New Book Offers Advice On How To Refire Your Retirement
IS COPING OVER THE HILL AND IT DOES NOT MEET THE REST OF THE JOURNEY WILL BE EASY. AND PEOPLE ARE CALLED OVER THE HILL OF BEANS THAT THE GREAT PROJECT, GOALS AND PASSIONS OF LIFE ARE COMING TO AN END AND THE BEST YOU CAN DO IS SAVE FOR THE MEMORY OF YOUR LOST YOUTH AND ENERGY. THAT IS NOT THE WAY IT HAS TO BE ACCORDING TO THE SAN DIEGO CO-AUTHORS OF THE NEW BOOK. THEY SAY THE OLDER YEARS AS A TIME TO STEP UP YOUR GAME, EMOTIONALLY, PHYSICALLY AND SPIRITUALLY. THE BOOK IS CALLED, RE-FIRE, DON'T RETIRE, MAKE THE REST OF YOUR LIFE THE BEST OF YOUR LIFE WORK ITS AUTHORS ARE, KEN BLANCHARD AND INTERNATIONALLY KNOWN MANAGEMENT EXPERT AND AUTHOR OF ONE OF THE ALL-TIME BEST-SELLING SELF-HELP BOOKS CALLED THE ONE MINUTE MANAGER, KEN WELCOME TO THE PROGRAM. MORTON SHAEVITZ IS A PSYCHOLOGIST AND AN ASSOCIATE CLINICAL PROFESSOR AT THE UC SAN DIEGO SCHOOL OF MEDICINE . MORTON WELCOME TO THE PROGRAM. THANK YOU. CAN YOU RELATE A GOOD STORY ABOUT HOW THIS BOOK CAME TO BE WHEN YOU AND MORTON MET ON A FLIGHT FROM SAN DIEGO TO NEW YORK I THINK? WE HAD DONE EACH OTHER BUT WE MET ON THIS FLIGHT TO NEW YORK AND BORNO SITTING BEHIND US SLICED UP AND WE STARTED TO TALK. SAID WHAT YOU DOING? I SAID I AIM REFINERY. HIS EYES LIT UP, MORE IT HAS STARTED TO DO SOME STUDIES ON AGING AND FINDING OUT THAT THE HAPPIEST PEOPLE ARE PEOPLE WHO MOVE TOWARD SOMETHING KNOCKED AWAY FROM SOMETHING. WE STARTED TALKING, THE STEWARDESS HAD TO PUSH THE SENATE ALL THAT KIND OF THING THAT WE SAID LET'S GET TOGETHER IN THE NEXT WEEK WE DID. THAT WAS THE BEGINNING OF THE BOOK. IT WAS REALLY FUN. IT WAS I'VE BEEN LOOKING AT NEW MODELS OF AGING SUCCESSFUL AGING AND IS TRYING TO GET MY ARMS AROUND HOW TO DESCRIBE IT AND WHEN KEN CAME UP WITH THE IDEA OF REQUIRING I SAID THAT IS IT. RETIRING IS GOING TO SLEEP. THREE FIRING IS WAKING UP THE WHOLE IDEA OF RE-FIRE, DON'T RETIRE AND MAKE THE REST OF YOUR LIFE THE BEST OF YOUR LIFE IS TO BRIEFLY SEE AGING AS AN OPPORTUNITY, NOT A SENTENCE. A TIME TO TRY NEW THINGS, EXPERIENCE NEW THINGS AND REALLY LIVE LIFE WITH GUSTO. THAT IS REALLY WHAT THE THEME OF THE BOOK IS. IN THIS BOOK YOU MAKE A POINT, A BIG POINT IN LOOKING AT THE GAME TO PEOPLE WHO HAVE REACHED A CERTAIN AGE AND HOW DIFFERENT THEIR IDEAS ABOUT WHERE THEY ARE AND THEIR ENTHUSIASM FOR LIFE CAN BE. MORTON I WAS INTERESTED IN YOUR OBSERVATIONS OF SOME PEOPLE WHO SEEM TO JUST ONE DOWN ANOTHER PEOPLE WHO SEEM TO AS YOU SAY RE-FIRE. I WAS AT A BIRTHDAY PARTY FOR A FRIEND OF MINE AND AS I WALKED AROUND I NOTICED THERE WERE A NUMBER OF PEOPLE WHO SEEM TO BE SHOVELING. IT IS NOT THAT THEY WERE PHYSICALLY SHUFFLING, THEY WERE SHUFFLING IN TERMS OF HOW THEY THOUGHT ABOUT LIFE, IN TERMS OF WHAT THEIR GOALS WERE AND SO ON AND IT WAS REALLY, MY