As we live longer and we have had more fresh years, in fact a new phase in life between adult and old, where many continue to be at the peak of their performance for many years, the persistent retirement myth (that as a pensioner you no longer have to give - but simply get and enjoy) has come under heavy fire. Not least from a multitude of full-grown seniors who will continue to contribute with their talents and experience and daily experience that you are part of a community and that you are still needed.
As a sailor and professor from Denmark, Per Schultz Jørgensen, has put it: "The individual, in a community with others, is obliged to do something. You're part of the crew, you're not a passenger." That even if you "sign off" from working life, you have not become a passenger who just has to enjoy your retirement. You are still part of communities locally and globally, and still part of the crew that can give a nap every now and then.
One of the strongest and most beautiful examples of how full-grown seniors after their last day on the job continue to contribute and pour out their experience and skills, especially targeted at future generations, comes in a myriad of forms. For example, known as "School Friends", where a senior contributes as an additional adult helper in a school class for the youngest students. From the beginning, the aim has been to create, or rather restore, good relations between the younger and older generations. Retired seniors have a good opportunity to give the children their full attention, as they often have the time and do not have the obligations that the parents have.
The common denominator of the different stories is precisely that you are in the process of giving back everything you have been given. Paying back your experience dividend. But also the volunteer seniors benefit greatly from the role of "school friend". The attention you give to the children, you get a thousand fold back. For some, it gives meaning to life. For others, including those who do not have grandchildren of their own, it fills some important emotional needs.
In addition to the fact that seniors often have more time and better conditions to give children and young people their full attention, the American author Jonathan Rauch has found what makes seniors extra suitable for being adult friends and mentors for young people on their way in life.
In the book "The Happiness Curve. Why Life Gets Better After 50", Rauch concludes that with age you move away from individual competition and ambition and towards good social relationships and care for others. All the social capital invested in each one throughout life can now be paid out or repaid as a kind of experience dividend to one's loved ones and to future generations. What the vast majority of grandparents and seniors are already doing to the fullest extent within the families.
For the vast majority of seniors, over an often protracted adjustment period after the last day on the job, they find out about their role and activity radius in the new phase of life.
The common denominator of the different stories is precisely that you are in the process of giving back everything you have been given. The visible stories in the associations and the stories invisible to the public in the families and in the neighbouring communities.
Based on their own strong experiences, a few role models have put words and headlines on paths to what the lives of many full-grown seniors are all about after children and employment.
Adventurer and author, Troels Kløvedal, Denmark, who himself has found his way on the world's seas, has in his book from 2004, put into words what for many seniors has turned out to be a guide to what life after children and employment is all about: "... Men who have reached the age where you know you have been given the whole world, and who must therefore realize that the next pleasure lies in giving it all away again."
Article by By Poul-Erik Tindbæk ( en3karriere , Dennmark)
This website has been accomplished during the project "SILVER: PROMOTING A CAREER IN THE THIRD AGE", Grant Agreement no. 2020-1-UK01-KA204-078907, implemented with financial support of the European Commission by the Erasmus+ Programme.
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