RETIRED, retired

Have you seen this new usage, doubling the word ‘retired’ meaning you really have quit working altogether? It just goes to show you how much things have changed on this subject. Nine years ago, when we launched, retired still meant exactly what it meant in 1935 when retirement became official: you were finished, done. Your working life was over. And most people were pretty happy about that.

Today, to be “retired, retired” (see CNN/MoneyThe Non-Retirement Retirement) is something of an anomaly. Credit (or blame) goes to the baby boomers, the generation that will finally put an end to the idea that people have an expiration date, like packaged food.

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose/By any other word would smell as sweet.”

Retire, retirement, retiree. We seem to be stuck with these words, despite the qualifiers, at least until we come up with a better way to describe how we are really living (and working, and giving) in our later years, and who we have become: wiser, more thoughtful, patient, kinder, more generous. Someone once suggested to us that perhaps we grow not older, but deeper. We like that. Words are powerful, so choose wisely. It’s your call.