QUESTION WAS, WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THESE PEOPLE WHO SEEM TO HAVE GIVEN UP AND THE OTHER PEOPLE WHO SEEM TO BE ENERGETIC AND ENTHUSIASTIC AND REALLY LIVING LIFE REX THAT WAS FOR ME THE STIMULUS, WERE BEGINNING TO TAKE A LOOK AT WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN PEOPLE WHO ARE AGING WITH GUSTO AND PEOPLE WHO ARE AGING WITH RESIGNATION. MORPHING WITHOUT THIS WAS GOING TO BE FOR THE ELDERLY, WE'RE FINDING THAT ALL KINDS OF PEOPLE IN THEIR 30s AND 40s ARE GETTING IN, GIVEN BY THEIR PARENTS OR SOMEBODY WHO ARE LOOKING IN THE SAME WAY, THEY HAVE QUIT JOBS. I THINK IF YOU AREN'T WE FIRING AND LEARNING AND GROWING YOU MIGHT AS WELL LIKED AND LET PEOPLE THROW DIRT ON YOU. WHAT TO THINK CAUSES PEOPLE TO WANT TO LOSE THEIR GUSTO FOR LIFE? I THINK EVERYTHING IS A CHOICE IN PERSPECTIVE AND SOME PEOPLE JUST SAY, WAS THE MOST INTERESTING QUESTIONS US PEOPLE, ARE THE BEST YEARS AHEAD OF YOU BEHIND YOU? I REMEMBER INTERVIEWING COACH JOHN WOODEN AND 95 IN A LEADERSHIP PRACTICE IN ORANGE COUNTY AND ENDED THE INTERVIEW SAYING COACH, BUT INVESTORS AT IF YOU ARE BEHIND YOU? HIS EYES LIT UP AND HE SAID SO EXCITED ABOUT THE FUTURE. THE PAST IS THE PAST AND MAYBE I WILL GET TO SEE NELLY AGAIN. HIS WIFE HAD DIED. THAT IS A WHOLE INTERESTING THING TO SEE PEOPLE THAT HAVE EXCITEMENT. I THINK THIS IS ONE OF THE GREATEST TIMES OF OUR LIFE ISN'T IT MORTON? SMACKED IT IS IN THE IDEA THAT WE SEE WE FIRE AS A METAPHOR. IT IS A WAY OF APPROACHING LIFE, AS A WAY OF LOOKING AT THINGS AND PEOPLE WHO SEE OPPORTUNITIES ARE GOING TO GO AND PEOPLE WHO SOMEHOW STAY IN THE SAME PLACE TO THE SAME THINGS OVER AND OVER AGAIN, WHAT WE ASKED PEOPLE TO DO IS TAKE A LITTLE BIT OF A RISK. FOR EXAMPLE, GO TO A RESTAURANT THAT YOU ARE NOT USED TO GO INTO. SIT DOWN AND ASK THE SERVING PERSON TO BRING YOU WHAT HE OR SHE THINKS IS THE BEST THING ON THE MENU. YOU GUESS SURPRISE. ONE MAN SAID, I NEVER KNEW I LIKED DOC AND THAT WAS BECAUSE OF NEVER 8.BUT NOW THAT I HAVE EATEN DOC, I LIKE DOC. IT IS A QUICK WAY OF CAPTURING WHAT RISK-TAKING IN STEPPING OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE IS ALL ABOUT. I AM SPEAKING WITH HER 19 AND KEN BLANCHARD IN THE CO-AUTHORS OF A DO BOOK, CALLED -- THE BEST OF YOUR LIFE. LET ME ASK YOU MORTON, YOU KNOW IN YOUR CLINICAL PRACTICE THAT OLDER PEOPLE ARE AT RISK FOR DEPRESSION. AS YOU GET OLDER, YOU LOSE FRIENDS AND FAMILY. YOU ARE DOING PERHAPS WITH YOUR MORTALITY MORE THAN YOU EVER HAVE IN ALL OF YOUR LIFE. I THINK THAT CAUSES A LOT OF PEOPLE TO SEEM TO THINK THAT THEY DO NOT HAVE MUCH OF A FUTURE BEFORE THEN. HOW DO YOU TURN THOSE ATTITUDES AROUND? AS HER MATTER-OF-FACT RESEARCHES IS A WAY WHICH IS THAT THERE ARE MORE DEPRESSION MONDAY 30 AND 40-YEAR-OLDS THAN THERE ARE IN THE 60 AND 70-YEAR-OLDS. MORE