HOW TO BE A GEEZER


I turned sixty last summer, and I=ve almost stopped celebrating. As I polish off my last beer, I have the urge to contemplate my accomplishments over the past six decades. Hmmm . . . pretty slim. I turn my attention to the future and ponder the lot of a septuagenarian fitness instructor. Will the knees hold out? Will that hernia come back to haunt me? How will I make ends meet? Now that I=m officially an old geezer, how do I maintain my image as the millennium hunk? There=s nothing like a 6-decade milestone to throw you deep into the rut of a mid-life crisis. Sometimes I think it’s a 6-decade millstone.

I trace the path of my professional life. I spent so much time doing such diverse professions that I can put them in an impressive list.

 I spent ten years as an archaeologist without ever unearthing an artifact.

 I spent twelve years as a family counsellor without having a family (until now.)

 I worked with street teenagers without saying, AIf you want to live in my house, you have to live by my rules.@ (This is the ritual battle cry of parents of teenagers.)

 After a lengthy period of unemployment I became an employment counsellor.

 I was a drug counsellor without ever looking at the business end of a hypodermic needle full of heroin.

 I became a world authority on making the transition from couch potato to Hunk without ever looking at the business end of a hypodermic needle full of steroids.

 Does anyone else see the pattern here? I spent the last fifty years as a dilettante – a pretender and hobbyist. I should have a mid-life crisis, but I don=t. As I approach the breezy side of the next decade, I think I=ll continue to putter. As my age cohort considers retirement, I=ll just say, ARetirement from what? I=m having altogether too much fun.@ 

 I’ll just hang out my shingle and counsel others on making the transition to life after work. I=ll lead by example. I=ll counsel people on retirement without actually retiring myself. I=ll form a company called GEEZE Inc – How To Geeze With Class. Here is a sample of my sessions.

 1. Keep Working

My grandfather had the right idea. He had a trade in the forestry industry, and he continued to practice into his seventies. His friends in the industry kept calling him up to problem solve their milling operations. They paid him as a consultant for his troubles. He saw more money per year through his cataract encrusted eyes than any year of his working life. He became his own tax burden. New money plus pension money moved him into a new tax bracket.

Unfortunately, he didn=t increase his skills to incorporate other fields. Soon his clients retired themselves and stopped calling. He died.

 2. Gardening.

My grandmother kept a garden. I often wondered what was the point. Then I saw her sell the produce to the neighbours. That was the point. She bought houses with the proceeds.

 3. The Park Bench.

To many people, retirement means spending long days on park benches feeding pigeons and pinching the youthful buns of passers by en route to the office. You can=t do this any more – not since The Right Honorable John Turner grabbed Iona Campangolla=s ass on an election stage at an all candidates= meeting. His reward was a hearty slap that was heard coast-to-coast courtesy of the CBC. The Prime Minister unearthed a Pandora=s Box of poly-speak that haunts us to this day. He ruined the park bench for everybody.

 Instead, neophytic retirees should consider going to fitness classes. There are classes geared specifically for >older adults= or >over 50’s.= I had the honour of leading one of these classes in Vancouver=s West End Community Centre. There was more kinetic energy in this class of more than sixty participants than a class of more youthful participants. The older class was less into self-image and more prone to having fun.  After class, they went en-masse to the coffee bar below. They stay both mentally and physically healthy, and ward off the residential care homes.

The only problem with GEEZE-Inc will be trying to make my peace with Revenue Canada. I’ll still be explaining all those deductible purchases of Spandex shorts and other fitness paraphernalia against my retirement income.

Mike Broderick is an Employment Specialist for the Neil Squire Society in Burnaby where he finds employment for people with physical disabilities. Part of this work means affiliation with the Vancouver Board of Trade where he is a member of the Ambassador Club, the Burnaby Board of Trade where he is a member of the Labour Task Force, the Tri Cities Chamber of Commerce where he is an active member of the 10X10 initiative, and the Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce. He also does some work as a field Archaeologist. He is also a fitness instructor and frequent contributor of fitness humour articles to alive

You can reach him at home at michael_broderick@telus.net or at michaelb@neilsquire.ca. re looking for a change, start with a resume makeover at competitive rates

When he is not doing all the above, he lives in Port Coquitlam with his partner Cecelia

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