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
Abigail Trafford: I think you're right that we have a role here. We almost have a historic challenge, which is, we as the first generation to have these sort of extra years, we've got to show young people not to be afraid to grow old, and we show them that by what we do, what we create, who we love, and, in a sense, how we live. So it is a huge challenge.
Alan Rosenberg: Are we really up to that challenge? I mean, I think a lot about the fact that we promised back in the '60s and the '70s that we were gonna change the world, that we were responsible people, and now we find ourselves in...
Abigail Trafford: We gotta do it again.
Alan Rosenberg: We do have to do it again. We kinda let the ball drop for many years. How do we pick ourselves up and meet that challenge?
Roy Blount, Jr.: Start doing drugs again!
Abigail Trafford: Well, you know, with the prescription drug benefit! [all laugh]
Alan Rosenberg: We talk about reinventing retirement, but you touched on it a little bit before, Phyllis. What about people that really need to work to pay their rent? What do we do for them?
Phyllis Moen: Absolutely, and typically what most people want is a meaningful job. They want to do something that makes a difference. For pay, maybe not a lot of money. They might do it for the health insurance even, or less. They really want to make a difference. What they want is what I call the "not so big job." They don't want the job they're in. They don't want to work 60, 70, 80 hours. They want the not so big job that's interesting and useful, but is flexible and is manageable.
Stanley Crouch: See I think that bringing this group of people into a fruitful relationship to society, I don't see how business could resist supporting it. It's highly possible that the culture is gonna have to figure out some kind of way to get people who know what the hell they're talking about and know how things are done, and get them involved in the economy. There's a great western that John Ford made called She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, and John Wayne plays this cavalryman who's about to retire, and there's one great scene where he and this old Indian are talking, and the Indian says, "Nathan, we're too old for war." And Wayne's character says, "Yes, but old men should stop wars."