CAUTION STEMS FROM STANDS -- STANFORD HAVE ALL DONE RESEARCH ON NEW MODELS OF AGING AND THERE ARE A LOT OF MYTHS ABOUT AGING. YES, WE ARE GOING TO GET SICKER THAN WE WERE IN OUR 30s AND WE ARE GOING TO HAVE A LITTLE BIT OF STUFF FACING US BUT ACTUALLY THE MAJOR TRIGGER FOR DEPRESSION AND AT TIMES THE MEDICAL ILLNESS IS THE ACTIVE RETIRING. THAT IN AND AS OF ITSELF LEADS PEOPLE TO GO IN THE WRONG DIRECTION. AND A LOT OF PEOPLE DIE WITHIN THREE YEARS OF RETIRING TO DO NOTHING BUT MAYBE PLAY GOLF RATHER THAN TO GO TOWARD SOMETHING. WHEN YOU STEP OUT OF THE COMPANY, ONE MAN SAID I KNEW I WAS IN TROUBLE WHEN AT LUNCHTIME I WAS WORRIED ABOUT WHAT WE WERE GOING TO BE HAVING FOR DESSERT FOR DINNER. THAT WAS HIS MAJOR CHALLENGE OF HIS LIFE. KEN SOME PEOPLE MIGHT SAY, THERE ARE FOUR AREAS THAT YOU GO INTO IN THE BOOK. YOU GOING TO THE INTELLECTUAL COME THE SPIRITUAL, EMOTIONAL AND THE PHYSICAL. THEY MIGHT SAY I'M GOOD WITH THREE OF THEM BUT MY PHYSICAL REALLY ISN'T DOING TOO WELL. HOW DOES AN OLDER PERSON GET OVER THAT? THAT IS SOMETHING THAT WE ALL TAKE A LOOK AT. WE TALK ABOUT PHYSICAL WE DON'T SAY YOU HAVE TO GO TO THE GYM AND PUMP IRON. IF YOU JUST DID THE MINIMAL STUFF THAT IS GOOD FOR YOU LIKE START WATCHING 30 TO 45 MINUTES, FIVE OR SIX DAYS A WEEK AND YOU WILL BE AHEAD OF ABOUT 70% OF THE POPULATION. EATING, BE AWARE OF WHAT YOU ARE EATING PRICKETT DOESN'T MEAN YOU CAN'T HAVE A GOOD PIECE OF PIE ONCE IN A WHILE BUT JUST WATCH IT WORK NOT THE WHOLE PIE. I DID UP A GOOD NUMBER OF YEARS AGO CALLED LEAN AND MEAN WHICH HAD TO DO WITH HELPING PEOPLE LEARN HOW TO LOSE WEIGHT AND MAINTAIN RATE -- MAINTAIN WEIGHT IN THE RIGHT WAY PICKED UP A PICTURE KEN IS RIGHT. IT REALLY ISN'T THAT DIFFICULT. THE PHYSICAL PART IS WALKING IN THE EATING PART IS NUMBER ONE, EAT LESS, NUMBER TWO, DON'T DO DUMB THINGS AND YOU CAN EAT A PIECE OF PIE, NOT A WHOLE PIE, A COUPLE PIECES OF PIZZA, NOT A WHOLE PIZZA PRICKETT IS AMAZING WITH MAKING SOME CHOICES AND ALSO GOING UP IN QUALITY, GET AWAY FROM QUANTITY AND GO UP IN QUALITY AND EVEN THOUGH, YOU DON'T HAVE TO SPEND YOUR LIFE COUNTING CALORIES AND GRAMS OF FAT WORK AS ONE GUY SAID, JUST TELL ME WHAT TO DO. I DON'T WANT TO EAT TWIGS AND DARK. I SAID I DON'T WANT TO EAT ARCHIE FURRED SEAFOOD OR CAN SHE KEEP ME A SIMPLE THING? I SAID SURE. CHOOSE WHAT YOU LOVE, EAT LESS OF IT AND DON'T DO DUMB THINGS. PRETTY GOOD ADVICE. WHEN YOU SEE SOMEONE WHO IS IN THE POSITION THAT YOU MENTIONED KEN WHO HAS RETIRED AND NEW HAS NOT GONE ON TO A DIFFERENT CHALLENGE OR DIFFERENT PROJECT BUT IS JUST BASICALLY DECIDED THEY ARE GOING TO SIT AROUND THE HOUSE MAY BE, READ SOME BOOKS, DO SOME GOLFING, HOW DOES THAT PERSON BEGAN TO TURN THAT AROUND? WHAT IS SOME PRACTICAL TIPS TO BREATHE FIRE, TO GET YOUR MIND WORKING AGAIN ABOUT THE NEXT