Edition #6: “Individuality is a feature, not a bug.”
Sorry for the radio silence. Managing a full-time gig and a passion are difficult. I have moved the newsletter from Mailchimp to Substack as it is seems like a nicer interface.
“I want to retire early and settle into a simpler life.”
“I want to rekindle my passion for writing and also learn to grow my own vegetables.”
You have likely thought about something like this or discussed something to this effect with your partner or friends in the recent past. If yes, this one’s for you.
Most people like to have a career that pays their bills, follow their passion and like to learn new things. For many that make a career out of their passion in creative pursuits like photography, there is also the additional challenge of balancing it with economic gain while continuing to be independent.
The ability to build a career that secures one financially and ability to follow a passion for something fundamentally different is top-of-the-mind for many. I see this equally among peers that are both working professionals and entrepreneurs. A lucky few seem to have figured this out and balance work and passion quite well.
An extended conversation interestingly and always leads to financial security and planning. This may manifest differently for different people and may take the form of financial goals – savings to retire early, money to buy a home, capital to start a business, surplus funds to support causes, medical cover for parents, kids’ education and so on.
A quick and informal survey among a few friends identified a number between 40 and 63 as the age when they are likely to care less about financial goals.
This is quite remarkable considering that multiple generations before had identified 60 to be that magic number to retire and settle into a life of peaceful existence. Here is an interesting read in a previous blog, ‘How old is old?’ by Dr Gita Mathai, a family care expert. It touches upon the perceptions and realities of ageing and how you can understand ageing from the lens of an older person.
Something has changed over the last decade. Many folks do not want to retire and some find the word ‘retirement’ obnoxious.
They however want to be in position to not work for money and stay committed to the pursuit of something more elevated than a job or career. The pursuit of passion lowers its age bar with every new generation, whatever the label you give the latest one. A large measure of pursuit discovery can also be attributed to financial stability of the parents and opportunities available to express oneself in today’s technology-first world. This article by Li Jin about the ‘passion economy’ is a wonderful read and has a line I like the most,
Individuality is a feature, not a bug.
The passion for pursuit and the willingness to contribute to society is also very high among people that have retired after a long career of work. I am yet to meet a person in this artificial category of ‘senior citizens’ that doesn’t have a plan for life, things to do for the day and the desire to explore more of life.
These conversations made me realize my own age-bias, recognize their individuality and also appreciate how the process of ageing affects physical mobility and mental agility.
Maybe the more pertinent question to ask ourselves is our view of age as a number, and decadal indulgence with it.
That brings me to an audience that I call the “in-betweens”.
This generation that saw faster wealth creation, had access to better education, benefited from an open market, curated their professional experiences and likely earn more in a year than the entire pension of their parents. They broadly fall between 35 and 45 years, plus or minus a few years. I belong to it.
At this point, you are likely thinking if am moving towards some solution of sorts. Well, not really. I feel many of us are feeling up the elephant of life blindly without knowing it is an elephant. Digging deeper turned out to be more complex than I thought so I jumped further in.
Thanks to a nudge from a friend, I decided to compile what I learnt, heard or saw. It started by writing/compiling a few pages every week including rough notes, research papers and everything from two years ago. I parked this well organized 250MB data and information gorilla in a folder called ‘Age Report’.
I intend to share it with you shortly. You can call it a white paper or an unscientific research paper or maybe even a market landscape study! In reality, these will be my first-hand experiences, honest conversations with a diverse set of people on the topic, quick surveys among friends, information compiled from media articles, etc. I am solo on this one and have a lot of people to thank but nobody to really apologize, if I screw up!
Signal your interest in the Age Report with a like or a comment. Thank you for reading and appreciate that you have joined this Journey.