An old German Shepherd was out chasing rabbits. While he was wandering about, he notices a hungry young tiger setting out in his direction. Quickly surveying his surroundings he sees some bones on the ground. With his back to the approaching feline, he chews on the bones and proclaims loudly, “Goodness, that was one delicious tiger! There’s gotta be more ‘round here!” Upon hearing this, the tiger rethinks about attacking the dog, starts backing away and walks off.
In the meantime, a squirrel witnesses everything unfold from a nearby tree. Sensing an opportunity to trade knowledge for protection, he goes off after the tiger and strikes a bargain for himself. Realising he has been played for a fool, the young tiger shivers with rage, tells the squirrel to hop on his back, charges and roars, “No one tricks me and gets away with it!”
Now, the old German Shepherd spots the tiger, with the smug squirrel on its back, angrily making its way back. Instead of running away, he pretends not to notice their coming, sits with his back to them and yells ferociously and loudly enough for them to hear, “Where’s that squirrel?! I sent him off an hour ago to fetch me another tiger!”
The moral of the story: Experience and skills prevail over youth and double-dealing manoeuvres, and, of course, brilliance only becomes more dazzling with age.
I had a good laugh the first time I read this joke (I’m merely paraphrasing it here) and I don’t tire of retelling it to other people, ideally old-timers like myself. I see it as an amusing allegory for shunning retirement and reviving oneself in the intellectual prime of life. What age one considers to be the “prime of life” may be moot, but I refer to the period in my own life where I started experiencing a more intense sense of well-being and control over several aspects of my life: in my 60s.
“Retirement isn’t supposed to be about coping and subsisting. It should be about being able to do what pleases you and having the financial means to do so.”
My wife, Jan, is of the same mind. At this age, our minds are sharper than ever and the thought of calling it quits is not in our DNA. A reinvention, starting over, an encore performance, a revolution — call it what you will, just not retirement. 60-something is just too young for retirement!
For many, their main concern about retiring is finances. While it’s most likely that a big chunk of your bills will have been paid off by the time you hit retirement, other bills such as medical and long-term care will come to surface.
Retirement isn’t supposed to be about coping and subsisting. It should be about being able to do what pleases you and having the financial means to do so.
The Horrifying “Nothing”
“The Nothing is spreading, [...] there’s more of it every day, if it’s possible to speak of more nothing.”
“Is it very painful?” Atreyu asked.
“No[...]. There’s just something missing. And once it gets hold of you, something more is missing every day. Soon there won’t be anything left of us.”
- excerpts from The Neverending Story
Money aside, the fact is we just don’t want to do nothing and in the process become nothing. Nowadays, people are expected to live well into their 80s. If we retire in our 60s, what do we do for the next two decades of our lives? Take a cruise, do some gardening, play checkers or bingo — but what else is there?
The Golden Age
There is a prevalent mentality that ‘youth’ is the secret to a successful startup venture. And we just need to look at companies like Google and Facebook to understand why people buy into this urban myth. But if you look at the statistics, it’s going to tell a different story; and it’s this: a greater number of older people start businesses and generally achieve more success than their younger equivalents.
Any drawbacks from old age are easily cancelled out by dependability and years of accrued knowledge and expertise. It’s not that entrepreneurial skills develop at a specific age. But if you have plenty of fire in your belly for entrepreneurship, it only gets better with age!
Starting your own small business need not be an arduous, complicated task. Remember, Colonel Sanders and the missus started the now ubiquitous KFC at the age of 65.
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