STEP IN YOUR LIFE? PART OF THAT MICAH TO THE EMOTIONAL RELATIONSHIP PART OF IT WHICH IS CONTRARY TO THE SAME THING WITH THE SAME PEOPLE IN THE SAME WAY? WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO MEET NEW PEOPLE? THAT CAN TIE INTO THE INTELLECTUAL HAVE YOU EVER THOUGHT ABOUT TAKING A COURSE? IF YOU ARE AN ARTIST MAYBE SHOULD TAKE A COURSE IN SOMETHING THAT IS OUTSIDE OF YOUR FIELDS, SOMETHING IN PHYSICS. IF YOU WERE ASSISTED -- PHYSICIST TAKEN OUR COURSE. START TO LOOK AT WAYS THAT YOU CAN ADD SOME ZEST AND LIFE TO WHAT YOU WERE DOING. SO MANY THINGS IN LIFE ARE CHOICES THAT YOU MAKE. I HAD A FRIEND WHOSE SON WAS DYING OF CANCER I SAID WHAT IS YOUR ATTITUDE TOWARD LIFE AFTER DEATH? HE SAID WHEN IT IS OVER, IT IS OVER. I SAID I DON'T BELIEVE THAT THEY COULD COULD BE FABULOUS. SAID HOW DO YOU KNOW? I SAID I DON'T KNOW I LIKE MY BLEEP BETTER THAN YOURS. I WANT TO THE LAST ONE TO KNOW THAT I WAS WRONG. ONE OF THE THINGS WE HAVE COME UP WITH IS A CONCEPT OF THE LAST-MINUTE GAIN. THE LAST-MINUTE BUILDS UPON WHAT KEN JOSETTE. LAST-MINUTE GANG IS YOU GET TOGETHER WITH A BUNCH OF PEOPLE, SIX OR 80 MAKE THE FOLLOWING THING. YOU CAN CALL ANYBODY AT THE LAST MINUTE AND ASK THEM TO DO ANYTHING AND UNLESS THEY ARE TOTALLY COMMITTED, THEY HAVE TO SAY YES. WHAT HAPPENS IS, YOU WIND UP DOING THINGS YOU WOULD HAVE NEVER THOUGHT OF BEFORE BECAUSE, DEFRIENDING YOU WHO IS AN ARTIST AND SYSTEM ENGINEER COME TO AN ART EXHIBIT. SAID COME ON, LAST-MINUTE GANG, YOU HAVE TO SAY YES. THE PART OF IT IS, TO GIVE YOURSELF THE OPPORTUNITY TO BE STIMULATED AND CHALLENGED. AS KEN SAID TO GET OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE AND TO TRY TO -- TRY SOMETHING DIFFERENT AND TRY SOMETHING DO AND IT IS AMAZING, ONCE YOU MOVE DOWN THAT PATH, IT IS SELF REINFORCING. YOU FEEL EXCITED, ENERGIZED, YOU FEEL GOOD. AS KEN SAID EARLIER IT IS NOT JUST FOR THE 70-YEAR-OLDS . ¬40 CAN BE IN A RUT AS WELL. WE KEEP HEARING THAT THE BABY BOOMER GENERATION WILL HAVE A MUCH MORE ENGAGED IN DIFFERENT OLD AGE EXPERIENCE THAN PREVIOUS GENERATIONS. TO SEE EVIDENCE OF THAT? SMACK IT IS SO INTERESTING BECAUSE WE DO NOT KNOW WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN TECHNOLOGY WISE DIVIDEND BUT MY WIFE AND I TAUGHT A COURSE AT CORNELL FOR 25 YEARS IN THE LAST EIGHT OR 10 YEARS THESE KIDS ARE EXCITING. WILL BE INTERESTING TO SEE WHAT THEY'RE GOING TO DO WITH IT. SOME PEOPLE THINK THEY ARE SPOILED AND ALL OF THAT I THINK THEY MIGHT TAKE ON THE WORLD. THEY HAVE SEEN US MESSED UP SO THEY MIGHT CLEAN IT UP. I WANT EVERYONE TO KNOW THAT KEN BLANCHARD AND MORTON SHAEVITZ WILL BE DISCUSSING THEIR NEW BOOK, THE FIRE, DON'T RETIRE. THAT IS TONIGHT AT UC SAN DIEGO AT 7:00 PAMPERED AND KEEP WAS VERY MUCH FOR COMING IN AND SPEAKING WITH ME. IT HAS BEEN A JOY. THANK YOU.
