Elliot Aronson, Ph.D., is best known for his research on cognitive dissonance and the jigsaw classroom. From his widely-used textbook, The Social Animal: “Elliot Aronson’s standing as one of the world’s most distinguished and versatile social psychologists is reflected in the wide variety of national and international awards he has received for his teaching, for his scientific research, for his writing, and for his contribution to society.”
Questions asked during the interview:
Tell me about your retirement/previous work. Why did you retire? Was the decision to retire made/planned by you? Do you consider your retirement successful? Happiness? What’s better/gains? Worse/losses? How has retirement affected your relationships? What is your relationship to OLLI? What are your recommendations for others?
The notion of retirement is both interesting and elusive. When I was about 50 years old, I did not even consider the possibility of retirement. My fantasy was that, at age 93, while delivering a passionate lecture on cognitive dissonance to a roomful of students sitting on the edge of their chairs, I would collapse and die. I figured that, if I was going to have to die, I would prefer to die with my boots on. A charming and romantic notion.
Ellie & Desi
There is an old saying: “If you want to hear the sound of God’s laughter, just tell him your plans.” In 1994, when I was still a youngish old man of 62, the University of California system was in terrible financial trouble and needed to slash its operating budget. Because the retirement coffers were flush, they offered some of us older, more highly paid professors an extra financial incentive if we agreed to take early retirement. (The plan was called VERIP). I was at the top of my game as a teacher, researcher, and writer. Although the financial incentive was tempting, I wasn’t going to take it. My boots were still on, as it were. Why quit now? Continue reading this story
About three years ago at age 62, I was finishing up my media sales management career and realized it was time to move on. My pension was set so I was lucky that I had flexibility. I knew I no longer wanted a full-time job.
Retire? But to what? I don’t play golf, crochet, play bridge or enjoy any of those interests my friends do. I adore my grandson and family, but they are 1,200 miles away so a weekend four or five times a year is the best I can do.
Travel, the outdoors, healthy endeavors and children are my passions. In 2013, I started to work on a plan for the next phase of life. The goal was for it to be meaningful and rewarding. Continue reading this story
Where to start? I started thinking about retiring years ago– reading books on how people made the transition, talking to people who were already over that threshold, fantasizing about what new and creative things I’d do , and of course obsessing about money and how to make all the nitty gritty logistics work out. My early plans were to leave a pretty big job I had and get into one that was much simpler, as a way to ease my way into actual retirement. I can still remember the dinner I had with a number of colleagues who told me how smart I was and talking about their own fantasies of downshifting .
Continue reading this story
Jim E. Faris
When my life as a Hollywood film editor was becoming a greater than normal challenge, I decided it was time to think of other areas of life I wanted to explore. My wife Paula and I were living the suburban life near Los Angeles and thought the location offered little variety or options for learning or socialization. We were familiar with Santa Cruz, CA as our oldest son had graduated from UCSC and our daughter had attended the university in her freshman year and our son Brian was living in Santa Cruz. The town was situated at the Pacific Ocean so we knew the weather would be to our liking. The University was an attraction as it offered a variety of classes with a student body of around 15,000. The University offered a program called “Elders in Residence” which allowed anyone age 62 or older to take two classes for credit and live in the student dorms with the other students. Continue reading this story
My goal in retirement was to be involved in and give back to my community. I also knew that I wanted to be involved with kids, my original professional goal. Main hobbies were photography and world travel, both of which I planned to expand.
I had moved to Santa Cruz in 1987. I bought my house as an investment for future retirement, wanting to be close to the beach. My kids were both away at college, so I left my empty nest in San Jose near the university and moved to the beach. I built a darkroom and travelled the world. But because I was still commuting over the hill to SJSU, I really didn’t get to know my community, except for the SJSU Vanpool colleagues and folks who walked their dogs on West Cliff Drive on the weekends. Continue reading this story
I’m 63, married and I have a son in grad school pursuing his MBA. For a few decades I was a broadcast journalist, a career that ended amidst marginalization, on the job ageism and eventually a buy out (or an unacceptable opt out). Frankly I’m luckier than most folks but still struggling with the day-to-day acceptance of “retirement,” and the “what’s next?
At times I feel amazingly lucky yet guilty that I’m not working, despite a few years out now and fresh memories of a lousy grinding workplace.
I’ve read a lot of literature on retiring “wild and free,” yet I pine daily for camaraderie and age appropriate ‘soft’ adventure. I sometimes feel like I’m the only guy in New York City who isn’t sure where to go each day. So, I guess it’s a work in progress to seek the next rung of satisfaction and collegiality. I think. Continue reading this story
Lew and Judith Feinman
We were married in New York in 1956 and moved to South Florida where Lew was a registered pharmacist, buying into a partnership that eventually owned four drug stores
Judith was a stay at home mom raising two children when Lew came home one day and suggested that they take real estate classes and try their hands at real estate sales.
Lew: The pharmacies were doing well but the insurance industry and their “third party pay” programs made it difficult for the drug stores to receive timely payments from them. It was time for a change for me and a way to get out of being a partner in the drug stores.
Judith: I had never sold anything in my life but I was ready to try. We got our licenses and proceeded to do well enough financially that Lew was able to sell his share of the drug stores and go full time into selling real estate with me.
Lew: Judy and I hung our licenses in Coconut Grove Realty. We worked as a team listing and selling properties.
Judith: I learned a great deal about myself and found sales challenging and exciting. Happily we caught a rising real estate market. Continue reading this story
Today is Jan. 10 and I am into retirement mode almost 6 1/2 months….it is quite a new beginning.
I feel like I am standing in front of a huge smorgasbord of activities, similar to the grand buffet at the Palace Hotel in SF in the 1950’s adorned with many fine delicacies of gourmet delights. I remember the dessert table so well with whipped cream in many colors and shapes added to mini cakes and pastries. so many choices..then it was food; now it is life…the rest of my life. Continue reading this story
Retirement? Old age? Advanced years? A Senior? A Crone?
I have a sister-in-law who at age 85 took a round-the-world cruise. As she entered the boarding area, she saw long lines of passengers snaking around to the clerks. Over to one side a small group of people entered a different gate. She joined that one. When it was her turn, she stepped up, lay her umbrella on the counter and said, “I am traveling steerage, but now that I am nearer 90, I don’t stand in lines. Can you help me?” It worked. She was escorted on board as though she were traveling first class. Continue reading this story
(The English version follows)
Je suis un ingénieur, de nationalité Française. J’ai fait toutes mes études universitaires à l’école d’Ingenieurs de Nancy en Lorraine. Apres avoir obtenu mon diplome d’ Ingenieur, j’ai preparé un Doctorat en Sciences, (l’equivalent du Phd americain) à la Sorbonne à Paris.
Maurice Ezran, French Engineer and Author
Toute ma carriere d’Ingenieur a été consacrée à l’industrie pétrolière. J’ai travaillé dans une Société de Services (Service Compagny) aux grandes compagnies petrolières. Elle était spécialisée en Géophysique, science indispensable pour la recherche et la découverte des gisements de pétrole sous terre. Continue reading this story