Synopsis

Broadcast February 3,1998
"Should I retire or not? Am I going to be bored? Depressed?

This is how filmmaker Marian Marzynski begins his exploration into the land of retirement - Southern Florida's condo communities. It's a humorous, whimsical and sometimes poignant look at what happens to Americans after they reach the age of 65.

Marzynski - who is approaching 60 and describes himself as trapped somewhere between a "baby boomer and a geezer" - forms relationships with several retirees and gets to know their dreams, their satisfactions and their struggles as they socialize and ponder the meaning of their lives.

At the start, Marzynski finds the world of senior citizens a bit depressing, at least the way they live it in Florida's condos for seniors. It's a segregated society with the old and young living apart; the retirees are cut-off from family and old friends.

Marzynski also discovers that many hold onto the past and miss their productive years of work. It's part of the culture of America he says: "We are a society not only obsessed with looks and youth, but also hard work ethics. For those who never slowed down from work, the idea of retirement can be frightening; they don't know what to do after."

From classes at the Elders Institute at Florida International University to the sprawling Century Village complex which offers retirees activities and personal security, Marzynski's journey reveals the landscape of a uniquely American way of growing old

He ends his journey, however, much more upbeat than he expected. He meets retirees who keep pushing and seeking adventure - people like Betty Sullivan and Howard Saltzman who relish liberation from old routines and a chance to 'reinvent' themselves - taking classes, making new friends, falling in love. Yes, life can be an adventure after all they say, including this final chapter.

 

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