The Power of Curiosity During Retirement

One of the perks (and there are many) of living down here in Florida is the people you meet.

Now, I know. Florida has a reputation for weird and off the wall. Any news story that starts with "Florida Man" typically doesn't end well for our hero.

Florida has a reputation as a haven for people who are "retired." And while that's true, and with great weather and no income tax, who can blame people for retiring here?

Still, I've come to have an entirely different understanding of what retired means these days.

Sure, there are folks who spend their days on the golf course, or fishing, and have completely left the "productive" chapter of their lives behind.

But far more of the people I meet in their 70s, 80s or more don't really fit the definition of retired in the way most people think of it.

They're still in the game, though the game and what they get from playing has changed. Whether it's volunteering, mentoring, teaching or taking on a new career path, they're committed to learning, improving and growing, and don't plan on stopping.

I don't live far from a university, and during more normal times, if I stopped by the library (which I do from time to time to research), it would strike me how many older folks are in there, mingling with the college kids.

Which is amazing. The key to a long, happy life is to stay curious. Keep learning new things. The minute you "retire" and hang it up, you're done for.

At least, that's the way I've come to think of it. And imagine what the college kids are getting from interacting with people who could be their grandparents – and seeing these folks still have a thirst for knowledge 50 years later.

Some people confuse "busyness" with staying engaged. But just filling your days with mindless tasks isn't the same as being open to curiosity and new experiences.

If you can't pick up the phone and call someone for 10 minutes to catch up because you're "too busy," life is in control of you. Not the other way around.

Nobody wants to live like that. And if you can help it, nobody should. Because when you're too busy, you can't be curious. There's no room for it.

And that's a big mistake.

Staying curious keeps life new. It fills you with joy and activity. And when you're active, your life becomes long and fulfilling.

That's the type of retirement I look forward to.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend, and stay safe out there.

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Kevin - August 17, 2020

Jeff thanks for that wonderful article I couldn’t agree with you more. By staying engaged and active with people with a balance of younger ones, same age and the seasoned ones with our minds open to learn and share be we can have a full joyful life. I’m not yet retired but have been preparing myself for that woderful day. The last couple years I’ve found volunteer work to be very rewarding and I must admit quite addicting. Recently laid off due to Covid-19 and with the changes most of my volunteer events are on hold or gone virtual. Terribly sad that is the world today even sadder the tension and fear people have when crossing paths. Hidden behind the “mask” won’t even speak or make eye contact. I can only pray they have joy and peace and share it with others.

Rodney Harrison - August 17, 2020

Retirement is a Human construct and part of the "FALL OF MAN INTO A STATE OF CONSCIOUSNESS AND HUMAN MORTALITY. BECAUSE WE ARE NOT HUMAN BEINGS HAVING A SPIRITUAL EXPERIENCE, RATHER WE ARE CREATED SPIRITUAL BEINGS HAVING A HUMAN EXPERIENCE so there is no such thing as retirement doing God’s work and living an Eternal Life in His Spirit, for it will always be an ongoing expression and process…….

ROB - August 17, 2020

Nope!!! Loved this letter, absolutely enjoy being curious and reading up on the old as much as the new, and especially my Sci-Fi/Fantasy sagas. Thank you for this, gives me a bit of hope for the future and honestly didn’t know M’oldies(lol, I slay me, lol) and Mallenials mingled. Gives me something more to look forward to in those “Golden Years” as I remember being wrapped whilst listening to stories of my Greater Elders and now I’ll be able flip it as an elder myself. I imagine I’ll still be wrapped up in the crazy stories of youngsters as well. Hope everyone else enjoys this letter as much as I did, have a good week Fellow Patriots!!!

Steve - August 17, 2020

I retired 15yrs ago,and chose to work and do new things,you never stop learning.i hopw to start my own business. After the Covid is behind us.knowledge should be shared and given to those coming into the world,many people can be successful by your is not a bad thing,if done right.

Denise GAboury - August 17, 2020

I look forward to reading your daily thoughts every day. Thank you for them. I also live in Florida.
And not to far from UofF. Denise

gary . .m totten - August 17, 2020
. . . .jeff . .i read ur e-mails almost everyday as i can . .an also frank bates ‘s offers . ..i got a yrs supply of freeze dried food from ur company . .2-3 yrs ago . .? . .so i dn need anymore . .(live by myself) . .dn eat a ’’lott’’ . . sometimes go out also . .but i appreciate the offers . .(mayb sumpin ’’new’’ in em) . .? . .from time 2 time . . i followed u from ohio . .(u said u grew up onna farm) . .then u moved to austin . .now florida . .i was in the navy my last ’’active’’ . .yr .. in jacksonville .. then got out . .May 74 . ..(mayport navy base . .north of jax beach) . . know of ’’couple’’ people who live there . .(last i heard . .in florida) .. also my brothers wife . .(hez in tulsa area) . .his wife’s mother lives in orlando) . .i grew up onna farm south of here bout 20mi .. ime in wichita ks . . . .js west a mi from the (used to be) . .boeing plant . .sawry 2 bother u . .know ur busy with binezz. . .an answerin e-mails an fone . .?.. (church 2day) . . take care . .u an wife . .an family . .js mahvelous . .thank bill gates an partner an apple (steve jobs?) . .an others . .4 these machines . .how could we . . . anybody . .communicate so easily an fast . .?? . shirly knott . .snail mail . .ha . .> > > > > . . .
Gus P. - August 17, 2020

You are exactly right. Retiring is overrated and should never be considered, unless your health does not allow you the opportunity to think and stay young.

At 77 years of age I’ve been blessed with good health, which still allows me to continue working every day of every week. After 40 years in sales and marketing in the automotive industry, I’ve now moved on to a new career of marketing DME products for those in need of orthotics. It has been very rewarding, not only for me, but those we supply much needed medical devices. Not to mention, it keeps me active 7 days a week.

Speaking of staying active, I have 23 year old boy/girl twins who also keep me young, active and sharp. They, along with my wife, make sure I never act or think about age. Mentally and physically, growing old and inactive does not enter my mind, but rather, staying positive about what life still has to offer is the ultimate goal.

Always remember, “we’re not her for a long time, we’re here for a good time”.

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