Their new book is "Refire! Don't Retire: Make the Rest of Your Life the Best of Your Life."
The book tells the story of Larry and Janice Sparks, a fictional couple, who focus on finding new opportunities to grow intellectually, physically, spiritual and emotionally.
Blanchard, who has authored more than 50 books, met Shaevitz during a flight and later got together to talk about aging.
Shaevitz told KPBS Midday Edition on Thursday that's how the book, and the idea of refiring, got started.
“Retiring is going to sleep," he said. "Refiring is waking up. The whole day is to make the rest of your life the best of your life. It’s a time to really live life with gusto.”
Shaevitz said refiring is a way of looking at life.
“What we ask people to do is to take a little bit of a risk,” he said.
But Blanchard said refiring doesn’t only apply to the older people or those who have retired — it applies to everyone.
“I think that if you aren’t refiring you might as well lie down and let people throw the dirt on you.”
Blanchard and Shaevtiz will give a lecture at 7 p.m. Thursday at UC San Diego's Price Center East Ballroom.
Excerpt of Introduction to Refire! Don't Retire
It’s often said that there is no such thing as a coincidence. Given the dynamic nature of the universe, when things happen, they happen for a reason. So, when the two of us met on an early morning flight from San Diego to New York, it was not by chance.
Perhaps it was serendipity—something that was destined to happen, that was meant to be. If we pursue this concept further, we find the Yiddish word bashert, which roughly translates into “a happy, joyous event that was meant for good.”
“So what are you into and what’s new in your life?” was the beginning of our plane conversation. For the next fifteen minutes, we spoke with growing enthusiasm and animation. We talked about the things we were doing, and especially what we were excited about. When Morton mentioned he was working in the area of older adults and looking at aging from a new and different perspective, Ken piped up and said he’d been thinking about similar issues.
The term he was using was refire—an attitude of embracing the years ahead with enthusiasm rather than apathy. At that moment, this book was born.
We continued talking nonstop, leaning over the air-line seats that separated us. Finally, we had to be forcibly seated by the flight attendants so that the plane could take off. Throughout the five-hour flight to New York, we continued to exchange ideas until the movie came on and silenced us. As we deplaned, we decided to meet soon to continue the conversation.
By the time we met again, Morton had attended a birth-day party for someone he had known in college. He came back intrigued by what he had observed. It wasn’t just that everyone looked older—of course they did. It was how differently they were approaching aging. While some seemed intellectually energetic and engaged in the world, others seemed to have little joy or sense of a future—nothing they were striving for.
Coincidentally, Ken and his wife Margie had just returned from a two-week cruise. Ken reported similar observations about his fellow travelers, most of whom were seniors. Some were vivacious, taking advantage of the classes and activities offered by the cruise ship, while others were withdrawn and didn’t come alive until mealtime.
As we discussed what each of us had experienced, we began wondering what accounted for these two different ways our age group was handling aging. Why were some people seeing the rest of their lives as an opportunity, while others were treating it as some kind of sentence?
Talking about this with our adult children, we discovered that this view of life was not limited to seniors—our middle-aged kids had some friends who also had the “best years are behind us” approach to life.
We thought about those of our friends and colleagues who were embracing—rather than enduring—life and tried to figure out what made them different. We concluded that much depended on what they believed about growing older and how they were approaching life. We also concluded that if those who were merely enduring could be helped to think differently, they might begin to behave differently and, if you will, refire.
What are you going to do with the rest of your life to make it healthy, joyful, and meaningful? We wrote Refire as a guide to answering that question. In the parable and suggestions that follow, we hope you find inspiration to create an exciting future.