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Age 50 is time to gear up for a personal renaissance (3)

(Shanghai Daily)

16:09, April 27, 2013

Don't worry about retirement

But people don't have to worry so much, says Trafford. Pension funds do matter, but the reinvention and regeneration of a retired life depends on more than those funds.

How do you revive your retired life, then?

"Aida Rivera of Puerto Rico knows," Trafford says. "The high school dropout went to college when she was nearly 50 and earned a college degree to become a therapist at age 60."

Indeed, "retirement" is the wrong word for life after mid-adulthood. As Trafford points out: "You may stop working at a job that defined your life for many years. But you don't stop. Everett A. Greene Sr retired from the DC Fire Department and turned to community service. He works at a food bank and mentors children in elementary school. Like many My Timers, he has a mission 'to give back.'"

Perhaps the author knows best about the remaking of retirement. Her own story is probably the most revealing in her book.

At age 50, she was offered a higher management position at the Washington Post.

After discussing with her husband, she turned down the offer because she loved what she was doing: writing articles.

So she stayed in her old position for another decade. "But a rumbling restlessness started in my chest. What do you really want to do?"

Finally, she stepped down as the helm of her newspaper's health section.

"After a short sabbatical, I return to the Post in a new role as a columnist," she recalls. "This is the classic bittersweet turning point of mourning the past while dreaming about the future."

Then she traveled to Asia for reflection.

On a clear October day, she visited the ancient city of Kyongju in South Korea, where she saw a Buddha from the eighth century AD, sublime in grandeur and simplicity.

"In the gaze of the Buddha, I am suspended," she says. "In the quiet of Kyongju, harmony triumphs over power, tranquility over success, creativity over status - and love over everything."

Indeed, many of us don't know what we really want until the last minute, when our chest no longer rumbles with restlessness.

Trafford aptly borrows a Swedish proverb to describe this last-minute enlightenment: The afternoon knows what the morning never suspected.

【1】 【2】 【3】 【4】

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