This week one of the legends in the country music media community announced his plan to retire. Gerry House, a baby boomer who has hosted Nashville’s top rated morning radio show for over 30 years, is pulling the plug.
Gerry is only 60 and is at the top of his game. So why is he doing this?
The catalyst for Gerry’s surprising decision was actually a sad event, the death of a close friend. But his reasoning is more elegant and applicable to all of us who are 50+.
We want to take the working life off-ramp. We know there are more paths to take and more things to do at the end of that ramp.
Most younger folks haven’t realized this. They are too busy raising kids, working for the money, and thinking about the here and now. That’s not so bad except that they tend to believe the “nows” will always be here.
We – the members of the over-50 generation – know different. We know things the younger folks haven’t yet figured out.
We know that there won’t always be a “tomorrow.”
We know that money his nice but time is better.
We know that accomplishments at the office will not sustain our spirit or assure us that our life has meant something.
We know that we don’t know everything.
This list could go on. I don’t want to brag about baby boomers, because we’ve made plenty of mistakes. Let’s just say that life after 50 comes packaged with important accessories: experience and wisdom, earned the hard way.
Although I’m still working hard, I’ve mentally turned toward the working life off ramp. I’m loving it. I’ll give you three reasons.
I’ve shed myself of work I don’t like to do. People on the off-ramp can do that. We’re not trying to impress the boss and get promoted. What does getting promoted gain you except more responsibility and less time? You could say that my job and some of my former clients have been demoted on the “life-importance scale.”
I’ve simplified my life. People with experience realize that much of our “stuff” contributes very little to the pleasures of life. For example, my style test for clothes has migrated from “is it still cool?” to “does it have obvious stains?”
I can see a different future. Younger folks tend to work for the weekends and periodic vacations. I was one of them. Now that our kids are mostly educated, off the payroll, and not in jail, we can say “first mission accomplished.” New interests (and some long deferred) are there to be pursued, on our schedule.
I intend to stay on this working life off-ramp for a while and enjoy the ride. How about you?
FYI: I’m trying to blog my way to the AARP Orlando@50 conference. This blog post is an entry in their competition to find the official blogger to travel to and cover the event. Find out more about the conference here.