I “retired” the first of January, 2007. I call it "advanced." I advanced into my next career. In 1995 I went from working full time to three-quarter time. In 2003, I went to half-time, deciding that my time was more valuable than money. I didn’t need more money, but I needed more time. It’s pretty hard to buy time; nobody sells time. You can always get more money, get a second job, sell something. But there isn’t any store to go to buy another week or another year.
The word itself is not a smart word. It's sort of like “I was tired” before and “now I’m re-tired,” I’m tired all over again. In fact, I like the Spanish word, for it, jubilacion, or “jubilation.” They say, are you working? You say no, “Estoy jubilado,” or “I am jubilated” but it means retired.
I actually have more things to do this year than I had last year, more speaking assignments and more opportunities to do things. But I don’t get paid for them. I pay myself to do that now. And it’s really kind of interesting, it becomes a gift now instead of an obligation. I really don’t know quite how to talk about that because it’s sort of new for me. It’s more of a gift than a transaction.
Some friends who are retirement age say, oh, Lynn, you’re in denial. You need to find a beach to sit on. I say, what? Where do you get this idea that you end life playing, sitting on a beach being served by other people? I don’t know where that image came to us from. It is certainly not biblical. It has to do partly with a cultural fascination with leisure, the idea that you play all day, like a 30-year paid vacation.
If you look at the advertising in the money magazines, retirement is usually this modern maturing, gray-haired couple on a sailboat somewhere, sailing off into the distance. Well, I sail and I build sailboats, and frankly, if I had to spend the rest of my life sailing, I’d be bored stiff. It is not that much fun. It’s fun for awhile. But you’re not gonna sail for 30 years.
The people I notice who are the happiest being retired are people who are hard to find at home, they’re so busy. They’re off doing all these things, and they’re not on cruises, (some of them take cruises now and then), but most of them are busy doing something useful. Now, that’s the idea of validation, being useful with some of your time. Now that you can afford to give away the rest of your life, that’s retirement. - Lynn Miller
These comments were taken from an original interview with Lynn Miller for the Embracing Aging documentary and have been paraphrased slightly for readability.