“Unretire” — Who knew?
Recently I made a major personal decision. After toying with the idea of retirement for a few (glorious summer) months, I’ve decided I’m not quite ready. In thinking about how to let my clients know this hopefully good news, I made up a word to describe what I was doing – “unretire.”
Or at least, I thought I had made it up until, in an idle moment, I did a Google search.
Whoa Nelly. “Unretire” and “unretirement” are everywhere. To my great astonishment, I learned from the Meriam-Webster online dictionary that the first known use of the word “unretired” was in 1966. In April of this year, an article in The Telegraph, a leading newspaper in the U.K., reported that “one in 20 men over 50 now counts as part of a new class of the ‘unretired’ who tried retirement but decided it was not for them and simply went back to work.” I even found academic papers on the subject of unretirement and its impact on economics.
Marketers have been quick to catch on, too. A few years ago an enterprising real estate developer in Cambridge Ontario developed what they dubbed an “unretirement facility,” offering exciting opportunities such as go-karting and belly-dancing. (Just for the record, I have no intention of unretiring to a facility.) Canadian insurance company Sun Life publishes an annual Canadian Unretirement Index, tracking changing trends in retirement to promote its products.
And then there’s YouTube, where hockey player Teemu Selanne posts an annual unretirement video explaining his reasons for returning for one more season. Last year’s video shows Selanne becoming increasingly more frustrated with his golf game, until he finally throws his clubs into a water hazard. Realizing that his cellphone is in the golf bag, he wades into the water, retrieves it, and phones his coach to announce that he will back for another “final” year.
It’s always heartening to see the language evolving. A new word as useful as unretirement should always be warmly welcomed.
In my case, unretirement is about a lot of things, but mostly about the opportunity to work some new colleagues at Morden Communications. Their fresh perspectives and cool ideas have got me re-energized and ready to go for another decade at least. I promise not to do an annual unretirement post!
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