• Anonymous

    I cannot believe they actually said, "You are only as old as you feel". I don't think I would have been as patient as you. I do get what you are saying about labels and how we need to create our own.

    I want to be the same at the finish line …. :-), HB

    • Boy Howdy! It was an interesting experience but a good learning one for all that were present. I would love to hear what label you choose for yourself? 🙂

  • Dan Meyers

    Susan – this is great information that transcends age. I can't believe how archaic that definition of "retired" is. I think we need to invent a new word that can be used for your current reinvention/transformation!

    Great job on this post; I'm really looking forward to your new website and can't wait to see the sort of change you will affect upon the world. Also, thanks so much for the shout out!

    • Dan – Thank you, I don’t think “fearless tiger” would be something that would be accepted as a definition, I kind of like the ring of it myself. :-).

      I am so glad you like my new look. I have so much I want to do, but alas time is not always available to all that I have on my list. . 🙂

  • Susan Cooper

    Boy Howdy! It was an interesting experience but a good learning one for all that were present. I would love to hear what label you choose for yourself? :-), Susan

  • Susan Cooper

    Dan – Thank you and you're most welcome. I don't think "fearless tiger" would be something that would be accepted as a definition but I kind-of like the ring of it myself. :-).

    I expect I will be going dark soon to start the migration of all the content along with all the other features we are including on the site. I am excited. But like all things, the launch will be just the beginning of many things, this will include changes, challenges and anything thing else unexpected, but I am ready for it. :-, Susan

  • shirla6960

    Susan – truly enjoyed this post! Can't believe the gall some people have!!! In bygone years, nobody would've had the fortitude to broach such a topic. All in all, you handled yourself marvelously…major kudos! I truly think as our environment becomes more material/superficial i.e. age defying this and that, a true treasure trove may become virtually extinct. I'm talking about getting to know others for who they are & the knowledge/wisdom they bring. You're awesome for the proverbial "setting that individual back on their heels" WHOA 🙂

    • Thanks Shirla, It was a fun post to write. My hope is that we don’t ever lose site of each of us as and individual, who we/they are and what they can bring to us. :-), Susan

  • Susan Cooper

    Shirla – Thanks, it was a fun post to write. My hope is that we don't ever lose site of each of us as and individual, who we/they are and what they can bring to us. :-), Susan

  • Elizabeth Scott


    As usual you knew exactly how to keep your head held high! As our minds have become more "open minded" so has some peoples mouths. I love the explanation you eloquently gave this person. The term retired may mean as the person said, "Someone who has retired from their job" but does that mean you stop living. Your identity is not about your career, it is about the person you are. So I believe that you never really retire from your "job" because your job in life is living it…. So you bring the wine and I will bring the chocolate and lets' live!!

    • Elizabeth – You are one of my greatest cheerleaders, thank you, I so agree, retiring does mean you are leaving life. It is so important to remember we are always transitioning to another purpose in life not ending our need to be involved in living.

  • Susan Cooper

    Elizabeth – You are one of my greatest cheerleaders, thank you, I so agree, retiring does mean you are leaving life. It is so important to remember we are always transitioning to another purpose in life not ending our need to be involved in living.

  • This one really brought a smile to my face. I am not planning to EVER retire. I am planning on leaving my traditional job one day. 🙂 

    • I love it, another transitioner. We should form a club don’t you think?

  • Many of the “retired” people (myself included) I know are doing very interesting things. They certainly have not withdrawn from life. It doesn’t particularly bother me if someone asks if I am retired, although from the sounds of it I would have bristled at the attitude of the person in your story. You are right about society labeling people and the label often is based around the person’s job, as if it is that and only that which defines someone.

    • It’s sad that we only value what a person does and not their character. I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished regardless of my station or label. I heartily dislike it when someone sees me as superfluous. That doesn’t feel very good at all. When that happens, I find a bit of fun in upsetting their apple cart of beliefs. 🙂

  • This is one introvert who knows the power of labels for sure! Susan I love this post. My truth is I am proud to say I am retired although I do tend to say it differently and not just that word. More like your answer turned from question to almost discussion, I feel I have to “explain” what I mean. Why? Because of the negativity retired seems to imply. We need to change that my friend! Well, there are many who are already doing work toward thankfully. Thanks for the wide opened eyes and mouth you gave me from this read!

    • I agree with you Patrica, I think with our actions and our words we can do that over time. Here to transitions and life experiences. 🙂

  • What a fantastic post Susan. Totally love it!!! Retired for the most part often has a negative connotation, and I find it especially so as I was “forced to take early retirement” due to disability. So at 49 I was thrown on the scrap heap- or so it felt. I think your guidelines are particularly good, and the first one has always been a favorite of mine. Mind you I now embrace all the senior discounts I’m eligible for. Not quite at the age for all of them. But I dont mind being called a senior in that circumstance

    • Every age has its benefits Kathy… LOL. I too love to take advantage of those when I can.

