Go Grandma Moses!

“Musicians don’t retire, they stop when there’s no more music in them.” ~ Louis Armstrong

In a recent post (The Third Age), I referenced five distinct stages that people experience before and during retirement. I shared that I’d further elaborate on the fourth stage, Reorientation, in a subsequent post. Welcome to the continuation.

The previously referenced study uncovered four distinct experiences within the Reorientation (covering two to 15 years after retirement) stage of the journey:

Empowered Reinventors (19%): This is a time of adventure, new challenges and fulfillment.

Carefree Contents (19%): This group is a time of adjusting to a less frantic lifestyle without the stress of work and other responsibilities. Eight out of 10 said they weren’t working at all.

Uncertain Searchers (22%): This segment is one of mixed feelings – they’re still trying to figure out what to do with this time of their lives, and may not be on track financially for retirement.

Worried Strugglers (40%): This cohort has the most difficulty due to a lack of planning and preparation. Most have not given much thought to what they want to do with their retirement years.

Among pre-retirees and retirees with retirement experience, one of the main discoveries was that both groups found that retirement is liberation from the daily grind, which gives them more control over their lives.

Enter this legend…

When Anna Mary Robertson Moses died in 1961 at age 101, then-president Kennedy released a statement praising her paintings for inspiring a nation. This amazing lady was better known as Grandma Moses, a woman who didn’t begin to paint until the age of 76, when her hands became too crippled by arthritis to hold an embroidery needle. She found herself unable to sit around and do nothing, even after a long life spent working on farms.

Grandma Moses never had any formal art training – indeed, she’d had very little formal education – but she painted every day, turning out more than 1,000 paintings in 25 years. When an art collector passing through her town saw the paintings selling for a few dollars in a drug store, he bought them all and arranged for them to be shown at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

Even with her newfound fame, her topics remained the same: nostalgic scenes of farm life, such as the first snow or a maple sugaring. By the time of her death, she had paintings in museums as far away as Vienna and Paris.

Take what you will from the above, perhaps the obvious: 1) It’s a good idea to begin planning for retirement (or whatever you choose to call your later years lifestyle) well before you get to that stage and; 2) Who says you need to quietly drift off to the sidelines once you enter the third chapter in your life? If Grandma Moses discovered a new, enjoyable niche, you certainly can (or will).

6 thoughts on “Go Grandma Moses!

  1. It is high time the word ‘retirement’ is to be made into something hip and sexy, so we can look forward to it, like an new iteration of an iPhone instead of an expired model with half run down batteries.

    • Apple products have planned obsolescence built in. At least we, as beings, have the option to plan for and around an expiring model. It’s our choice! Thanks for commenting, Chris.

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