Earlier in my career I met a man who was an administrator of a parochial school. At that time he was easily old enough to retire, but using Biblical scripture, he said he couldn’t find the word retire in the book. He said he still felt confident and healthy enough to keep working beyond those 60something years where people call it a career.
Maybe that man is right. He’s not alone by any means.
Saturday, after the snow had stopped and the roads cleared, I went to see Clint Eastwood’s newest movie, “The Mule.” Eastwood movies had been an occasional item on the family’s TV screen when I was a kid. As an adult with teenage kids now, Clint’s still working – at the age of 88.
The movie is very good even though it’s adult at times. I won’t give away too many details if you haven’t seen it. “The Mule” is based on a true story about how an older man fell on hard times and made some uncomfortable decisions to provide for himself.
Clint is providing a great example how age doesn’t have to slow us down when we think our working years should be reduced or over.
For easy math, Clint could have retired 20 years ago. But he instead has been involved in eight movies in that time frame.
According to imdb website, at age 74, he became the oldest person to win the Best Director Oscar for “Million Dollar Baby” in 2004.
Eastwood was the only nominee for the Best Actor Oscar in 2004 for Million Dollar Baby to play a fictitious character. All four other nominees portrayed real people in their respective films.
The man’s Hollywood career goes back many decades and he has had some very good selling movies. He can afford a dude every so often. But he’s not making disappointing films at a time in his life when you put your feet on the footrest and usually watch movies – not make them.
I know he’s not alone.
A dear friend of mine, old enough to be my father, still farms in Adair County. He too, could have proverbially put the cow out to pasture. But he’s still doing that, literally. He was raised in a farm family which may be in its own category of work ethic.
My own father is in that category, too. He retired from his route sales career but found something else to do that was less stressful and time consuming.
Personality and needs should be considered with everyone who wants to work beyond the normal retirement years. Some people are not wired to be at home and do crossword puzzles every day. Some people feel alive when they are productive, even if that means putting items on a store shelf.
Working beyond the normal working years for personal needs is a different story. We all know, some too well, the cost of health care is a driving factor in continuing to work.
Researching Eastwood, I found this quote that may sum up his ideals.
“Every movie I make teaches me something, and that's why I keep making them. I'm at that stage of life when I could probably stop and just hit golf balls. But in filming these two movies about Iwo Jima, I learnt about war and about character. I also learnt a lot about myself,” he supposedly said.
Clint is still learning as he’s working.