      Like you, I too found myself in “retirement” before I was ready for a number of reasons. Reinventing myself wasn’t easy, but unexpectedly, it has been fun. 🙂

  • Jacqueline Gum

    Very inspiring post-Susan! I have never been asked the question, but reading it made me recoil a bit too! Maybe because I left the corporate world so early in order to help my ex grow his business that I never have felt retired. I do remember feeling lost without a business card, however! What a silly notion! I think our generation also views retirement differently..to me it has always meant free to pursue a passion and that means always being productive in some manner.

    • Hi Jacquie, We are indeed reinventing what the notion of “retirement” is. I find the ones who ask that kind of question are not really thinking about how it sounds. It’s pretty interesting when I ask why they ask that questions. I get all kinds of non-verbal responses… LOL.

  • Oh, dear. I get a different sort of comment (it’s not even in a question). People assume I don’t work if I don’t have a nine-to-five job. I don’t bother correcting if it’s not in the form of question. I have decided it’s more about them than it is about you. You continue to do what you do and to inspire us, too.

    • I don’t get it often Leora but when I do I always wondered why they asked the question. This time I asked, and boy, what a non-verbal response I received in return. It was an interesting lesson for both for sure. 🙂 Thanks my friend, I will do my best. 🙂

  • “How do you avoid being labeled? How to prevent this looking, acting or being “retired” thing (no matter what your age )?”

    I’ve been labeled for years because of disability. It’s one of the ways others identify me. Labeling is something that happens from the time you’re born until you die. How else are people going to describe you? I just want to be labeled correctly. I’ve been labeled as having polio, MS, CP, retardation, and the list goes on. None of these are correct. I welcome questions about me, my disability, my age, and anything else as long as it’s because they are curious.

    • I agree with you regarding the curiosity part Glynis. What I take exception to is the assumptions that are made without any kind of information. So like you, if they ask, I can then clarify what label I prefer. 🙂

  • Great post and points to live by. I’ve always been best at continually learning new things, but am now making more of an effort to join various groups. Life really is what we make of it.

    • That is so true, easy words to say but not so easy to do and follow Jeri. Good for you. As for me, I’m still working on that… :-)))

  • Pat Ruppel

    Hi Susan — this is a good topic and was interesting to me. I guess I was struck with a little different take on it that surprised me, in thinking about it. I don’t think I’ve ever felt about retirement the way society would label us. I guess I can see it but, for me, retirement is a way of saying, “I’ve arrived and done my due diligence”. I feel free-e-e-e and have been experiencing a type of metamorphosis from the inside – out and I’m thankful.

    The changes have been a long time coming, after so many years of me doing and being what’s been expected by others. I feel life coming back into my body, mind and spirit, like when blood flows again after your foot goes to sleep. It’s different, exciting and a little scary as I have no set course or direction; yet, I feel I’m doing exactly what I’m supposed to be doing and I’m on the right path.

    For me, right now, it’s just like you said:
    “What that includes is a website that will encompass many aspects of what I’ve done in the past. It will offer up many of the things I’ve learned and advice I would give others regarding those lessons.”

    I love that response and it feels good and fits perfectly for me, too. Thank you for sharing, Susan. It was food for thought and gave me insight to what’s going on in my life and perspective.

    • I agree with you Pat. I too feel the same. I’ve worked very hard to be where I am today. For me, it was the way the question was asked (had to be there). It was a great lesson for both the asker and myself. It please me greatly that I was able to give you some food for thought; you liked my response and it fits where you are today. Hugs. 🙂

      • Pat Ruppel

        I know what you mean, Susan, in any given moment things are triggered that are only for us to feel and respond to. It not the same for everyone but sounds like you gave her some food for thought, too, and not just the typical canned response. 🙂

        • LOL, there are times you’re just inspired – not sure the asker would have thought her question would have illicited my response. I don’t think she’ll be asking that question again in the future – bigger LOL

          • Pat Ruppel

            Probably not but, if she does, I’ll bet she pauses first before asking. 🙂

  • I get that question all the time, partly because I do things like show up at a movie theater in the middle of a weekday afternoon. I usually just say yes and end the conversation. I think it is similar to people who would ask, upon first meeting you, “what do you do?” Those people didn’t really want to know what I did, they wanted my job title and the company that I worked for. You are not your job. You shouldn’t be defined by your job nor by your lack of one for whatever reason that may be.

    • I agree with you Ken. Many times a question like that is asked to fill in space with little thought as to how it sounds. It just hit me, so I had to ask. The response brought on all kinds of interesting responses that were a surprise to the asker and myself. It was an interesting lesson for all who were involved. We all learned something. 🙂

  • The label I have always had a problem with is “just a mother” as if being a stay at home mother is somehow a bad thing, or I am in some way less of a person because I don’t go out and work. My dad would say yes he is retied from the railway and now works on his family.

