Wednesday, November 7, 2007

American Association of Rebooting Persons?

AARP is really getting into the rebooting game.

The feature article in the November/December issue of AARP The Magazine is titled "Retire? Heck No!" It features stories about five 70-plus folks who are going full steam ahead with no intention of "retiring" in the conventional sense of the word.

The article by Bill Gray describes the five as "supersuccessful doers and thinkers who, at 70 plus, continue to work at peak performance. All could easily have slipped into the retirement night years ago but they forged on -- happily. Their secret? In a word, passion."

[Lee's aside: AARP magazine talking about "the retirement night?" Wow!]

The five are:
  • Shu Chien, M.D., Ph.D., 76, professor of bioengineering and medicine at the University of California, San Diego. He attributes his energy to his constant effort to develop "brain muscle." "My mind is constantly working," he says, "and that lets me accomplish tasks with twice the efficiency of the ordinary person. I can do more now than I could at 50."
  • Elliott Carter, 99, classical music composer, who still composes daily at his home in Greenwich Village, New York City. He has won two Pulitzer Prizes for Music and a Grammy. His 100th birthday "comes with a bit of anxiety," he acknowledges, but declares, "it's wonderful."
  • Dayton Hyde, 82, cowboy novelist and owner of a private wild-horse sanctuary near Hot Springs, South Dakota, home to 500 mustangs. "I wanted to pay them (the horses) back for the joys they gave me, by taking care of them in their old age," he says. "Actually, we're taking care of each other -- they're bringing me back memories and giving me a way of life that very few Americans are lucky enough to lead."
  • Barbara Bowman, 79, teacher, co-founder of the Erickson Institute for specialized teacher training, and chief of the Chicago Public Schools' Office of Early Education. One thing that keeps her going is the delight of learning. "It's so wonderful when there's a breakthrough in your field and you're back to being a student again," she says.
  • Irma Elder, 77, head of the Elder Automotive Group and owner of 10 automobile dealerships in suburban Detroit, who took over the business after her husband died of a heart attack 24 years ago. "If you ask me when I'll retire, I'll tell you it's when I stop having fun," she says. For her, running the business "makes me come alive."

Maybe AARP should go back to words for their name -- "American Association of Rebooting Persons!"