As a lover of words, I thought I’d share instances in this past week where I reacted to words being used in blog posts.
Words as Labels
A blog post on Booming Encore about different Type of Retirees (link here) had me really thinking! According to the author, there are 3 types of retirees, labeled in his terms: Survival-Mode, Comfort-Oriented, and Growth-Oriented. I found it upsetting – the author’s obvious preference for the third type of retiree came through, with him even giving it the most positive of labels!
Type 1 (Survival-Mode) description has words like “a big mistake”, “stress levels going up”, “retirement hell”, and “it won’t be easy”. I would have loved to see more positive language like how many activities you can engage in that don’t cost much or how you can continue to grow as an individual even on limited income. I’m not saying that retirement on limited income is easy, but I hope the 45% of American Boomers the author thinks are in this category are not living in hell.
Type 2 (Comfort-Oriented) description has words like “ordinary”, “unwilling to take risks”, “comfortable”, and “content”. While that doesn’t sound bad, he continues with “happiness levels have plateaued”, “uninterested in trying new things”, and related the state to his mother, who is probably in her late 70’s or 80’s. Obviously in the author’s mind this type is not what a new retiree should aspire to and certainly does not have any personal growth, as that is apparently only Type 3.
Type 3 (Growth-Oriented) individuals are the only ones “not complacent”, “setting goals“, and “realizing their potential”. Type 3s, however, will “never be satisfied” and achieving their goals are “happiness hits”. I found that curious as it’s against most of the Science of Happiness learning, and in fact the author acknowledges that “this feeling (i.e. happiness) will be short-lived … continually need to establish new goals” to find happiness again. Perhaps the better label here would be Still-Trying-to-Achieve.
Personally, I think within Type 2 (which is where I am closer to being), being content does not mean not interested in learning new things. I have goals – they just are not necessarily major goals like running marathons or traveling the world. My happiness might be “plateaued”, but it’s plateaued at a high level. It is definitely not the roller coaster of Type 3 happiness where you’re in constant need of the next “fix”!
The article also made me wonder how much bias I write into my own model-framework creations. [The author obviously believes Type 3 is the “right” one.] Do I need to re-think all the frameworks I created in my book?
Do you relate to any of these three types of retiree profiles as they are written?
Playing with Words
Another reaction to words I read was in a comment someone made to a blog post about “being enough”. The commenter talked about how she was just “pretty good” at things. It struck me that we have such a hard time owning and celebrating our own uniqueness. I immediately went to see if my own Authentic Me Affirmation Statement had instances of just “pretty good” language. And then, what other descriptive words would articulate the uniqueness I bring to my I AM roles or skills.
Instead of being a “pretty good” friend, cook, crafter, blogger, coach, or foodie, what added descriptions could make it more positive and authentic? A joyful crafter? A fearless foodie? An inspiring blogger?
I found all kinds of fun and unique potential descriptors (using a thesaurus looking at both synonyms and antonyms): intrepid, decisive, eager, gutsy, spirited, audacious, supportive, inspiring, eclectic, skillful, avid, engaging.
It’s hard to lean into positive descriptors in I Am affirmations. At times I think I’m lying, but affirmations are about “This is how I want to be” in the here and now. To me it’s a “fake it till you make it” tool! I have used them to shift my thinking on elements in my life. For example, I no longer say “I’m just not athletic”; now say “I am active”.
Are there areas (roles/skills) you need to make more authentically you with descriptors?
My Own Words – An Interview
It was a delight to see my own words in print from an interview with Mike Lieberman on Retirement Redefinition. Mike is starting a new on-line business (with a blog attached) to help retirees who are interested in starting their own on-line business in retirement – a unique niche. It always makes me feel good when someone thinks I have wisdom to share. Check it out here – link.