    • Hi Jo-Anne, Boy howdy I can feel you angst. It is such a change for stay at home moms who do so much with very little respect. I do love your Dad’s answer that that question. 🙂

      • Thanks Susan, family means everything to dad I think because as a child he had such a terrible family life

  • We get caught up in the rat race, responsibilities and before we know it, our time is over. So, even though I have not yet “retired”, I have embarked on something simple that is free and could be used by everyone. My passion now is my iLegacies website, a place for everyone to Celebrate, Remember and Share memories of loved ones who have passed. We all have family and friends whom we cared dearly who have departed. These loved ones left us memories. Join me if you are “retired” to be a volunteer as you learn how simple it is to create a tribute by doing one or two and then helping others create tributes. It is a worthwhile cause. Susan, keep up your good work!

    • Well hello there my friend. It so nice to see you here. I am very excited about your new venture and wish you all the best. I will be checking it out Jimmy. 🙂

  • Debra Yearwood

    Retired? You work harder than many people I know who have so called, “full time” jobs.

    • Aw, you are much too kind Debra. It was an interesting situation that did bring out some unexpected emotions. 🙂

  • MinaJoshi5409

    I can relate to how you must have felt to ask that question!! I too get asked that question in spite of having a full time job!! Everyone assumes that once you are a certain age – you should retire!! I tell everyone that I am not ready to give up what I am doing as I enjoy what I am doing. So I work but at the same time I take advantage of the discounted travel and free prescriptions!!

    • Yep, that is so true Mina. Age does not dictate what we do, but that assumption is still there. However, like you, I still like to take advantage of what is available to be at any age.

  • Great post (as always) Susan.

    I can really relate to this, as I’ve been a professional freelance writer for the past 22 years. Many people (including my husband) thought for many of those years that writing was just my “hobby.” They didn’t see it as a profession or a job. It’s only since I actually published my own book (vs being published by others) that they realize how much work I out into my writing and my writing career.

    • I can so see that happening Doreen, You are such an inspiration to me. Especially when I ‘m feeling a bit sorry for myself. We are what we make of ourselves, not what others think we are or should be. 🙂

  • Adrienne

    Hey Susan,

    I guess the same thing could be said with being called a “senior citizen”. I believe officially you are once you hit the age of 55 but for the majority of us who are still going strong, still having fun, enjoying life that’s kind of an insult to be labeled as a senior citizen.

    I remember when my dad retired from his day job. He was so excited to start playing more golf, that was definitely his passion. It was so odd though that after three months of having that luxury he started his own business and went back to work part-time. He couldn’t stand not doing something, not being a part of something.

    So you’re right, we don’t ever really retire. We just move from one thing to another. I don’t have a “traditional job” either but that doesn’t mean I’m retired. I know so many people who lost all their investments when the economy fell and they are back to making a way for themselves doing something meaningful with their lives.

    I applaud you for bringing this up and I can probably honestly say I’ll never call it quits myself. I enjoy doing too much myself.


    • Hi Adrienne, Don’t you hate that? Strong word but it’s hard to put any other way. I had to laugh as you described your Dad. I have seen what you said many times before from other who have so-called retired, my Mom and Dad included. Now me… LOL. The part about saving and investing is something I’m passionate about, but alas not all feel the same and will suffer for it. As long as we have breath and love what we do re truly never retire in the truest sense of the word.

      PS: I’m working on having a good few weeks. 🙂

  • Yes! I’m ‘retirement age’ but I’ll never be retired or a senior citizen. Our problem is because we work from home, people assume we’re available to do anything anytime.

    • That is so true Maureen. The fact so many more are working from home than ever before, you would think that would be so much an assumption these days. I do hate the part where my time is not assumed to be my own because there is an assumption I’m “retired”. :/

  • Rose M Griffith

    Love it, Susan! When my Dad retired from 38 long years working in a steel mill, he told me he had no idea how he got things done while working. In other words, he was so busy doing new things–like building furniture from scratch–that he didn’t know how he did anything else during those long years.

    I’m with you: keep learning, keep trying new things and by all means, keep moving!

    Wasn’t it Gloria Steinem who answered the question: What’s it like to be 60? By saying, “This is what it looks like.” Meaning she/women were redefining that age. We still are!

    • Hi Rose, I have said the same thing. Part of that is I’m now am doing all the things I never had time for. That has turned out to more than I would have ever thought… LOL. I love that quote, and will remember it when the need arises… again… BIG SMILE. 🙂

  • Cheryl

    You & I have had this discussion before so you already know I am in agreement. 🙂

  • Erica

    I think you answered that person excellently Susan. To me, the definition of retirement is that you no longer are doing what you HAVE to do, and are doing what you Want to do. That doesn’t mean that you hated your career in your “working” years. It is just no longer a necessity in the same way. I’ve know people who’ve had amazing second careers in their “retirement” I’ve know people who have gotten Master’s degrees. I know people who have traveled the world. And I’ve known people who’ve taken a volunteer opportunity or started a new hobby they’ve always desired. Retirement can mean just sitting around and doing nothing. But if you do it right, it means getting to fulfill your second set of life wishes and goals.

    • Hi Erica, Thank you for your kind words. As you might imagine I very much agree with you. It really is a state of mind, one we can control.?