take to Quarry Hill, and Midcoast Maine in general, like a windjammer to water. Why not come for a visit, and begin planning the next big adventure of your life.