Abigail Trafford, Washington Post columnist and author of My Time
Professor Phyllis Moen, University of Minnesota, author of The Career Mystique
Roy Blount Jr., Time.com columnist and author of Long Time Leaving
Stanley Crouch, New York Daily News columnist and author of In Defense of Taboos
Whatever you do, don't look up the definition of "retirement" in the dictionary. It says ominous things like "to withdraw from business or active life," and "retreat from an untenable position."
The decidedly un-retiring Life (Part 2) panel takes on the notion of retirement and what it means in this day and age. In short, all bets are off, and everything is on the table in redefining this juncture of life.
Retirement is kind of a modern idea. Because there was no such thing as pensions, people often worked until they died. Now people are living longer - much longer - and there's no longer the fixed idea that one stops working precisely at age 65.
The "withdrawal from business life" is seen as a beginning, not an ending. For many, it's a chance to reinvent themselves and take up new adventures and activities. Many are even retiring before their sixties. But a lot of people say they'd like to work into their sixties and seventies. People like the challenges and camaraderie of work.
Others can't afford to retire. Pension plans are in flux, it's often difficult to pay for health care, and many don't have personal savings from which to draw.